I just attended my first Aston-Patterning CE class in about 14 years. Fortunately, I had all my roomies from that last course (Valerie Lyon, Beth Berkeley and Elaine Marquez) in the room with me again. It really was quite a lovely experience: Harvey Ruderian and Brian Linderoth brought their wisdom and experience, and I definitely advanced. This makes it even more exciting to think of teaching visceral manipulation with Lauren next year. More soon…
Postural or movement education should be about principles, first and foremost. What are some of the principles of neutral alignment?
- Neutral alignment effectively demands stabilization of itself (as does poor alignment). It is not an imposition or a struggle.
- Neutral alignment poises one segment on top of another, so that each segment is in its highest position. Therefore…
- The least crooked alignment is also the tallest alignment. In other words, we get shorter by getting more crooked.
- The feeling of improved alignment includes the sense that our musculoskeletal system is supporting us, not that we’re trying to hold ourselves up.
- Local body support is vertically organized: in standing, the front of the foot holds up the front of the body, the medial aspect of the leg holds up the midline of the upper body, etc.
I love thinking about how our bodies function in gravity. For me, the most interesting and relevant ideas are those that characterize the feeling of neutrality and harmony in position and movement.
- When we’re not deliberately doing anything about our posture, it’s a perfectly harmonious version of a pattern—even if the pattern is very crooked.
- If we change our posture, every part of the body has to change, if we’re to arrive at a different harmonious pattern.
- It’s effectively impossible for us to consciously understand and control where all our body parts are. Therefore…
- For us to arrive at a different pattern, we must deliberately change some body part or parts, and allow other parts to find harmony with that change.
Lauren is a strong example of a great teacher. Her ability to combine a rigorous intellectual approach with gentleness, warmth, nurturing and safety was amazing. She brought a tremendous amount to this group with her ability to give space to everyone so that we all felt able to be who we were and learn in our own style and pace without feeling “less than.”
Fiona P., Oxford UK 2009
Two summers ago, we were asked to write a chapter about Myofascial Balancing for an anthology about complementary modalities in pain management. That book "Integrative Pain Management," has now been published by Handspring Publishing! (You can even buy it on Amazon.) The book includes theoretical overviews of pain mechanisms and management and discussions of many different modalities. We're pleased that our thoughts are in there.
It's now been almost 4 weeks since we moved from Wallingford to north Shoreline. The house is together (more or less) and great! We have 2 workplaces now: a home office and a Seattle office (look elsewhere on the website for the new locations). It's an exciting change. Now I can get back to blogging!
For years now, I've been exploring the assessment and treatment of spinal joint fixations. During that time, my methods (presented in both the ACOM and MFB classes) have become more refined and consistent. My current method has a strong element of traction in corrective maneuvers. Lately, I've realized that one quick way of zeroing in on the crooked joints is by palpating the spine and just looking for the places that feel compressed. By this, I mean that you can try to decompress the spine with two hands, noticing where resistance to that decompression resides. I hope to help students recognize that the places that are crooked and the places that are compressed are the same places!
As noted earlier, 2015 was the Year of the Shoulder. I got clearer about the front-to-back balance of the shoulder girdle, including the combination of posterior shift and anterior tilt on the more dysfunctional side. More recently, I've realized that there's one more important component: on that same side, the ribcage is more flexed. I wonder what's next?
Ida Rolf, when describing her method, said something like "Put it where you want it, and call for movement.") However, I'm not inclined to ask clients to move while I'm manipulating them. I tend to vote more for precision of work, and that makes it more comfortable for me to remove the variable of client movement. However, I'm willing to make exceptions…
Most recently, my friend and former student James Jackson mentioned that he'd taken up the practice of asking clients to move into spinal flexion or extension during Type II spinal treatment to enhance the work. I've been trying it, especially in the low back and neck, by asking for slight flexion or extension of the pelvis or head. It seems to make the work considerably easier. Thanks, James!
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