Saturday, April 19, 2008

Taking a stand

I've had a love affair with giant trees, especially redwoods, for as long as I can remember. One of my favorite places to meander is through the Avenue of Giants in Humboldt County, CA. It's home to some of the oldest and largest redwood trees still standing in the western U.S.

We all have moments in our lives when we have to take a stand for something, if not for ourselves. While this may look like many things in your individual thought processes, it can also be looked at from a metaphorical perspective.

Because the physical and mental areas of our brain are so close together we can use this to our advantage.

Taking a stand can be as simple as feeling the ground beneath your feet. How do you stand normally? Where do you put more weight on your feet? Do you collapse your arches?

These are all questions you can ask yourself whenever you're about to take on a new and/or stressful situation. Often we find ourselves up in our heads going over possible scenarios before we actually act, and also while in the act. Only afterwards wondering ... what just happened?

Next time you're about to move into unfamiliar mental territory, whether it's an interview or meeting someone new or having to confront a troublesome neighbor, check in with how you physically stand.

You can practice this by giving a test talk to yourself (out loud) while changing where you have your areas of support. First you can collapse your arches, bringing your knees a bit closer. You may notice a rounding of the back, rolling forward of the shoulders, lowering of the head, and a shorter breathe. Then slowly roll your feet so that your support moves to the outside edges of each foot.

This might be a strategy I'd use with someone who wants to be heard better, carry a nicer singing tone, or learn to fill the room with their presence more effectively. Surprisingly, it's also useful in the act of going from sitting to standing.

I know this doesn't necessarily take place of what you can learn in a group (Awareness Through Movement®) or one-on-one lesson (Functional Integration®), but hopefully you can glean something out of this to help the next time you feel an uncomfortable situation arising.

For more on the Feldenkrais Method® you may go to:

Erik LaSeur

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher®

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