Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Technique Tuesday; Wake Up Your Sense Of Balance. {How's Your Posture? A Post That Made Me Really Think About Mine}.

Wake up your sense of balance.

Below is an exercise I do during the beginning portion of every Balletone class that I teach;

Stand barefoot in parallel (toes forward), feet hip width apart. Ladies, think about where the actual hip bones (anterior superior iliac spine) align over the feet and not where current hormone fluctuations are telling you where your hips are. Am I the only one who has to be reminded of this during PMS?

Now focus on how the weight is displaced through each foot. Strive for a triad through each foot;
padding under the big toe, padding under the fourth toe and pinkie toe and the heel.

Once you feel the triad, next focus on lifting the insteps of each foot. I always find that when I place focus on my insteps while in this stance I automatically feel my core engage, my inner thighs engage as well as my glutes firming up. I find it a pleasant and well balanced feeling.

Now for some balance stimulation. Gently shift your weight to the front, or ball of your foot. Now shift weight towards your heels. Alternate for 10-20 seconds, finding a natural rhythm in your body. Each time you shift your weight forward to the balls of the feet focus on the toes spreading and "catching" your weight as opposed to curling under and gripping.

Re-center over your triads.

Now shift side to side on your feet, without letting the insteps collapse. 10-20 seconds.


Let's combine the two directions. Start by making a sort of square. Shift the weight forward, to the right, towards the heels, to the left. Try a few more squares.

From your "squares" start taking your shifting into little circles (I sometimes refer to this as the Zombie Stance). After a few rounds of circles, start to spiral the little circles inward until you are re-centered on the triads of the feet.

Do everything to the left (or opposite direction). Start with squares that evolve into little circles. Little circles that spiral back to your starting position.

One of the main benefits I find from this little exercise series is how it wakes up and energizes my core. Bringing together the focus of the mind and the body. Simple enough to do just about anytime of day. Just be barefoot and not in a situation that will freak out co-workers.

A post that gave me some enlightened thoughts about my posture.

I have always fancied myself as having very good posture, what with being a 30 + year veteran of dance and all. But alas, that doesn't make me immune to bad habits and room for improvements. Especially as I age and work through chronic trouble spots of pain and tightness.

I came across this post by Mama Sweat. In it there is a link to a simple test. Tried it. Quick and the dirty is that one factor of posture problems is the jutting out of the ribcage. Somewhere along my dancing youth journey I learned how to draw my ribs in and down (an earth-shattering realization since I had already spent almost a decade dancing with a "sway back"). So for about the last 20 years I have been fairly conscious of my ribcage placement, always with an eye for refinement. Seek and ye shall find. I did the simple back against the wall test. Oh yeah, what I expected. Nailed it. Good posture wins again. But wait! After taking a number of steps away from the wall...what the Hell was that? Did my ribcage just slip into a wee bit of a jut? Dammit, I believe it did! Up against the wall again. Ribs in place. Walk away from the wall, ribs in place. A few more steps and I could start to feel the urge to release that cartilage cage into a bit of a jutted out position.

So what's a little jut? It's not like I want to walk around like I have a stick up my ass all day. Well, it can be a big deal. And proper ribcage alignment does not necessarily result in the ramrod stance of a schoolmarm.  But ribcage alignment does effect the alignment of the entire body. Case in point, I noticed that when I was up against the wall I could feel a release of tension in my perpetually tight lower back. What signaled my wayward ribs was the feeling of tension returning when I walked away from the wall.

So this ribcage alignment of mine will definitely be getting a closer look.

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy the dance that is life!


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