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Coordination, Alignment and Balance

Your Two Best Friends
  • Start by standing comfortably. This generally means - feet under your hips, feet parallel, feeling for a stable and adaptable base of support under you.
  • Then (from T'ai Chi) feel for your own personal overhead star. Your Nadir star. The star directly overhead your crown.
  • Feel for the silk thread coming from that star, down to your crown. The thread that is lifting you, and holding you upright. This is your first best friend.
  • Then feel for the center of the Earth.  Just like your overhead star, you know right where that is. This is your second best friend.
  • At the bottom of each of your feet there is a place called the "Bubbling Well" in T'ai Chi. It is just behind the ball of your foot. It a hollow-ish area, that is the actual and experiential center-of-gravity for your body (aka Kidney 1 in Chinese Medicine).  Feel for your alignment to travel through each Bubbling Well to the center of the Earth.
  • These are your two best friends: the star overhead, and the center of the Earth. They are always there for you.  Rest between them - open, supple, responsive, relaxed.
Turn Under the Ball
  • Hold the ball up overhead, with either hand
  • Feel for what is directly overhead
  • Then turn about under the ball
  • Re-coordinate, re-calibrate
  • Make adjustments
  • Use a light ball to listen.  A heavier ball can give you more sensory input, like where you are leaning.  A lighter ball can help you feel the fine-tuning better. Note the differences.
  • Once or twice around can be enough, and you can try it again later

Activate Your Glutes

  • Gluteus Maximus!

  • Start by standing comfortably - feet hip width apart, feet parallel, feeling the alignment with your "two best friends" (see above).

  • Now squeeze your butt cheeks together.

  • Feel for how this torques your pelvis open, meaning your front opens out.

  • Feel for how this brings your knees out.

  • Feel for how this lifts the arches of your feet.

  • Let the movement also lift your chest.

  • Stay easy, open, relaxed - but with activated cheeks.

  • Now, this part is subtle - but, keeping your pose, now torque your great toe into the ground.  Easy.  Screw it down for stability.

  • This is not a stiff practice.  This is an activation reminder for glute max - reminding them of a job they have.  A little activation reminder and they will stay on the job.

  • You can practice the stance for empowerment.  And you can occasionally activate the pose to keep the glutes engaged.

                      Occipital Alignment

  • sit or stand comfortably upright

  • feel for the alignment where your head can balance most easily

  • then feel even closer for where it has the feeling it could float, easily, like a small boat on a gentle lake

  • check that spot by moving off of it and noticing how the floating stops

Balance a Club
  • Place a club, or a broom stick, or any object (you can make it fun), on your finger, or palm, ... or even forehead, or nose.
  • Balance it!
  • Balance it standing still, or walking around, or with one or the other eye closed, or both eyes closed!
  • Keep yourself limber and agile, letting your body lean and balance too.
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Draw Opposite Circles
  • Reach your arms out to the sides.
  • Start by drawing circles with one arm in one direction.
  • Then add the other arm - drawing circles in the opposite direction.
  • Keep the rhythm.
  • Play with symmetry and asymmetry.
Moving in Opposite Planes
  • Reach your arms out to the sides.
  • Move one hand back and forth, flat, parallel to the ground.
  • Move your other hand up and down, perpendicular to the ground.
  • Change sides.
  • What happens?
Stop for the Flat
  • Start with both "hands up".
  • Then move both arms at the same time.
              - one moves between up and                 down, pausing at each                         station.
              - the other also moves                             between up and down, but                 has an additional station                     where the hand is flat.
  • Pause at each station.
  • Switch sides.
Drawing a "6" and Twirling your Ankle
  • Start by lifting your heel
  • Circle your ankle in a clockwise direction
  • Once that pattern is set, draw a figure "6" with you finger.
  • Try different sides, different combinations.
The Unpredictable Bounce
  • Arrange an irregularly shaped object (in this case some juggling clubs) against the wall and throw a bouncy ball into it.
  • The ball will bounce back unpredictably
  • Your reflexes need to be twice as fast to catch it!
  • You can arrange your clubs on a table against the wall, keeping the game more upright.
Teeny Jumps
  • It can be surprising how we rarely, if ever - jump!
  • This playful practice simply starts to retrain this reflex.
  • And it can get a bit aerobic rather quickly.
  • It is stimulating and fun.
  • Tailor it to your liking.   Small jumps are fine.
Standing on a Ball
  • If you use a heavy ball, this is surprisingly not that hard.  I use a 15 lb "medicine ball" - see suggestions on toys
  • You can also put the ball against the leg of a desk to keep it from rolling, use the wall for your hands, use any props around to help.
  • Naturally, go easy, slow, feel.  This is not a heroic move.  Stay in balance.
  • This can feel really good on the feet too.
  • Be safe of course, stay in your limits.

Finding "Blind Spots" and Seeing Into Them

  • It is not uncommon for there to be areas of our visual fields where we are just a bit slower at noticing that something is there, or coming toward us.

  • Or areas  where we are reflexively slower at catching or responding to something in that visual field.

  • Hold the ball and move it with your hand.

  • Make a circle, make figure "8's", make lines, check the edges.

  • Notice what is true for you, and look into it.

Tunnel or Broad Focus
  • Start with as wide-an-angle gaze as you can.
  • Keep your eyes steady, just notice how much you can see and "pick-up".
  • Then focus specifically on one object - tunnel vision into it.
  • Notice the changes in your body.
  • Explore this during your day.  How does your habits of seeing affect you?
Where is the Ball?
  • Hold the ball up high and drop it by your feet.
  • Close your eyes and cover your ears and "feel" for where it lands.
  • Keeping your eyes closed, see if you can reach down and touch it with your finger.  How close are you?
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