There are numerous images that we as teachers can give to our clients for identifying the midline. It is common to talk about a plumb line through the body, but in GYROTONIC® work we speak of verticality and the energetic reach to heaven and earth.
I have recently been exploring cues for two parts of the anatomy that are not normally mentioned when identifying this midline. The first, sensing and moving the pubic disc, was inspired by a beautiful video from Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen about the pubic symphysis. In this video she explores moving the joint in different planes for awareness of how it affects the entire spine. I began to explore this with the idea that arch and curl motions could be initiated from the joint space. The disc spins away to tilt the pelvis anteriorly and spins back toward you to post tilt the pelvis. What I like about the image is the way it allows me, personally, to move my pelvis from these small bones without so much involvement of my back muscles or glutes.
The second place I am exploring is the philtrum, the notch above the upper lip below the nose. The philtrum is formed in utero as the face begins to shape, and it is one of the seams of our body around which we fold developmentally. It is also an external midline point that is often overlooked. Awareness of the philtrum can be made by applying light pressure against this point with a fingertip. Pressing slightly more can help to bring the head back in to better alignment over the thorax.
I have been exploring this awareness of these two points in arch and curl exercises, both sagittal and transverse, and then later in hamstring series. Simply lying on the back and sensing the philtrum and pubic disc creates an ease in the spine. Reaching the pubic disc down through the legs as the hips crease into flexion creates a similar stability to the pelvis as cueing the reach of the sit bones but without tension in the lower back.
The human mind is a complex organism and we each carry with us our own internal conceptions of words and images. With these images I am searching for a simplicity that guides motion without a lot of muscular effort, and I have noticed a profound effect on my own movement.
Dominika is teaching a GYROTONIC Level I Update “All About the Basics” December 18-20, 2015 at her studio in Phoenix, AZ. For a full schedule, go to www.phoenixgyrotonic.com.