We have recently added a new course in our studio. We call it “Unlocking the Body.” It is our answer to what others would call a pain management or stretch class. We prefer not to use titles like pain management because that infers you have to live with pain; something we are not so readily willing to accept. Pain is the body’s way of communicating something is not quite right and needs your attention. We are also not against stretching, it’s quite the opposite, but stretching the muscle just for the sake of stretching is not necessarily a good thing. Certain muscles in the body are already being pulled on by others, causing them to be stretched tight and longer than they need to be. Meanwhile, other muscles may be tightening and shortening to create needed stability or responding to the way in which a person has organized their movement. Whether long or short, stretching tight muscles for the sake of creating a stretch could very well take away the body’s strategy for stability. This could create a more unstable structure and place the body in jeopardy.
Rather than creating a stretch class, we created an experience of body awareness and body motion. The four-week course is all about guiding and exploring joint motion because when joints act muscles react to that motion. Rather than picking on one specific muscle, we look at how the whole body moves and equally important, how it does not move. If we allow the hips to travel in one direction, that causes a myriad of soft tissue to respond and be reminded of their purpose. If the hips are not willing to travel in another direction, that means the soft tissue never gets the opportunity to respond. So the course is really about getting joints to move in a way that they should as unrestricted as possible.
When we get the joints to move in such a manner, a balance of tension occurs in the muscles. When a balance of muscular tension occurs joints are less restricted, posture becomes better aligned, joint function occurs at greater and greater levels. Another element of the course is about managing the mass of your body as it hovers or orbits around an ideal center point. If you were to shift your weight onto one foot more than the other, you would feel how your mass shifts over that foot. It will create a chain reaction all the way up from your feet to your head. Unconsciously, many of us have a shifted center of balance, so the body has to react and what we have happening is more postural distortion. Unless the whole body finds a way to return it to center, more compensation will eventually occur. More postural distortion will occur. It’s not a self-correcting mechanism.
Normally this type of body restoration has been performed on an individual basis, and this is our first attempt at performing similar work in a small group setting. We are limiting the course to just six people. Sessions meet for one hour every week for four weeks. During the sessions, participants will record how their bodies move and how they do not. They will have their structures measured with an electronic pressure plate, have their gait pattern captured on video, and receive corrective strategies that guide them back to a more balanced position. If you or someone you know have been living in pain and have tried just about everything, you might want to reserve a spot for the next series.