The Joy of a Body in Balance

The joy of a body in balance


If you can stand and walk unaided then technically your body is in balance, it may not be elegant or graceful or the most efficient one for your body, but nevertheless it is in balance.  Newton’s law, that is for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, seems to apply to the alignment of the body. Somehow your body will twist, turn shift or tilt to keep you upright and walking, and it is these compensations and adaptions that cause the aches and pains in muscles and joints most people experience as they age.

To achieve a more efficient balance you need to allow your body to unfurl itself, that is to grow up to align with gravity. This requires that you become involved in the process, it can’t be done successfully on a long term basis by any form of external manipulation, nor any process which imposes “correct posture” or “proper alignment” onto the body. External manipulation can be useful with acute problems and can reduce pain almost immediately and it can speed up recovery, but if the underlying problem is not addressed then the problem will reoccur again later on. Most manipulation therapists suggest you come back for a correction or preventative treatment every few months. Short term problems get written into the skeleton, and it’s there that bone manipulation and gross muscle stretching works well, but long term problems get written into the soft tissue and re-education which adjusts the muscle tone of those tissues is what is needed.

To try and impose a “correct posture” onto someone is doomed to fail, at best it will have a short term benefit, and at worst it will lock the body into alignment by adding a layer of tension called “I must be in correct alignment”. By unwinding and releasing the bound up tension in the body you can expose the natural posture in any individual. Everyone has a different body, so there is no universal “best posture” what matters is that you have a strong but relaxed body which allows economical movement and easy balance

A new born infant has no conscious control over the body, but slowly by a process of movement, feedback and repetition, conscious control develops, with fine motor control she develops the ability to put a spoon into her mouth, to walk, to control her bladder, to ride a bicycle, tie a shoelace, hit a tennis ball, to making a daisy chain. These movement patterns are remembered by the brain and part (sometimes most) of that pattern becomes so ingrained it operates at a subconscious level.

As an adult, you will have been subject to the realities of life, and your physical and emotional history is written into the patterns of your body movement. Those patterns of movement can be can be absorbed from others around you, learned such as driving a car, reactive, like avoiding danger, physical trauma, such as a broken leg, or emotional trauma such as abusive relationships. These reactions lodge in your body and cause a tightening up of muscles, often as a protective guarding, held long enough they become part of who you are and how you move. Restricted or tight muscles and tension patterns pull on joints and in doing so set up your individual structural (mis) alignment.

In all successful bodywork, the process is to expose the tension patterns so you become aware of them, so you can see them, feel them and understand what they are, and by doing so you become invested in ways of releasing them and growing into a more authentic you. As part of that process, you can learn to release the fibrous bindings in your body and allow your natural alignment to unfurl itself. The correct type movements will show you where you are restricted, binding, or tight, and those movements are designed to help you to move into more efficient balance.

Smooth flowing movements that release long term chronic tension and pains.


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