Here is an expanded discussion of Step #3 in “10 Steps to Competition Greatness”.
Map the top of your spine behind your eyes and between your ears. Remind yourself that your hip joints are at the bottom of your pelvis.
In my last blog I spoke about grounding in relation to oppositional forces with an intro to anatomical reference points.
When I consider this anatomical truth, I like to think about the people who exemplify it. And what comes to mind are those performers, athletes, dancers, singers, and musicians who are a joy to watch. They combine a confident grace and coordination with easeful uprightness.
Children, in particular toddlers, and animals generally are examples of movers who have not interfered muscularly with their daily activities. Watch them – they are our best teachers!
For us ballroom dancers, the starting point for all style related head directions comes from this whole top of the spine visual mapping. In this X-ray, notice how high up your first cervical vertebrae is.
Is this the location you think of when you move your head? I was shocked, after an entire professional ballet career when I realized this. I had to ask how much this information could have helped me in attaining a lengthened spine versus a braced one.
My impression was that my spine started just below my waist and pretty much stopped slightly above my shoulders. What was skeletally between my shoulders and the top of my head was anyone’s guess. I thought, basically lots of muscle that often caused pain. Even if the top of my spine was pointed out to me, I did not use myself that way. I moved my head with my neck muscles, NOT my vertebrae. Neck muscles POISE the skull on top of the spine. One of the most important things I learned was that recruiting neck muscles to move my head was hurting my neck!
Hip joints can be another relevant joint mapping tool that can net lots of benefits. If you are moving from where your leg connects to your pelvis, you can’t use your lumbar spine as a moveable joint.
Huge relief for your lower back
Consciously remind yourself of the connection of your leg to your pelvis. Lunges take place at that location. As seen below, this may be lower on your pelvis that you think.
Next week I’ll be talking about HOW to invite freedom in your daily life and seamlessly apply it to your ballroom dancing. Stay tuned.