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Gravity forces the issue of alignment. Alignment is perceptable.

To use apparatus to help find the sensation of alignment is the objective.

In this case, we're looking for the sense of alignment from the shoulders along the neck and out through the crown of the head.

To start with, lean in to the sensation:

I call this Standing Arm Spring Lean Aways. Feet in Pilates V. Soft knees, ribs connecting through to the gloots, (How would you spell "gloots"?) Shoulders wide, sternum down away from the back of the neck as the head curls around the ears, finding a release out through the crown of the head. There is alignment here. Once you get flexible enough and strong enough, you can find a sense of release into the alignment. Next, instead of leaning against the springs to find the sensation of alignment, use the spring tension pushing down to find the same alignment and the same shoulder girdle engagement.

This apparatus is called the Pedipull, allegedly designed by Joe for an opera singer. Here we're moving "in plane" Inhale press down, exhale come up. Instead of leaning into tension, here we're pushing through it.

Now, if your client is able, let's find the sensation of alignment by letting the body's weight line up in gravity upside down.

Isn't that pretty? Pretty, because the arms so line up through the axis of the hips, shoulders, and ears. This is the objective, to get there may take a few sessions to develop familiarity, but the feeling of alignment can become crystal clear. It is from here that you can stand up with the same engagement of musculature to hold your self aligned when standing upright. So here's how you might lead into the previous position.

To spot this, stand close and keep one hand, palm up, underneath the shoulder, so you can protect head and neck. Before you ever do any of this tell your client to come down when they want, don't try to stay up past their ability to keep their grip.

This position is call the "Bird's nest", a position a flyer takes on the trapeze, is one of the reasons that the apparatus got the nick name, the "Trap Table" as in trapeze table. I've always know the apparatus as the Cadillac.

This would be called the half inversion. Where do we go from here? Scissors, finding balance with your legs acting like the pole of a tight rope walker. Once you can scissor and not lose the upper body alignment you could try circles and helicopter, but after scissors I usually go up into standing, Pilates V.

So, in conclusion, gravity forces the issue of alignment. Alignment is perceptable. And this session is about developing the perception of alignment through the body--inverted. If you can do it inverted, you know the feeling you want, the muscular engagement, when you are upright.

Is this advanced? Sure, way advanced. You don't want to hurt anyone, you also don't want to bore someone to tears. Also, picking the right exercise can reveal what you are trying to see. I had a session with a visiting teacher, did the roll down on the cadillac, and he did it so well, I jumped right to the end and showed him then asked of him, the full inversion. He did it, but is showed his shoulders were tight, which gave me the direction to go in. It could have taken several sessions, if ever, to have gotten to that conclusion. So, I'm saying pick the right exercise to reveal and communicate. This is the high end of it. Knowing where you are headed can help you get there that much faster.

What other classical exercises would play into the theme of this session?

Who wouldn't you give this to? (eyes problems, high blood pressure, weak wrists, the list goes on and on...)

When in doubt, leave it out!

Copyright ©2004 Michael Miller. All rights reserved.