I was taking a class called Pole Basics on Saturday. In it, the teacher, Nikki, breaks down common spins to help us hone our moves.
We were doing a round-a-bout into a pirouette and Nikki came over to observe me. Her tip for me was not to relax into the round-a-bout so much, but instead to stay in more control of my muscles to make the move more fluid.
After Nikki moved on, I stood there staring at my pole. More control led to more fluidity?
Seeing the Patterns of Control
One thing I’m really good at is seeing connections and patterns in seemingly unrelated contexts. As I stood there, my mind started flying between the physical world of pole dancing and the energetic world of my work with clients and my overall understanding of life.
I work with lots of clients who have a stranglehold on life. Everything is about control – controlling their business, their relationships, their lives. You name it and they’re controlling it. And it’s exhausting for them.
In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t tried to control some aspect of life.
This desire for control comes from fear, and from experiences in the past when we felt like a victim with no control or influence over events in our lives. One of the bigger fears, though, is that if we let go of control, everything will fall apart and/or nothing will ever get done.
Part of my job is to help clients trust more. We release the stuff from the past and the fears, and then move on to practices that help them expand their ability to trust themselves, other people and the unfolding of Life
The result is that they feel more and more in the flow of life. When they’re able to relax, they have more fun in their relationships and their business, they’re more productive, and everything unfolds with more ease and grace.
So how did Nikki’s words that “more control means more fluidity” fit in with this? Or did it?
As I did another round-a-bout and focused on “control,” I paid close attention to my body and what was happening there. Lean out, body strong yet fluid, shoulders down, core…
And it hit me.
What we were really talking about was ENGAGEMENT. It was about keeping my muscles engaged. Not control in the sense of being rigid, which leads to injuries. Not relaxation in the sense of being saggy, which also leads to injuries. But engaged.
FEELING the Difference
Take a minute now to do the following and see if you can feel the difference in your body.
Tighten your stomach muscles until they feel clenched. If you do it hard enough, your breathing becomes shallow and your shoulders curve over a bit.
With your muscles still clenched, try twisting your shoulders to look behind you. You don’t get very far, do you?
Now let those same muscles completely go. Let your gut hang out. Your whole body slumps, and again you’re taking shallow breaths, aren’t you?
In this position, try again to twist your shoulders to look behind you.
Now, engage your stomach muscles while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Your body straightened and you’re taking deeper breaths now, right?
What happens when you twist your body now?
When your muscles are toned and engaged – not rigid or slack – there is flow. Your circulation moves better, hormones levels are more stable, food is digested and wastes are eliminated more easily.
There’s also more flow in your energy. You have more stamina and more vitality. Your acupuncture meridians and your chakras are more vibrant. You’re more alive.
As in Our Bodies, so in Our Lives
This is true in how we approach life, too.
When we’re engaged in life, we’re more alive. We’re more vibrant. We have more flow and more vitality.
Some of us err on the side of control, trying to control life, ourselves and others. This makes us rigid and closed off.
Others of us err on the side of looseness, not taking actions that are ours to take. We aren’t showing up for Life, so very little happens.
When we show up, engaged with and open to what Life brings us, ready to do our part, magic happens.
This week, notice in your body when and where you’re tense. Is there a corresponding place in your life where you’re rigid?
Also notice if there’s a place where your muscles are soft or underused. Where in your life are you not fully engaged?
For this week, just notice the feelings, thoughts and emotions related to this. And feel free to share in the comments below.