To move freely implies more than just do whatever you want. Of course, that fine too. Maybe you are a dancer so you want to dance. Maybe your are a martial artist so you want to kick. Maybe you do yoga and you want to move into your favorite postures. Maybe you feel like doing more rolling or crawling. Maybe you don’t know what to do. That’s all fine.
Whatever the case, though, usually our movement is constrained and guided by prior conditioning — both in patterns of movement and in thoughts. If we are trying to do the exact same thing in the exact same way based on preconceived ideas or prior circumstances, we are not really training for freedom. Instead, we are imprisoning ourselves in a limited conception of our bodies and being. We may or may not break out of this prison later on, but for the time being, we are incarcerated.
So in these exercises, the practice is to move from something other than conditioned thoughts and habitual movements. Be careful though. It is easy to trick oneself. If you say, “I don’t want to repeat my same old patterns, so I’ll do something different,” then you are moving a thought. If you do not think, but just repeat the same old movements, then you are moving from habit. We need to find an origin for our movement that is not prior thoughts and habits.
When we move freely, the body adapts and responds to current circumstances, always attentive and listening to what is really happening now. And when we move from a place of real silence, even if the body responds in a familiar way, it is something different entirely.
STEP BY STEP
0. As preliminary, just move around however you want and see what you do or don’t do, as well as your mind set and how you relate to the body.
1. In the first excercise try to guide your movement be moving into tension. Think of when you wake up and and stretch out to release residual tension get every loose and moving. Feel where there tension stick outs and move to stretch and mobilize those areas.
2. The second exercise is a little more subtle. Try to guide your movement by moving into relaxation. It may help if you create a little tension first on an inhale. Then exhale and follow the direction of the relaxation to guide your movement.
3. The third exercise is more subtle still. In the previous exercises note how the mind tends to pay attention to and identify with either the tension or the relaxation, depending on the instruction. In this exercise, being neither here nor there, move from emptiness, into tension or into relaxation as guided by … what should we say … the whole situation … or just something quite mysterious.
a. We might think there’s a lot to wrap our minds around in this section, but that would be missing the point. Explore what is actually happening within yourself and see where it leads. That’s all.
b. Even if you fall into or want to do familiar movement patterns, that’s fine. But look deeper into what’s happening within the movement. Find yourself beyond the body and beyond the movement.
c. This work is endless. So it’s important to practice hard, cultivate curiosity, and have some fun too.
When we approach this work, even with a so-called “open mind”, most of us are still deeply entrenched our ideas about who we are and what this experience of life is. And our own conditioning is a blind spot. We do not see how conditioned we really are, and so we mistake our ideas for reality.
We often act like we know what is going on, without ever having investigated our experience thoroughly and honestly. If we are studying movement, ask yourself: what is the origin of movement? We usually leap at anything we might attribute it to — thoughts, sensations, the ego, the world around us, and so on. But look closely and see if you can ever really pin it down and establish a definitive origin.
Make no mistake: the direction I am pointing challenges all the concepts and ideas you may identify with. If we trace our experience back, looking not just for the origin of movement, but for the origin of our thoughts, sensations, egos, and world … you may discover what first appears to be a kind of emptiness or nothingness. The tendency is to ignore it, but if you would like to go deeper, don’t ignore it. Investigate this too.
Look beyond the prison of your mind, and beyond the prison of your body by seeking the source of yourself. when not bound by thoughts, ideas, and concepts, you truly will understand free movement.
Every day for 1 week, warm up and spend 5 to 20 minutes doing free movement and inquiring into the nature of this freedom.
While exploring and enjoying movement variety, inquire into and recognize a deeper more profound kind of freedom than the idea of “doing what you want.”
preview | introduction | 1 ground checks | 2 turnovers | 3 crawling | 4 push-ups | 5 rolls | 6 sit-ups | 7 transitions | 8 squats | 9 jogging | 10 free move | 11 walking | 12 recovery | comprehensive practice