Crawling is a rich area of practice, and in some ways our first two lessons can be seen as preparatory for crawling. They help the body form a proper foundation for further ground movement.
The term crawling here refers not to a specific repetitive movement, but for all low movement across the ground. It is a kind “walking” across the ground using any and all body parts, including the spine, shoulders, hips, forearms, legs, et cetera. Because crawling activates all the different body parts independently and within the whole, this is fundamental work for developing all further movements. A lot of time can be spent developing soft, smooth, free, joyful movement on the ground.
Most types of movement training focus on giving you specific sequences of moves or even sequences of muscle activation, while paying no attention to the internal state from which the movement arises. Our practices here are not about teaching you specific movements or sequences, so much as helping you find internal states optimized for discovering freedom. It’s important to plant this seed and recognize that whatever your current range of motion or physical ability, you are able to engage in this practices. Each person’s crawling may look different, but the important work is happening inside, and is gauged more in terms of contrast and quality than form.
STEP BY STEP
1. Start slowly by lifting up different parts of the body, stretching them out or drawing them it, and then move the whole body by bringing these parts back to more neutral positions. Vary your crawling by changes in direction, orientation, and amplitude.
2. Initiate movement on inhale, then extend or complete movement on exhale. Pay particular attention to comfort (no bones banging against hard surfaces) and relaxation (no tension buildup).
3. Work toward continuous, sustained, non-broken movement with steady breathing that adjusts to maintain even tone. That means breathing rate or intensity increases if the crawling becomes more vigorous.
a. As with previous drills it is good to practice on a variety of surfaces. Crawling comfortably on hard wood will require slightly different movement than crawling comfortably on carpet, and again when crawling on a pile of rocks.
b. Work toward coordinating breath and movement, so they support each other. To start, engage the breath just before the movement of the body, and make make sure the breathing is not interrupted by movement.
c. When we first begin crawling, we think about and perform one movement, then another, then the next, and so on. Work toward continuous movement by eliminating the separations between thoughts and movements, so it’s all just one movement. We’ll go deeper into this topic in Level 2.
d. To ground yourself, get on the ground and crawl around a little every day!
If you gradually lower the amplitude of your crawling while looking inward, and keep going until there is no outward movement at all, you may notice there is still continuous movement inside the body. You may detect myriad sensations shooting through the body, like electrical impulses prompting potential movements in various direction.
Additionally, as you inhale the the body expands; as you exhale it contracts. And parts of the body are also expanding and contracting independently. The heart is beating and blood is pulsing. The stomach and intestines are digesting and so on.
With breathing, if the body expands or contracts with perfect symmetry, we stay in one place and feel no direction. But if this fundamental movement breaks symmetry, expanding more on the right than the left, for example, suddenly we may feel a direction for movement.
Usually we think we are the origin of our movement. But we are only looking on the surface, content to reassure our egos that we are in control. Look deeper. What is beyond the electrical impulses? What is beyond the breath? See if you can find the source and origin of all movement.
Every day for 1 week, warm up with some ground checks and turnovers; Then spend 10 minutes on the ground working on crawling. For deeper practice double the times to 20 or even to 40 minutes of continuous crawling.
Understand and maintain comfortable, continuous, fluid movement on the ground, without tension buildup or injury.
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