When practicing a skill, hunt for the feeling.
A stretch is present in all the yielding, pushing, reaching, grasping and pulling that we do.
We just might not be looking for it.
If we search for the stretched tissue, we can get clearer on the contraction we are producing to facilitate the movement.
Turning our objective to the stretch, gets us out of the way from the judgement of what is and what isn’t working, and rather asks, is the stretch present?
In this straddle flag drill, the objective is to maintain the straddle and reach my pointed toes toward a desired target.
(that’s a really base explanation.)
It’s self-correcting, and fairly straightforward and simple in what it asks, with respect to execution.
What’s not so blatant, is what the drill is asking me to feel.
What some might call, proprioception, I call sensitivity.
This lateral flexion in the torso, nudges my body’s memory.
It reminds me that compression is expansion, that this straddle is not a tool for balance but for experiencing the expression of hips flexing, the pelvis finding its tilt, and falling out, tilting the other way and finding itself again.
My hands behave as if the individual pads of my fingers are reading some signal coming from the earth below the concrete.
Feverishly following the words and holding on so as to not lose their place in this strange and fleeting poem.
The toes are beginning to point goddamnit!
They are learning to reach and to grasp and to tell stories all their own. Their intention and drive is marked by the axial rotation at the hips and the imagined strings on these great toes serve as puppeteers to the clumsy, Pinocchio of the ribs.
Every drill is an opportunity to learn a myriad of lessons that transcend the drill itself, stories that tell other stories.
A drunk, spinning a yarn, losing his way and stumbling back again…
You will find numerous PT’s and physios and contortionists and circus performers and armchair acrobats who will claim to know more about the body than I.
They can speak to my imbalances as they preview the pic above, or speak to yours as you walk, step up, or squat, but none can feel what I feel.
None can tell me the story of my body.
I’m an expert of MY body.
As you are of yours.
For the search and the experience and meaning found is not in the the books and lectures.
It’s in the stretch.
Let this ignite the fire in your belly.
A movement, a gesture.
An eventual and inevitable active yield.
A leaning into this sensation of learning, and yearning and expressing.
There is no other way in. We must move, sure.
More aptly, We must feel.