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Core initiated movements and associative joint movements: some practice notes (part one)

In the previous post about core initiated movements, I mentioned that it is possible to initiate any bodily movement from the core. In this post, I will elaborate my point a little.

Yoga as a process of unblocking the blockage Attempting to initiate a movement from the core can be seen as a process of unblocking the blockages, say if one tries to roll the shoulders forward(shoulder protraction) by moving the core first, it will mean the movement has to start from the core and pass through the entire spine for it to reach the shoulders and this is possible through allowing or freeing the associated joint movements (AJM): the core will first move backward and then upwards, resulting in the spine flexes from the lumbar region and then thoracic region which causes the shoulders to protract and internally rotate… ideally, the whole process ripples out and form an uninterrupted line of movement and awareness.

Shoulders protraction: Movements isolated and movements initiated from the core

When practicing such movements on our own, we must rely on the sensation as we trace our awareness of each tiny movement along this path. To begin, it might be easier to break it into, say five parts: the core, the lower spine, the middle spine, the upper spine, and the shoulders and try to allow the movement to occur in this order. At the beginning the movement seems to “skip” especially the middle back, the junction of lumbar and thoracic region: there is no movement and no sensation, this not only indicates stiffness but also a blockage in that region, where neither awareness nor movements occur and it’s probably safe to say that there is also very little energy and blood-flow happening there.

Shiva and Shakti Simon Borg-Olivier has mentioned three ways to enhance the circulation of energy(blood flow) in an area: to expand that area, to breathe into that area or to think of that area, therefore if the first two ways don’t work, one can always use one’s will and visualization to “map out” the path. With time, the sensation will start to appear and eventually movements as well.

Shiva and Pavarti, India 12th century

In Hindu mythology, Shiva and his eternal consort Shakti(Pavarti) symbolize consciousness and energy, perusha and pakriti, and one dimension of this relationship of the two is that Shakti always follows Shiva, and as we bring our consciousness and awareness to an area, we will attract prana there, and the prana in this case, is characterized by healing and revitalizing power.

Freedom of movement

The CIM becomes increasingly interesting when it is done asymmetrically, take the above example of shoulder movement, a unilateral shoulder protraction will result in the opposite shoulder retraction, spinal flexion and axial rotation towards its opposite side, as the AJM extends to elbow (flexion and pronation), wrist(flexion and eversion) and fingers( flexion), etc.. When I first practice this movement on alternate sides, I notice the two sides are not equal, there is a smoother movement, clarity in awareness and line of energy on my right side but left side felt rather blocked and lifeless, which is obviously connected to the chronic injury and at times excruciating pain on my left shoulder and I started to use CIM as a form of therapy, to unblock the blockages, allow the energy to flow and the self-healing to take place.

Right shoulder protraction

Initially some knowledge and understanding of the function of the muscular-skeletal system help to map out a path of how movements “suppose” to go, but with practice, one can experience all the AJM simply happen quite naturally, as the movement becomes increasing smooth, so is the movement of energy.

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