Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Good Posture is Good for You

AND ...

Good Structure Enables Good Posture

Here's a nice video which makes the case for keeping good posture. Especially with all the electronic devices which have become integral to everyday living, from dawn 'til dusk.

Take a look at this short video. Then, there's something important you should know which will make all the difference. Specifically, what underlies and determines posture in the first place.

Now that you are convinced that good posture is vitally important when you stand and when you sit, I'd like to add some further understanding.

Posture means, "A position of a person's body when standing or sitting." While this is a general definition, let's expand it to include all the positions a human body can assume. Think of the exquisitely beautiful lines of the ballerina. Or, the marvelous range of possibilities demonstrated by the expert Hatha Yoga practitioner. Heck, even to eat a slice of Pizza there are a set of postures you will need to execute if you want to get that delectable from plate to pie hole.

Then, there's "Structure": 1. (Noun) The arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements and 2. (Verb) Construct or arrange according to a plan; give a pattern or organization to.

My first point is this: POSTURE IS DETERMINED BY STRUCTURE. The trunk of the palm tree can bend flexibly in the wind; an oak, no way. They share their common essential tree-ness: leaves, branches, trunk, roots. But structurally, how they are built dictates the way they move, or don't. Same with humans.

Essentially, a human being can take so many various postures; yet, there are structural constraints. For example, you can't see the back of your head. Or, try to touch your elbow to your nose. Or, a rather graphic example, you can't knee yourself in the nuts. (Thank God.)

The key distinction to be understood in respect to structure is in the area of how we humans all share the same essential structure, yet just look at all the unique individual structural differences

This may be a new idea to you. After all, take a look ... people are all going around with their heads and necks on top of their shoulders. The arms go here, the legs there. Your nose is not 12 inches long for a reason. If it were, it would be a foot. Mostly we register our fellows in these general terms. It takes a trained eye to discriminate the details. 

Look a little closer, and you will see what I am referring to here. So much variety in terms of how things have in fact become put together. A typically obvious one is the shoulders. It's fairly common to see one shoulder higher than the other. Or, one closer/smaller to the chest. Maybe, one more to the back or more in front than the other. 

Here is a still from a recent TV commercial. I rest my case.

Complications ensue. Such imbalances are not just local. They exist in a complex with compensations throughout the body. Notice in the image above how the neck and set of the head have accommodated the variations in the shoulder girdle. Structural issues in the pelvis/pelvic girdle are reflected in the shoulder girdle. Vice versa. The set of the legs and feet give rise to corresponding balance/imbalance in the segments higher up.

How come? The short story is that each of us is shaped by our individual history. That, adding in a mix of habits, both good and bad; unresolved traumas and accidents; insufficient training (Who taught you to stand and sit?); modelling adults around us who themselves may not have been good exemplars of proper posture and structure. Repeated postures become set in the fabric of our flesh. They become structured in owing to the ability of the soft tissue of the body to mold/take shape with repeated patterns of use.

Like the story about my Uncle Stash. He had rounded shoulders and a flat forehead. Turns out when you asked him a question he would shrug his shoulders when he didn't (very often) know the answer. When he learned the answer, he would slap his forehead. We are indeed shaped by our experience(s).

I have a trained eye and see deeply into body structures, whether standing still or in movement. To further illustrate my point about individual structural differences, why not you take a look. At how people walk. Ideally, where there are lots of people to observe. Each us learned to walk pretty much on our own. Each has history we carry along. Now look at how, even with all the same parts, there are so many individual random patterns. Some better that others. Not by my own metric of what looks good. But by the simple standard of how continued over time patterns reinforce themselves, then get fixed into the flesh. And, projecting out how some patterns down the road will lead to complications. When we see a person moving in equipoise with ease and grace, we are instinctively moved by the self evident power and presence. Why? Because it's in us to have the same. It just takes some conscious doing to make it a reality.

My other point is this. IF STRUCTURE IS IMBALANCED, THEN POSTURE IS LIMITED. For the average person this may not seem like such an issue. Most people get along well enough. Muddle through? Even here though, I would suggest considering how structural imbalances and their compensations might drain energy and limit options, even in the mundane and ordinary. And, long term, it may have a little to do with how gracefully (or not) we age. With all we do to make sure our children have every advantage in life, where is the training on the proper use of their bodies?

And then there's the other matter. That's when we turn our attention to activities in which posture is a key factor. Dance. Sports. For example, just look at all the invention and training that goes on among golfers. All the paraphernalia, all the lessons and instructions to get the perfect swing. Now consider how all that goes on without addressing the underlying unique personal limitations each player brings to the game fixed into the fabric of their flesh. It's just not on the radar. Yet.

Are we missing an opportunity because we assume that the shape [read, "structure"] we have come to identify as ourselves is somehow fixed? That's just the way I am? Born that way? 

Structure, unlike how we grow bigger and stronger as we mature, is not automatic. It is learned. Since the body is changeable, we can take advantage of that natural plasticity to move toward a place of more structural balance and integrity. 

As a Rolf Practitioner my career focus is on human structure. Restoring proper structure. Balance. Educating correct structure where it more often than not hasn't shown itself in the first place. My enthusiasm for this approach is based on the eye opening results I discovered for myself when I was looking for resolution to chronic movement problems. Also, that the work is grounded in basic science. Just like it is for any three dimensional structure on Earth, the human body must adapt to the constant pull of Gravity. Any architect or building trade worker will tell you that Gravity dictates balance around the vertical, all even and level. So too for the human body.

I guess I can't discuss subjects such as posture and structure without giving my profession a plug. I offer personalized assistance to bring the structure of the body to a vertically upright, unstressed, even, and level stance. The approach is peerless and definitive. 

If you want to live pain and stress free. Enjoy living unencumbered by past conditioning. Realizing your full potential, both physically and creatively. Then getting in balance is for you. 

First step. Do something about your posture. If you find your structure is in the way, then you may want some expert assistance.

At your service.

David D. Wronski

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Imhotep’s Secret

Imhotep is the designer of the very first pyramid. He was also a master of medicine. A great public official. High priest. Arguably, the very best of the ancient world.

Still the question we all want answered is just how they made the pyramids. Whatever your pet theory, surely at the heart of it, it still settles into mystery. Unknown, and unknowable. At least, in conventional technical scientific terms.

It may be the stuff of the kind of higher knowledge the ancients took with them to their graves. Or, to wherever a civilization goes when their development and technology enable them to exercise the option to transcend this dimensional world.

Some insight from Nisargadatta Maharaj: The world had all the time to get better, yet it did not. What hope is there for the future? Of course, there have been and will be periods of harmony and peace, when sattva was in ascendence, but things get destroyed by their own perfection. A perfect society is necessarily static and, therefore, it stagnates and decays. From the summit all roads lead downwards. Societies are like people - they are born, they grow to some point of relative perfection and then decay and die.

As you contemplate that sculpture of a seated Imhotep, surely it becomes apparent the great man himself embodied the very core principles to which the enduring pyramids stand in mute testament. Write your own words. It will be a list of the very best of human aspirations and virtues. And, a long one.

Imhotep. There’s more to it. A rare story. A secret. Something so startling and fantastic you will think it is made up. So that you don’t lose sleep over it, or unnecessarily trouble yourself wondering about the implications of such things … yes, let’s say it is just a story.

So the story goes.

Inside that very first pyramid of Imhotep dated to the 27th Century BC is a secret room. Until recently, the very existence of such a room was itself a secret. 

Inside that room is a single object. One solid piece of Lapis Lazuli. And, of only the purest form and quality. As blue as the midnight sky. Only without even a speck of sparkling golden Pyrite. Amazing for any sized specimen, only this one measuring 3 meters along its length.

It could be described as approximating the attenuated shape of the human form. A perfectly rounded base, graduating to a slender pillar suggesting of legs, then a torso, and a perfectly round head. Three meters, and carved in its entirety with unique glyphs which have no correlates to any known forms of writing. 

Each inscribed glyph is inlaid flush to the stone with pure gold and surrounded by an inlaid gold rectangle. All of it perfectly smooth to the surface of the stone itself. 

At the very top of the head and the very bottom of the round base, 16 glyphs are arranged into circular pie wedges.

There is some conjecture the glyphs may represent the known range of human postures. Sort of a graphic statement of human physical motive potential. Perhaps. But, now, only for someone to decode the information.

The room — a sealed vault, really — which guards this immeasurably precious object is itself completely inaccessible. There's no passageway leading to a sealed entrance. Nothing. Not even a tiny portal(s) for viewing.

That chamber is measured symmetrical to surround the Lapis figure with 3 meters of clearance at the top, and at all four sides. If there were a chance to look inside and bring light into that eternally dark space, the walls are as smooth and reflective as mirrors, the dimensions of the room proportioned perfectly to view every part of that Lapis and gold monolith from any angle and position in the room.

Those walls, as are the ceiling above and floor beneath, lined entirely of the purest jade. Transparent as glass, deeply green and mirror smooth. In squares exactly 10 centimeters to the side, and 1 millimeter thick. Each set and backed with gold surrounds. All flush to a glass-like precision.

The rational mind must by now be asking … why? For what purpose? This particular room with its content presents an enigma even more inscrutable than the pyramid form in which it is encased.

One supposes the speculation and implications about this mystery and its meaning would be as varied as is human motivation. Archaeologists would salivate over the prospect of such a career making discovery. Museum curators or collectors of antiquities would be covetous. The more crass pecuniary types would see a once in a lifetime pay day. The vain, jewelry. The merely curious, a sight seeing side trip. The mystic — the True Mystic, anyway — might hear of it and turn back inward and not give it another thought. The artist, certainly a wealth of inspiration. The designer and engineer would smile in simple recognition of the central tenet of all sound construction: Balance in obvious observance of the dictates of the Law of Gravity.

The decision to seal that chamber must've taken into account such human factors. For the truly insightful, the fact that it is forever sealed in itself communicates everything. As they say, this is one bone buried deep so the dogs won't get at it.

Truth be told, and most amazing of all, that perfect figure stands balanced at only the precise center of its vertical axis. Stop and contemplate that. It stands, literally, on a dime! Moving, if at all, perhaps only in sub-microscopic variances in harmony with the movements of the Earth.

Nothing for support save the exquisite symmetrical and level proportions of its own composition. Even the density of the ground substance Lapis Lazuli must be homogeneous to ensure such perfect equipoise. To say nothing of the incalculable logarithmic calculus encoded into those glyphs; what with the thousands of them each uniquely different with each a different portion of gem substance excised, along with the corresponding, and also unique weights of the gold fills. One can only now imagine how such infinitesimal precision could only be possible in such a completely sealed environment; the least hint of air flow — maybe even a glimmer of light — would insult the ineffable grace and ease.

And, of course, the ponderous stability of the pyramid itself. Words fail. Stand next to it. And, know.

So here we have the secret to the pyramid itself? Or, a clue. Somewhere in its core, supposedly at its very center of its core, this minutely balanced figure … holding everything in place. So fragile a thing, really. Yet, perhaps also so strong. Powerful enough even, maybe to hold the Universe together.

So it goes.

Friday, April 10, 2015

What's the Bid Deal About Gravity

So what's the bid deal I've been making about Gravity?

Yes, we all know about it. Simply put, it's what makes things go to the floor when you drop them. We would even acknowledge it's true that it is so constant and ever present we are inured to it. It passes under the radar. It's a given. Sort of like how kids today take computers and smartphones as just a part of their everyday life. The world into which they are born. We are born into the field of gravity. We don't know anything other. 

Gravity ... unspoken of and unrecognized as such, we learn to crawl, to walk, to live within its presence. Under it's influence. Like I said, it's a given. Sort of like how the fish and other creatures of the sea would probably not pay too much attention to the water, if they could talk about it, ever.

Maybe though, some fish would be aware of water as such. Those that leap into the air from time to time. Surely they sense the change, that there's an alternative environment. We humans too. We've traveled far enough from earth enough now to know what it is like to live without the effects of Gravity. Heck, there's even a NASA project going on right now with a human in space for one full year. His twin is back on earth, and they will use his brother as control to measure differences after his return to Terra Firma. Isaac Newton. Who doesn't know that name. He deduced gravity when he got the insight from a falling apple. 

[That apple. Adam and Eve. New York City, the Big Apple. The apple of my mother's eye. An apple a day. What's that about apples?]

So, as you know, I am scientifically and professionally interested in balancing humans with gravity. Fostering a transformation from Gravity as purely a concept, to being aware of it as a percept. And, having an active and conscious relationship with that natural ecological ineluctable fact. Why? Hey, it's a living. Seriously though ... for health and performance and creativity. And REALLY BEING ALIVE!

We are all in gravity. That, everyone knows. But, it's debatable on the point concerning just how "with" gravity we really are. If you look at your neighbors — don't forget to include yourself — with an architect's eye for structural balance and integrity, you'll notice something quite obvious now that you've looked for it. Most of us live slipped away from the simple vertically stacked pattern which both the science of Physics and Anatomy indicate is an appropriate arrangement for living under the constant pull of the force of Gravity.

Dr. Ida P. Rolf originated my field called Structural Integration. She put it this way: "Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment.  Those over forty may call it old age.  And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity."

So the crux of it is not that what's been stated here is anything new. Not really. What's new is that something can be done about it.

What can be done? The human body is plastic. It takes the individual shape we see in ourselves and others over a period of time. Repeated movement patterns, a mix of good and bad habits. Throw in the occasional trauma, insult, and accident. We've learned copying adults around us who themselves may not have been adequate models. 

We all arrive at adulthood with a random mix of patterns, many off balance in terms of the simple level and square every architect and building trade worker takes into account as the rule for balance and sound structure. It happens so gradually we don't notice it as such. Dr. Rolf observed we naturally grow bigger and stronger as we mature. But, just how those parts come to work and fit together, that is to a very large degree learned. We may take it to be who we are. We become attached. "That's just the way I am." Do something? How dare you even suggest such a thing! There's nothing wrong with me! As if the mere fact that we stand on two legs and move about is enough proof that our relationship to Gravity is ... just fine, thank you! 

Structural Integration is something you learn. To those of us in the profession it's as basic as going to school and learning the 3-R's. Nobody questions the need to teach the children how to negotiate their world. Yet, when it comes to learning how to get their bodies into a healthy and correct arrangement, we leave that mostly to chance. We're all perfect, right? Perfectly, imperfect. 

Be that as it may, we mostly live well short of our easy and natural potential for simple architectural balance in the makeup of our bodies. Could it be that the war we wage is just an expression of something inner at conflict with itself? The merchants of war are not going to enlighten you on that point. War, Boy!, is good for business!

Bodily balance. Do you need it? You tell me. I'm just here to tell you that you can change. If and when you want. It does take some doing. Nothing all that difficult though. Just some doing. There's no need to be living putting up with a body out of balance. Which, more likely than not, translates to pain and stress. Not being as effective as you know you can be. 

Whether something should be done in any individual case, I leave that for you to decide. You can take the usual approach. Go on as you are and wait until something happens. A surgery to cut away the problem part. Pills are available. Just call your doctor, though, if — I kid you not, this is a disclaimer I recently heard — "your breasts start to produce milk." And that one about calling your doctor "if your erection lasts more than 4 hours." Heck, call all the girls you know first. Alright, in light of the current zeitgeist, the boys you know too. Whatever.

But let me say this on a related subject. About putting things off. You know about the environment. There are those saying that the time for doing something in certain areas was several years ago when the alarms first went out. It's a common assumption — hubris, really — that technology will fix anything in the future we encounter. That may be a good strategy for business if your profits come from the tech sector. But, there is such a thing as a Tipping Point: a time and situation where things are beyond the point of fixing. Just how many pieces of plastic in the waters of the earth will be too much? We wait to see. Need I get into subjects that have to do with the pollution of drinking water and the air? Or, the melting of the polar ice caps? A Native American spokesperson, Winona LaDuke Anishinaabe, recently said: "Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn't make you a terrorist."

Fortunately, the human organism itself has a great deal of restorative power. Not to suggest that there could come a time when things can't be corrected. But, the more time passes the harder it'll be down the road to make those necessary changes. It's never too late. But, do you want to experiment with your aliveness and health to wait and see? 

It's a fascinating part of my career to be involved in such a discussion. Of course, I am a convert. Just what it takes, if indeed there is anything that it could take, to awaken another to the same understanding, I don't know. You know you've been asleep only after you waken. 

I give it my best. But mostly, sleeping dogs will want to lie. Praying for a gentle awakening.