This is a greatly expanded version of an exercise that we gave as prerequisite homework for our recent classes. Learning how to fine tune your posture is key to creating posture awareness which is very important in tango and in life. This also ties in nicely with a request for an awareness challenge from a friend in Turkey. Our friend had observed that after a shoulder adjustment, his hips and sacrum would sometimes respond in an unhealthy way. While this is far more than an awareness challenge, it does provide more comprehensive posture exercises to help bring awareness to the possible interactions that may occur as we adjust different aspects of our posture.
This is also one of the primary exercises I did many times a day when I felt my job situation deteriorating last summer. A timer on my computer told me to stand once an hour and this exercise is the minimum of what I did then and every other time I stood up from my desk. Doing this exercise many times a day can do wonders to correct the bad posture caused by stress, sitting too long, or time spent hunched over a desk or computer. Even better, do this exercise combined with a few stretches or even some exercise. Maybe a few sun salutations, some Bulgarian squats, or some push ups. Try it– your body will feel better and so will your mind!
In the last few months we have given some rather intense workshops for beginners that included some prerequisite homework. Among them was a series of challenges to get our students into the proper frame of mind for the classes. Everyone came to class with an idea of what they were getting into, and a fresh view of themselves standing and walking through their days. This greatly facilitated the classes and allowed everyone the chance to really get a handle on this dance we love. This challenge is an expansion of the first challenge we gave as homework.
Walking is something we do every day without thinking. This challenge is about finding awareness as you walk and stand through out your day. Once you do, walking and standing may never be the same for you again.
To begin, we will start with a concentrated effort in finding awareness. You will want to revisit this concentrated exercise every so often. Over time, you will find your awareness of how you walk and stand invading your everyday movement, from standing up from your desk, to walking down the hall, to pushing a cart or standing in line at the grocery.
Since we have been behind in posting our challenges, here are two in one, both bringing our awareness to our feet. In tango, often we can get caught up in the placement of our feet, but forget to feel them, or even use them. Here are two exercises to help us be more in touch with this part of our body that carries enormous responsibility.
A less commonly considered spiral
Most of the time when we think of our spiral energy as it relates to tango, we consider the torsion that happens in our torso, as our hips and ribs twist in opposite directions. However, there are many other “spirals” that happen in our bodies, and we would like to draw attention to the spiral that happens in our legs as we take a step. Understanding how the leg articulates at the hip joint during our walk can also transform our dance.
Aligning our whole body, sinking into the ground through our standing leg
For those who come to TangoBreath, you have heard us often recall the image of Michelangelo’s David. We talk about sinking into the standing leg through the whole side body and dropping, or relaxing, the free hip. Much to our delight, when we were in Tuscon, Murat and Michelle Erdemsel showed a picture of David in one of their classes on alignments! They also shared a picture of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, which provides us a connection to the feminine form.