Dead Ribs

My pelvis has been my focus for the better part of a decade.   Plagued by low back pain and steely hamstrings, I discovered that I was stuck in anterior tilt.  Learning to posterior tilt both felt and functioned like a god send.  My dormant lower abs engaged, my back pain dissipated, and my hamstrings finally relaxed.  Key in hand, I practiced it in all kinds of positions- hanging, sitting, lying face down… it became my litmus test of whether or not I could own an action or arrangement.  I was not aware that it also disconnected me from my ribs, relegating them to a useless, floating buoy.

My lower canister was my middle and not my lower canister.  It was the point at which I could control my trunk, top, and bottom.  My hips, the source of my power, marionettes me from my center.  Existing with a flexed tailbone flexed my entire posture.  My ribs could not move independent of my pelvis.

Sitting with flexed hips, I struggled to keep my chest open and extended as I pressed my weight against the floor:

In the second clip, I opt for maintaining fludity throughout the press and hip adjustment.  Much more successful.


My neck, jaw, and pelvis created the tension that manipulated my inert in-between:


My error was in trying to open the body from the back through shortening, versus opening and lengthening from the front.



I looped back around to examining extension-based pressing, this time through a horizontal lens.  There were many more options for movement when I pushed into the ground with an open frame and included my ribs in the process.  They could act as a stable driver that the pelvis pivoted around:


At a Rolfing workshop I was exposed to how speed can dictate neural drivers, and how awkward it was to laterally bend the spine from side to side:


Lateral movements were something I rarely did, so they offered a beginner’s sense of novelty and intrigue.  Shifting the hips left and right with and without movement of the ribs helped me find lines of tension that were aggravating a right side SI pinch:


Having motion flow through the ribs rather than around them helped me realize certain sticking points, and that I can direct tensional traffic away from the main intersection of the hips:


Once I could move both the pelvis and the ribs independently, I focused on centering movement in that sweet spot between the pelvis and the ribs, manipulating the limbs through that shortest of chains:


Where you place your attention is where you will find the most progress.  Focus, intention, and consistency yield results.  But when you are working within a system, efficient and effective shifts in one direction can cause an unravelling in another.  The ability to see it all simultaneously requires a maddening sense of details and layering, a skill that honors the big picture alongside a fractional contrast in pixels.  Balancing subjective interest with objective measures is the art of revealing principles within the playthings.

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