Monday, July 23, 2012

more thoughts about disorientation

I guess I have always liked moments of disorientation..not drunken where am I moments, but anything that makes me think twice about which way is up. We spend our whole lives oriented to gravity, so that when something overrides it, it is a pretty memorable event.

The E, F/ V station at 51st and 5th ave has a very long escalator with a diagonal ceiling that will challenge your sense of which way is up. I used to enjoy the feeling that up was at 45 degrees to where it normally is when I rode this escalator.

I have never been to the santa cruz mystery spot..but it is another good example of this phenomena.

When I was little, I used to love spinning spinning spinning in one direction, and then suddenly going the opposite way (or just stopping) and feeling the room seem to spin around me. As an adult, however, that feeling somehow doesn't feel so fun anymore, as I remember from a recent dance class.

I remember the first time I did a headstand by myself. It was at home, maybe 5 years ago, and I watched a video on it, and said to myself: I can do that..and tried it. I was up at the wall for maybe 5 seconds, and it totally blew my mind. It was hard to believe that being totally upside down would have such a startling and disorienting effect on my perception. I was transfixed for that brief moment. After all, I could bend down and look through my my head would be upside down, yet this did not have the same effect. My nervous system simply couldn't understand the paradox of how I was essentially "standing", but upside down. Subsequent attempts at headstand never had that effect on me. My body now understood what that new orientation meant.

With the feldenkrais method, it is those moments of disorientation where you actually learn, That is the nervous system, or the brain, learns. These moments reveal our missing pieces in our self image. We just don't normally have too many of these experiences after childhood, because our families, friends and society become more important than what we actually sense and feel in our bodies. I had a one on one session today, as part of my training, and at the end had the wonderful and intense feeling of my feet feeling heavy, grounded, really fixed to the floor with the weight balanced across them, while the rest of my body felt so much lighter than it normally does. I hope I can carry some of that feeling onto the mat tomorrow.

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