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The Bodywork Perspective – page 1

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bodywork cd-r

What follows is both a description of Bodywork, and a resource regarding the language of the body. 


The following pages contain an overview of -- Bodywork and are meant as a self-help teaching tool.. You'll find ideas, concepts exercises and suggestions, so that you can experiment with Bodywork.


I’d suggest that you pair up with someone to experiment with this work. I’d also like to suggest that you use a still camera to see how you carry yourself. Have someone take a picture of you from the side, from the front and from the back.

In the picture, below, you will see, in the back and front pictures, the subject is tilted to the right from the waist up. This tilt causes her her left shoulder and hip to be "high". In the side picture, you'll notice that her mid to upper body is tipped forward. In actuality, this is caused by tipping her pelvis back.

The pictures make it clear that her body is quite out of alignment.

grid picture

You can compare each of your pictures to the photos and descriptions to follow.

Now, of course, none of this will be helpful unless you stand normally, as opposed to striking a pose. Just relax and be yourself. And if you’re working with a partner without the equipment, again, be natural. If you slouch, slouch.

Posture - from the side

The side posture tells us much about the person’s "stance in life." We'll first look at the "tilt," then the structure.

bodywork, leaning forward

Tilted forward

From the side, this posture looks as if the person is leaning forward. In order to do this, the knees have to be rigid. The weight is borne by the ankle joints, which are tipped forward. Were this person to walk into a wall, she would hit first with their forehead.

Try the posture. Stand. Then lean forward from the ankles, keeping the rest of the body fairly rigid. There’s no break at the waist here. Notice the strain on your legs, knees and ankles. And notice how your heels want to leave the ground.

This is an aggressive posture. This person lives life "full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes." They use their heads, a lot. They are used to battering their way, like a ram, through issues in their lives. It’s also a position of caution and vigilance. Typically, forward leaners have been hurt, and aren’t about to let this happen again.

Because of the strain on their lower bodies, they have little sense of groundedness or connectedness to ground, to feeling, to deep strength. Their strength is in their heads. Thus, if attacked from behind, they are candidates for falling flat on their faces, which they fear. Thus the guarded look.

Leaning Back

bodywork, tipped back

This posture looks "laid back."

r crumb keep on truckin

I often think of this posture in terms of the cartoon "Keep on Truckin’," (© R. Crumb) and the leaning back, again, is whole body leaning. It’s often most apparent when the person is walking.

Again, locked knees and pelvis are required for balance, such as it is. While "laid back" describes the posture, the implication here is, "all’s right with the world."

In truth, most laid back people, when the expression was created, were laid back by drugs. And they were laid back as an escape from the reality of the world.

Leaning back is a way to escape from the world. The funny part is, though, if you walk into a wall, you’ll hit with your crotch. No coincidence that many laid back folk think with their genitals.

It’s almost as if this crotch / leg contact with the world keeps the heart reserved, pulled back, safe. The chest and the head are a couple of minutes behind, and like it that way. To hug such a person is, again, to come in contact with their pelvis first—you have to lean into them to reach their heart. Which forces the hugger to also be the aggressor. This, then, is a passive / aggressive stance.

Pushed from the front, the person is a pushover. And again, because of the muscle tension necessary to maintain the position, the person lacks grounding and true feeling of their feelings. Their look is "blissed out" or tuned out.

Neutral Posture

neutral side

This is the posture we're looking for, as it's balanced. The ears are over the shoulders, and the shoulders are over the hip bones. The neck curve is maintained, as is a slight curve at the small of the back.

This posture is structurally integrated. There is no undue stress on any of the joints of the body, and the body appears both balanced and comfortable.


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