WILLETT WORDS OF WISDOM
THERE IS NO NEUTRAL IN THE BODY
Many Pilates teachers will use the words “neutral position” referring to what they consider a natural position of the spine and pelvis, suggesting a rest-type state of the body. Ron Fletcher did not agree at all with this cue. He said that when you put a car in neutral, it does nothing!
Being immersed in the world of fascia, I know more than ever that there truly is no neutral in the body. Ron Fletcher was correct. Right at this very moment, cells are dying and new ones are coming into being, blood flowing, lymphatic fluid circulating, neurons firing, hormones releasing, interstitial fluid meandering, intestinal villa gently waving, the body swaying through breath, and on and on. There is no complete stillness of the body.
We are considered the most domesticated species; and as a result, have become more and more immobile – sitting for hours on end (held hostage in cubicles, classrooms, and cars), holding tension in our bodies, holding our breath through stress or emotional unhealth, relying on periodic “exercise” rather than moving more on a daily basis… Our chronic immobility is an unnatural lifestyle for a body that is meant to be in constant motion. We are bracing ourselves against the natural movement of life.
Our stillness may explain a lot of our health problems. It is through the movement of breath alone that our body gets the oxygen it needs to feed our 70 trillion+ cells. It is through the movement of breath that our organs - heart, lungs, liver, stomach, intestines - get massaged and stimulated to do their thing. It is through sustainable movement that our body stays healthy – encouraging new cells and discarding the old, moving the waste through, relaxing our tense holding patterns, dialing down the stress, simulating the fibroblasts to lay down new fabric... And right there connecting the whole body together - the system of all systems - is the fascia.
As I prepare for my live cadaver study, I am watching beautiful videos of cadaver dissection. We have dissected muscles, organs, and bones which lay on the table as individual parts. Though when we dissected the superficial fascia (just under the skin layer), we have one beautiful continuous piece of fabric. It is an organ of our form. It looks like the person whose body we have dissected. When it is in all its glory and fully operating in a live body, it is integrating all our bodily functions. That is why it is so important to maintain healthy fascia, to maintain ongoing sustainable movement, to keep our stress levels in check, to breathe fully, to wiggle often. The wiggle takes our bodies in new directions; and, it is through the wiggle that we become aware and awake to where we might be holding in our body.
Gil Hedley, with whom I am doing the cadaver study posted a video on u-tube back in 2005 – speaking to what he calls Fascia Fuzz. It caught my attention and made me realize that when we wake up a little stiff in the morning, there is a good reason for it. Furthermore, imagine going to bed with a lot of built-up stress in the body that will create even more morning stiffness (holding stress and stiffness building upon more stillness), not to mention what it’s doing to the whole-body functions. Even though his views expressed in the original video have changed a little with the integration of more research and information, the gist is the same. When you have a few moments, do an internet search of “Gil Hedley Fascia Fuzz” to access some of his videos.
In the meantime, take a moment right now to take 3 deep breaths, inhaling to the count of 4 and exhaling to the count of 8. Then stand up and wiggle your body in directions you have not taken it today. Tune in to your body. What do you notice? What does it need?
©AnneLloydWillett August 2019