Bones spiral

Dancers, movement teachers, bodyworkers often mention the spirals that run through the body. The universe is full of spirals. The earth is full of spirals. The most obvious are seashells on which we can easily identify spirals.

The bones also move within a spiral-like action. Some bones are more spiraling than others. The collarbones, for example, spiral in opposite directions as the head turns. As you rotate your head in one direction, imagine the collarbones spiraling. Don't get specific with the direction of spiral. Just imagine you can feel them spiraling.

In exercise modalities, we have become heavily focused on the muscles. The job of the muscle, it seems to me, is to move bones at the joint. Without joints, we would have to ability to move. So the muscles create movement so that the bones are able to move. As the bones move, the should be free to spiral. The thigh bone, for example, spirals medially and laterally as we walk or as we squat or as we go to sit. When the muscles are over-engaged around the bone, they inhibit this natural, wonderful movement. The spiral is stifled and the joints either side of the bone are placed under pressure. The tibia spirals, as does the fibula. The bones of the feet spiral. The large pelvic bones also live within a spiraling movement. The arm bones all spiral. Even the shoulder blades live within the possibility of their spiral.

The proximal joints of the thighs and the arms are rotational joints. Rotation goes with spiraling. When we force the arm to perform a movement, engaging specific musculature close to the proximal joint, we distort the true movement of the bone. You can try for yourself. Have your arm hanging to your side. Then turn it so the palm faces outward. Turn from the shoulder and see if you can feel what happens to the bones - the upper arm bone, the shoulder blade and the lower arm bones. Return your palm so that it is facing your thigh. Now allow the hand to be the conductor of the movement. The palm spirals outward and the bones follow all the way up to the shoulder.

It is not necessarily that there is a wrong and right way of doing this, but when you experience it in your body, you might discover that your body delights in the freedom to choose which muscles to employ in the movement.

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