Monday, June 6, 2011

Choose Your Door

Following a great session of bodywork, I ran into a convenience store for more hydration. And there on the doors was the message of the day.



On a massage table, you can feel that it requires both a push and a pull to open tissue. In Pilates & Yoga work, we are constantly cueing our students to draw into center (pull or muscle energy) and extend or radiate out from center (push or organic extension). My senior Yoga teacher, Jenny Otto, told me a long time ago that everything in the body is either a push or a pull.

Not only in our bodies, but also in other structures - there's a balance of forces. This balance of opposing forces is why the world's tallest building - Burj Khalifa in Dubai can rise over 2,700 feet  and why the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge can span beyond 540,000 feet.

So, I'm thinking Push Pull is all about life.

When I met my husband nearly 20 years ago at a business meeting in D.C., we walked out of the building together. Being a gentleman, he allowed me to go through the doors first. He quickly remarked, "I see you pushed the door open." He then laughed and said, "I like to pull doors open."

That my friends is the story of our marriage:  the delicate balance of the person who pushes and the one who pulls.

The family joke is that when it's time to leave... my husband is in the car waiting for us. My kids have even received a phone call telling them to get out the door because he is driving down the street. He literally PULLS us out the door by sitting in the car.  

On the other hand, I PUSH my kids out the door. They have learned this lesson so well that they both are sitting in the car waiting for me when it's time to leave. I'm the last one out the door because I've pushed from behind.

In your life do you push more to get things done? Are you pushing forward? Leaning forward at the waist. Striving to get it done? Asking lots of questions? Constantly seeking?

Or do you pull more? Waiting for others to come toward you? Leaning back as you move forward. Do you listen more? Are you drawing energy off of other people?

What puts us in the middle in our bodies, our relationships, and the evolution of our life is the balanced action of both the push and the pull. So to find the balanced action you gotta figure out about you and know -- do you push more or do you pull more?

Observe as you go through doors that can go either way. What do you choose?

Another convenience store where I buy gas has doors that slide automatically on tracks to and from center to open and close. This fundamental imagery cue for connecting to Center was first taught to me by Vicki Sullivan. Imagine at your frontal hip bones 2 sliding doors. As you exhale, these doors slide to the center line of your body.

It's totally a Pull! And for a Pusher like me, it's what I need!  Pull to Center and draw in. But even a Pusher can get too good at Pulling to Center. So, my second thought is "tack the sides of your waist back to the mat." That is a Push or expansion from Center.

If you are a mind/body teacher or serious student and have not read Mabel Todd's work (1880 - 1956), take advantage of the recent re-publishing of her first book, The Thinking Body. You will recognize many current ideas that folks are making millions from -- ideas that originated with Mabel. While she wrote the book in the 1920's, her writing is clear, concise and current. When you read her words, you will feel like she's sitting next to you today simply explaining how the body works.  Over the past few months, I've recommended the book to many teaching colleagues and all have been blown away!

Mabel's work will give you a better appreciation of the balancing forces of Push Pull in the body. There are lots of ways to learn more about you, your body, how it works, and how to create balanced action. This is just one option.

So, pick your door. How do you prefer to enter a space? Now, learn another way.