November Word of the Month: Support
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The word for November is SUPPORT, continuing the exploration of The Dailey Method Secondary Alignment Principles: Stability, Space, Support and Smile!
SUPPORT comes from within. Just like The Dailey Method practice, support is an inside-out practice. There is a tendency to think of support as something I give or as something I receive. While giving and receiving support is a beautiful thing, we’re not really capable of doing either fully until we learn the art of supporting ourselves. When we talk about support, we’re talking about STRENGTH. And self-support is where our power begins!
In the physical sense, support relates to the engagement of our muscles around our skeletal structure. Ideally first we stabilizethrough foundation and then create space on the inhalation so that we can exhale to support our ideal alignment by hugging muscle to bone and to the midline through muscle contraction. Our focus on engagement at TDM is to start with the deepest layers of support- pelvic floor, transverse abdominis- and then layer the muscular support outward from there. This is the truly physical inside-out support you can achieve from your Dailey Method practice.
Self-support translates not just to our bodies and the physical, but also to our lives! Oftentimes we find ourselves so focused on supporting others (children, partners, friends, co-workers, clients, etc.) that we have very little left for us. Oftentimes our best energy goes to others until we find ourselves feeling drained and depleted. Do you take care of everyone else’s needs, and put your own last?
Try to visualize how great it would feel to start each day feeling centered and calm, stable and spacious – knowing you are fully supported all the time, and that in every moment you have abundant energy and strength to tap. It’s so easy to be pulled and eventually drained by strong external energies (the people we love, the things we love, and the obligations we feel) so it is a life practice to keep coming back to our internal compass, creating and feeling support from within, from ourselves.
Here are some ways to practice real SUPPORT and create real STRENGTH in your life:
KEEP NOTICING – Hopefully you’ve been doing this for the last couple months. Keep doing it. Every time you arrive in your practice, take a few seconds to notice your body (sensations), your mind (thoughts), and your heart (emotions.) This month, take it another step and notice how you are also SUPPORTING YOURSELF.
CHECK STABILITY – It’s impossible to feel strong if we don’t feel stable. Make stability priority #1 for your deeper self-support practice. Practice in class beginning with foot and hand foundation and then add in your powerful breath, for space. Focus on using your deepest muscles first to hug inward, narrow and support your alignment prior to layering on your movements. Come back to this concept throughout your day. If you find yourself feeling anxious or freaking out about something, notice(!) what’s happening and give yourself a minute. Take a deep breath. Focus on the ground underneath you and try to center yourself from there. Make some space for yourself. You’re ok. You’re more than ok! Create more stability in your body and life, and you’ve established the foundation for great things. Give yourself ROOTS to RISE.
BREATHE – Breathe better by breathing mindfully. Use your inhale breath to expand your heart and lungs, and to create space and length from your heels through the crown of your head. Use your exhalebreath to hug muscles to bone and muscles to midline, providing muscular strength, support and added stability. Inhale… Exhale… feel your breath support you.
BALANCE SPACE AND SUPPORT – If you feel “tight” in your body, you probably need to focus on more space. If you are more naturally flexible (or looking to challenge your body) focus on support. In an ideal balanced practice, space and support work in the body harmoniously together. Your practice should balance ease and effort, just as in life.
FOCUS YOUR SUPPORT – Your TDM practice gives you a great opportunity to learn how to focus where and how you use energy. When we’re not thinking about it, we tend to spread our energy all over. Be intentional and specific about where and how you create support in your body. Make brain/body connections to focus on the areas of the body targeted in each section of class. In Arm Work, really focus on the muscles of the arms, shoulders and upper back. In Thigh Work focus on the quadriceps, working them in their most lengthened shape. In Seat Work focus on feeling how the muscles of the pelvic floor, abdominals and seat work together in opposition (or balanced action) to build strong gluteals, which in turn support a healthy spine! Listen to your teacher for support, ideas, and refined cues. And notice what your body needs each time you practice.
TAP YOUR SUPPORTS – Support is an inside-out practice, but know that you are also always surrounded by supports! Your breath, your foundation, your bones and your thoughts are all supports. When we are centered, connected and “in the flow” of our lives, the whole universe supports our path and well-being, and “supports” start to appear everywhere. Even sadness and setbacks (like a broken ankle!) can be supports disguised as challenges. In class: props, teachers and the students around you are supports and sources of shared energy and shared intention. Every time you inhale, visualize yourself breathing in your best energy. Feed that energy, nurture that energy, and know that energy is always there for you to tap when you need it.
SHARE YOUR SUPPORT – Once you’ve developed your inside-out practice of tapping and nurturing your own best energy, you may find you have a lot more of it to share. When you are able to come to situations and interact with people from a grounded, centered, positive place you create a shared space that IS supportive. And when you are mindful and intentional about how you are sharing your energy, you won’t feel so easily drained or depleted. And when you do get run down, you’ll know how to start at the beginning and practice self-support. Because it should always start within.
This month practice self-support. And notice the power of the supports within you – and around you – every day. We believe in you to the core!
With love and tons of support,
— Jill & Lorna