Free Your Body – Part I

Free your mind and the rest will follow. -En Vogue


These days I am thinking about freeing the pelvis. I keep coming at the topic from different perspectives. While swimming laps today, I was stimulated to think about it in yet another way.

To have an efficient swim stroke, it needs to be relaxed. In the crawl or free style, you let the body roll when you turn the neck and face to get air. You let the spine move side to side, like a fish, when you are stroking and kicking. For a swimming novice, this may seem counter-intuitive. You might think that if you hold the body in a straight line, and just turn the head and neck, it would be a more efficient way to swim. If you say “rigid” to your body, you will tend to move that way. And, if you swim that way, what you really might get is a stiff and sore neck.

When I let the body roll from the pelvis, I decrease the cranking on my neck. Today I discovered that if I pushed my face down — again very counter-intuitive — in the roll, it further integrated my ability to roll in a unit. First, I initiated the roll from my pelvis, which I cued silently to myself as “move the pubic bone.” Then, as I began the turn of my head, I pushed my head into the water. The buoyancy of the water itself facilitated the head turn rather than using my neck muscle to lift and turn the head. It felt great.

I was able to relax into the water, to let my weight drop further into it to allow the water’s buoyancy to, well, buoy me.

We can do the same thing in gravity. By pushing down into gravity through our feet, we can engage more directly with the ground reaction force, which travels in an equal and opposite direction from gravity. By pushing down through the feet and releasing the weight into gravity, we can more effortlessly stand taller. We discover buoyancy and ease in our everyday movements, like walking, standing and sitting. I will elaborate more on this topic in days to come.