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Adaptation and Keeping The Container Safe

As therapists, our clients come to see us to help them with issues they are experiencing. They often have a clear idea of what they believe is going on. However, we know that the symptoms they are experiencing are often not the root of the issue. Our client’s symptoms do, however, provide us with the necessary clues to arrive at the source of their experience. As therapists, we know maladaptive compensation has a primary causation with secondary supporting players. Often, the symptoms of the secondary compensations lead us astray from addressing the primary causation.

We are familiar with the peeling of the onion analogy. When we are “peeling away the layers” what we are doing is removing secondary compensation from the nervous system’s coping strategy. We are creating a void in the container that could then be filled by unknown element. For example, it is becoming more acknowledged that athletes will perform poorly if their event is after a deep tissue style massage. The reason for this is the global secondary compensations have been removed and as a safety valve, the nervous system puts the brakes on. And if that athlete pushes through that safety valve, strain or injury is the result. Many of us have experienced our clients getting worse after a treatment. The reason why is we removed a secondary compensation without addressing the primary. This left a void in the container and the nervous system filled that void with something, an unknown element.

Let’s unpack this further.

One of our greatest survival attributes is adaptation. Adaptation allows our species to learn from and cope with a changing environment. Without this capacity, human beings would not survive.

There is a universal truth that defines adaptation:

The organism will adapt to its environment regardless of the outcome.

This has far reaching implications on how we adapt to our environment. When we consider short term verses long term adaptation strategy, short-term adaptation may be beneficial. However, as a long-term strategy, the short-term adaptation may not be sustainable and will eventually lead to reduction of optimal function.

The spectrum of adaptation can be further reduced with a second universal truth:

Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand.

The SAID Principle governs how specifically we adapt to a changing environment. As a survival strategy, it is how we learn to reproduce results with greater efficiency.

When we combine these two universal truths, we can see how our environment, both external and internal, both conscious and unconscious, is influencing our response. We are in a continual process of utilizing coping strategies to respond to our environment. Our coping strategies are learned through the process of adaptation. How we learn from our environment is directly correlated to how we cope with that environment.

When we employ a particular coping strategy, we are reinforcing that strategy. Each time we then use that particular strategy it becomes easier to reproduce. The effect of employing that strategy has three potential outcome categories.

Beneficial:

When an adaptation strategy is beneficial the organism thrives.

Neutral:

When an adaptation strategy is neutral there is no change in the organism.

Maladaptive:

When an adaptation strategy is maladaptive the changes in the organism are unsustainable.

Because these qualities of adaptation are universal, they can be applied to the whole spectrum of our human experience. This includes the triad of Applied Kinesiology; psychology, physiology, and structure.

There is one more universal truth that we need to unpack: keeping the container safe.

The container refers to the collective adaptations and coping strategies that we have utilized in the past. Each one has its own unique signature. Some may be conscious, while others are unconscious.

Keeping the container safe:

Displacing an element with a beneficial strategy keeps the container safe

 In the therapeutic process this is of the utmost importance. As a therapist, we cannot simply remove an element from the container, as this leaves a void in the container. That void is then going to be filled with an unknown element. When we are working with a maladaptive strategy, and we remove that maladaptive strategy, what is going to replace that strategy is also going to be maladaptive. To keep the container safe, one must displace a maladaptive strategy with a beneficial strategy. Or at the very least, a strategy that is more beneficial than the maladaptive.  This can be applied to our whole spectrum of human experience.

Let’s look at how this would apply to manual therapy. We have heard the analogy of peeling the onion of compensation. This peeling of the onion analogy illustrates that in the adaptation process, there is a root causation with multiple layers on top of or covering up the root causation. Let’s explore this through the lens of adaptation.

When we have learned a maladaptive compensation, the nervous system has a need to make that compensation easier to reproduce. As the needs of the environment increase through frequency, intensity, and/or duration, that learned coping strategy will be challenged. When the nervous system perceives that the present strategy is insufficient to respond to the environment, the nervous system will look for a supporting compensation for the original perceived need. If the environment demands a continual response, another supporting compensation will be added to the equation. As the layers increase, the nervous system does not discern between the need to respond and whether that response is sustainable. This comes back to the first universal truth of adaptation: the organism will adapt to its environment regardless of the outcome.

Said another way, we designate the response to the original causation as the primary compensation. All the other subsequent compensations are secondary. These secondary compensations are put in place by the nervous system to support the primary. As environmental demands increase, so does the need for secondary compensation.

The unknown element that the nervous system chooses to replace a secondary compensation brings up the next concern. The nervous system has a whole palette of systems it can tap into and utilize to support or boost a primary compensation. Compensation is not simply limited to musculoskeletal elements. Compensation occurs in any system within the triad of the emotional, physiological and structural.

When we remove secondary compensation without addressing the primary, we are doing our clients a disservice, as we are not keeping the container safe.

There is a solution for maintaining a safe container. In Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment™ we share a specific protocol called Mapping. The mapping process identifies and correlates the involved players – primary and secondary – in a compensation.

Only when the global picture of our client’s presentation is understood, can the primary causation be addressed. Don’t simply treat the symptoms, investigate deeper to discern the primary causation.

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Integrating Somatics on Retreat

If you’ve never gone on a silent solo meditation retreat, you might wonder why anyone would do this.  There are many good reasons, but for the purpose of this blog, self-exploration is the focus.  For me, this means exploring the somatics of the body in relationship to contemplation and my mind.

I am just back from a nearly two-week solo meditation retreat at Cochise Stronghold Retreat. Cochise Stronghold is in the Chiricahua Mountains Range in southeastern Arizona. This area is rich with history. The Chiricahua Mountains are rugged granite crags above the Sonora desert. Filled with cactus, stinging insects and reptiles, and plants wearing heavy-armor, rugged is an understatement. This range was home to the Chiricahua Apache Native Americans.

This particular section of the Dragoon Mountains is where Chief Cochise held off the US Calvary during the mid-1800’s.  The famous Geronimo was the right arm of Chief Cochise. Geronimo, a notoriously tough warrior, learned his landscape navigational skills amid the granite crags of Cochise Stronghold. During my daily hikes I would go off trail and imagine the kinds of rites of passage the Apache warriors might have engaged in that developed their skills to survive in this unforgiving magnificent land.

This section of the Sonoran desert is particularly wonderful for a meditation retreat. Cochise Stronghold Retreat is located on a canyon floor. The rugged skyline of granite peaks cap the spectacular view, contrasting against the deep blue sky. This area is famous for a rugged style of rock climbing that has roots in traditional ethics – meaning bold, ground up style of climbing that is rich with adventure and exposure.

I also like my retreats in bold style. This retreat I focused on somatics by immersing myself in kinesthetic and sensory awareness. The days were filled with a rich sensory environment. The mental heavy lifting was in the evening.

My retreat schedule had a “retreat-light” kind of regimen – opting for plenty of rest and relaxation — though the immersion was anything but light. My morning practices were indoors in the silence of my own mind. The afternoons I went outside for long hikes, easy bouldering, and some shop work as my seva (service) project.

Through the lens of somatics, I supercharged the classic four positions of meditation: seated, standing, walking, and lying-down.

I started with movement preliminaries. These transitioned into the dedication of practice. Then I would engage in an extensive walking practice. The nervous system was now ready for a reset in a lying practice. This was then followed with a seated practice – capped by dedicating the merit of the practice to all beings, as well as some friends and family who could use a little extra blessing. Each aspect of this sequence is interdependent with that which came before and the practices are complementary. The summation of the integrated whole is greater than the practice of each individual component.

The following is a summary of each of the aspects of this mindful movement practice:

Preliminaries:

The preliminaries prime the nervous system for that which follows. The preliminaries start with waking up the kinesthetic awareness in the feet. Then movement work progresses to full body.

Here is the list of progressions:

  • loading the calcaneus in inversion and eversion
  • lateral blade loading to activate the cuboid spring
  • loading the ball of foot to activate the navicular spring
  • making a circle from calcaneus through the forefoot
  • ball and foot squat with toes together, knees swing side to side to activate the cuneiform spring
  • Toe activation- lift, spread, ground, squeeze, and release to activate the intrinsic metatarsals
  • Talus activations- hip rotations, knee rotations, lateral blade tibia lever
  • split stance supination fibula rotations
  • split stance pronation/supination with forward and reverse engineering

Standing transitions to ball and foot squat. Each of the five positions of the feet follow the same sequence.

Five Foot Positions:

  • tip of big toes touching/heels slightly apart
  • heels together/toes apart
  • feet neutral/hip width
  • feet pigeon/hip width
  • wide feet/feet turned out

Movement Sequence:

  • standing in awareness
  • alternating heel lift/activate toes
  • mid foot quarter squat/spine upright and vertical
  • ball and foot squat

Dedication:

The following sequence is a salutation dedicated to all that is good in this world.

  • mountain prayer
  • reach arms to the heavens
  • mind
  • speech
  • heart
  • slow squat
  • standing on knees
  • reach heart to heavens
  • surrender
  • puppy
  • sphinx
  • cradled by the earth
  • press to cat
  • cow
  • child’s
  • bull frog
  • chair
  • mountain prayer

Walking:

Walking meditation has been traditionally a keystone to a mindful meditation practice. During my retreats, I add some somatic wisdom to this time-tested practice. Modern understanding of biomechanics informs the potential of each of the 18 positions of a 9-phase gait.

The gait chart has 18 positions which I call basic form. There are several other variations we can use to sophisticate the basic form. Reverse engineering, this is a reversed walking gait. 45/45, this adds the element of hip spirals into the walking gait. Warrior, this is a classic posture of extending the spine and lifting the heart. Side Crescent, this is a wonderful side bend to reach deeply into the core. And lastly, single leg stance torso rotation, this is a phenomenal developer of rotational stability. All these variations develop capacity in the thoracodorsal fascia, the major fascial sheet that all the muscles of the core attach into or act on.

Lying-Down:

Neurologically, the engagement of walking meditation, as I have presented, is very taxing to the nervous system. This phase of the practice is restorative. We are recovering from the arduous focus of the 18-point walking gait (found in the DNA™ Manual). There are four positions I cycle between during retreat: 90/90 supportive breathing, supported cobbler pose, legs up the wall, and corpse pose.

Seated:

The previous practices have primed the mind/body/spirit for optimal seated meditation. I now take a comfortable seat, feel my sitz bones press into the cushion, maintain a long upright spine, observe the breath, etc. These are a few of the common cues given when engaged in seated meditation. Depending on the style of meditation, the focal point of the mind is as important as sensory of the body. The two are essentially inseparable. Shamatha meditation means to peacefully abide and to be content with what is.  This is precious because then we can fully experience the present moment.

Merit:

Dedication of merit is the cap on the practice. Here I give thanks to my teachers for it is their shoulders I stand upon. It is their practices from which I have learned. It is all the Angels,  Buddhas, Bodhisattvas that have come before me that provide the template to have a practice. I dedicate the merit to all people everywhere that they may be free from all suffering and the root causes of suffering.

My afternoons were spacious to go hiking and explore the beautiful rock formations of the Stronghold. When I returned to the retreat center I would spend time hand-fininishing a beautiful mesquite pedestal for the Buddha that resides in the meditation yurt.

The evenings were when the heavy lifting occurred. My dreams where rich with past experiences. I would awaken from the dream state feeling conflicted with suffering. Each night a different cast member in the movie would show up for healing.  I found there is always more work to do and that even in dreams, it is a process.

Retreats often present themselves with timely challenges. The aspects of what needs to be worked on shows up. The way it shows up is through the interaction of mind, body, and spirit. Somatic practices build a bridge between sensory and that which is sensing.

I encourage you to make a mini vacation for yourself. Unplug from the frenetic activities of the world and fully immerse yourself into the contemplative aspect of deeply feeling you. Your investment in you is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

If you would like to learn more about going on retreat or adding meditation and mindfulness to your practices, please reach out to me at: joseph@movementmantra.com.

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DNA Demystified

Dynamic Neuromuscular AssessmentTM seminars take the skills you already possess and puts them into a context that will make those skills more effective.

When you employ what Joseph calls The Five Essential Skills with the corrective strategies you already use, the results of your work will have a quantum effect with your clients.

Essential Skill #1 – Hybrid Movement Assessment:

  • Learn to seamlessly transition between direct muscle testing strategies and indirect muscle testing – Manual Muscle Testing redefined
  • We will change the paradigm of testing muscles by assessing the response to movement. Can the nervous system and structure appropriately respond to the movement environment?

The Intrinsic Kinetic Chain has many players that cannot be evaluated with direct muscle testing strategies. Hybrid Movement Assessment strategies are essential for evaluating the players in respiration – a key element in assessing clients.

Essential Skill #2 – Completing the Feed-back Loop:

  • Afferent sensory neurons relay information about how movement is responding to the movement environment: this is feed-back motor control
  • Efferent motor neurons are the motor instructions to the periphery: this is feed-forward motor control
  • Using both feed-back and feed-forward movement completes the proprioceptive feed-back loop

Compensation is learned through the feed-back loop. Adaptation is need and response, two sides of the movement equation. Motor learning requires the integration of both feed-back and feed-forward communication to and from the brain.  Feed-forward motor instructions allow the motor control center of the brain to capitalize on compensation patterns. DNA’s movement assessment strategies uncover hidden compensation.

Essential Skill #3 – The Functional Compass:

  • The functional compass provides a map for movement potential
  • Movement happens through non-linear spirals
  • Joints act in compression and distraction
  • Joint assessment using the functional compass evaluates the spectrum of movement potential

Shock Absorption of the Deep Longitudinal Kinetic Chain is interdependent with the ability of the joint capsule to translate compression to distraction over its range of motion. When the joint loses its ability to respond appropriately, compensation will show up as a symptom in ligaments, tendons, muscle and fascia.  DNA’s joint by joint assessment strategies give laser focus attention on the root cause rather than the symptom.

Essential Skill #4 – Functional Dysfunctional Movement:

  • This is analogous to non-painful dysfunctional movement
  • Movement functions can appear to be available with direct testing strategies
  • Hybrid Movement Assessment uncovers hidden layers of compensation

Movement functions can appear to be available with direct testing strategies. Challenging those movements with Hybrid Movement Assessment will uncover hidden layers of compensation: “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

Often, our clients are reinforcing compensation through their daily movement. DNA’s assessment strategies identify these patterns so they may be appropriately addressed.

Essential Skill #5 – Eccentric Movement Assessment:

  • Direct Concentric muscle testing is a mere snapshot of movement
  • Eccentric Movement Assessment challenges movement over a range rather than a snapshot
  • Eccentric Movement Assessment incorporates the SAID principle into assessment strategies

The rules of the SAID principle states that adaptation is specific to demand. If the motor program is not cued into the corrective strategy, it may not respond to the correction. Eccentric Movement Assessment cues the motor control center to a larger context of information. This brings up compensatory patterns that would not be revealed in standard concentric testing strategies.

DNA’s assessment strategies are unique as they incorporate both sides of the movement equation.  Concentric activation must be balanced with Eccentric stabilization. This skill set can be explored through the core subsystems of The 5 Primary Kinetic Chains.

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Guest Podcast on The Movement Man

Listen to Founder Joseph Schwartz drop some wisdom as a guest on – The Movement Man – Stephen Braybrook’s Podcast “Movement Philosophy.”  Listen here.

“In this episode I talk with Joseph Schwartz, the founder of Movement Mantra and the developer of The 5 Primary Kinetic Chains to find out how these chains influence movement and relate to emotions.”

Braybrook is a movement expert, author of The Evolution of Biomechanics, and creator of Brain-Move.

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Limbic Resonance

The limbic system is the master regulatory system of the body. Information is gathered from both the outer environment and the inner environment. That information, or inputs, are then collated and prioritized so that the process of homeostasis occurs on structural, physiological, and emotional levels.

The sensory apparatus of the body is under a constant input from the outer and inner environment. We are familiar with the five traditional senses: sight, sound, smell, taste,and touch. There are also an array of non-traditional senses. Our kinesthetic sense is one of these. Our balance sense, relationship to gravity, and proprioception are components of our kinesthetic sense.

There is an array of sensory inputs to which we are registering and responding. They can be categorized as tangible and non-tangible. The tangible senses would be our response to the five traditional senses and the kinesthetic senses. What about electromagnetic fields, barometric pressure, spectrums of light, wave lengths of sound, or cosmic energy? These are measurable influences even if we cannot consciously quantify them in our experience. Our subconscious mind is sure to have the capacity to respond to these inputs. Many people are sensitive to these influences. I get headaches when I travel next to big overhead wires and I can sense the weather changing in my joints a week before the event occurs.  When I wear special colored glasses my brain function integration improves, and so forth. These are just a few examples of tangible sensory inputs. There is a vast array of non-tangible as well.

If we look at the image of the iceberg, about 25% is above water and 75% is below. The 25% is the tangible realm, that which we can quantifiably create context. The other 75% is where it gets really interesting. This is the mystery. This is the realm to which some people have access. This information is often regarded as psychic senses or the paranormal; for most of us, it is our intuition. These inputs are unknowingly affecting us 24/7.

It is in the non-tangible that limbic resonance resides. Empathy comes to mind as I think of a non-tangible. There is a connection to the earth, the plant and mineral kingdom, another living being, a fellow human being, and so forth. Resonance is vibration. The harmonics are able to mesh and respond to each other. How many times have we heard “I had chemistry with that person.” This is limbic resonance.

In the therapeutic context, it’s a matching of vibration. The intention of the practitioner is clear, connected, and confident while remaining neutral, receptive, and present. It is a wonderful example of mindfulness. When we have limbic resonance with our clients, vistas of new possibilities can present themselves. We are out of the technical application of our craft and engaged in the inquisitive creative side of our consciousness.  This does not take away from technical capacity.  Limbic resonance is complementary.

 

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Limbic vs Cognitive ~ A Conversation

Today I’m sharing a recent conversation between a colleague and I regarding limbic versus cognitive behavior that I hope brings you some food for thought:

Some people find the holidays a stressful time of the year. Stress correlates to an up-regulated sympathetic nervous system. We often hear “take a deep breath” as an easy way to regulate.

Let’s reframe this slightly. To take a deep breath requires being in action. With an up-regulated sympathetic nervous system, we are already doing too much. Instead, let’s be the observer.

Imagine that that the breath is like a glass of water. When you fill a glass with water, the water fills from the bottom to the top. Conversely, when you empty the glass, the water empties from the top to the bottom. As you observe your breath, feel the inhalation expanding the belly, the lower ribs, then the upper ribs and clavicle. And as the exhalation happens, watch the breath descend in the reverse order.

Being the observer allows you to tune into the sensation rather than focus on accomplishing something. This subtle reframe has a profound effect on your experience in that moment. We can’t think our way out of a sympathetic nervous system response, however we can feel our way through as we navigate sensations.

Amy Maynard Buckles: “Being the observer allows you to tune into the sensation rather than focus on accomplishing something.” Love that!  Why can’t we think our way out of a sympathetic nervous system response?

 There is a long version and a short version to that question.

The short version is related to the mechanism of information gathered by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The limbic inputs, the sensory apparatus of the body, the five-traditional and the non-traditional senses communicate with the ANS. That information is collated and prioritized based on past experiences: our associations and hard-wired reflexives. The most relevant way that we can affect our ANS is through the sensory input of the limbic channels. This points to why breath work, aromatherapy, and the five tastes are such powerful tools that we can utilize to make change in the response to our environment.

Personally, I am most interested in the non-traditional senses. The information we take in from our environment, such as electromagnetic fields, barometric pressure, bioelectric energy, and so forth. There are unknown realms of information that we are experiencing and collating at an unconscious level. This spectrum of perception I find fascinating.

The tip of the iceberg analogy also works well here. Twenty-five percent of information is perceived consciously, while 75% of information largely goes unperceived by our consciousness. That is huge.

Buckles: Great explanation and info to share! I am curious as to your thoughts on how much of our conscious thoughts, with practice, could change the ANS response. Like in a panic attack for example.  I understand that while focusing on breath, we are out of our heads and more into our body awareness. Which, would activate the PNS. To me, that’s not thinking. However, if we gain information about our environment, our safety, and other sources of input and responses…then we can consciously choose to think differently. Hopefully not only to prevent ANS distress, but also reverse or stop it.

 “consciously choose to think differently”

That is a key to cognitive thought process.

Here is the big challenge to overcome:  thought is chemistry. The Law of Adaptation says that the body adapts to its environment regardless of outcome.

Emotions are a specific cocktail of chemistry. We get better, more efficient at making the “cocktails” of our predisposition. Those chemicals require receptor sites to plug into. Over time we end up making more of that unique composition of chemistry to fill the receptor sites. Through adaptation, we become addicted to thought. Overcoming that requires conscious effort.

If our predisposition is to respond to a situation in a familiar way, reproducing those feelings becomes easier each time we have them. You can see this in people that have “knee jerk reactions” — these folks are quick to produce the chemical signature they are familiar with.

Some people have the disposition to do that kind of work on a cognitive level; change your thoughts and change your behavior.  Others need stimulus from the other part of the brain, the limbic center. These are the people that do better at maintaining attention on sensation.

There is a loop in the brain and how we process our environment:

Limbic—>Association—>Cognitive

Sensory—>past or projection of future—>Ego or survival

Our ability to interpret the information of our sensory apparatus, and reframe from a place of being hijacked by associations that are interpreted by the ego, define our ability to cope.

 

 

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The Functional Compass

The Functional Compass logo represents the potential of joint movement, articulation, and integration.

The directions of the compass, cardinal and ordinal, are movements that happen across sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes.

Next we have movements that rotate around a plane. These movements have a fulcrum or a midpoint in which the body’s orientation defines the movement. In aeronautics, the terms pitch, roll, and yaw neatly describe movement around a plane.

Pitch is related to the sagittal plane. Forward bends, back bends, and shoulder bridges are examples of the body having a fulcrum allowing movement around the sagittal plane.

Roll is related to the frontal, or coronal plane. Lateral flexion of the neck or side bending are examples of roll. Gate Pose in yoga asana is a favorite posture that uses roll as a means of getting deep into lumbar lateral flexion.

Yaw is related to the transverse plane. The rotary action of turning the head side to side and twists are good examples of yaw. The rotary action of the thoracolumbar fascia is a key component to the walking gait. Without the action of storing and releasing elastic energy through the thoracolumbar fascia, the musculature would be overworked.

When we move, the body doesn’t isolate a muscle or a specific plane of motion. The body integrates across multiple fascial structures, bones, joints and muscles. These integrations create spirals in the body as we move through and around multiple planes at once.

When I look at movement, I ask myself several questions. What do I notice is happening in the body? Who is engaged and is overworked? Who is not engaged and is underworked? Then through investigation, I discern what the structure needs to reengage the players that are disengaged. The Functional Compass provides a road map for that process.

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The Master Template

The 5 Primary Kinetic Chains are the master template for not only the walking gait as I’ve explored in my anatomy art, but for all locomotion and movement. Different movements have different relationships to gravity and the environment, and they use different muscular activations. (These activations are referred as kinetic chains, force transmission systems and sling systems.)
For example, swimming doesn’t have ground engagement like the strike phase of the gait. Instead, the spear phase (reaching through the water) is analogous to the deep longitudinal system. The kinetic sequence runs from the hand and through the anterior body to the opposite leg. The arm lines are doing the work in swimming that the leg lines are doing in walking.
Let’s dissect The 5 Primary Kinetic Chains as movement concepts:
1) Intrinsic:
The intrinsic system is the nervous system’s relationship to breathing. Our breathing apparatus, the mechanism of pressurization systems, has a direct effect on the autonomic nervous system. “You can’t own your movement until you own your breath.” This is about our breath mastery in relationship to our movement.
2) Deep Longitudinal:
The deep longitudinal system is about shock absorption. Shock absorption is the ability for kinetic energy to wave through the body joint by joint. If the wave is unable to move freely through the fascial system, that energy has to be absorbed in some way (such as a compensation). Imagine ocean waves breaking on the beach. The forces flow rhythmically absorbed by the sand. Now put a rocky buttress in front of the same wave and there is a tumultuous energy exchange of the crashing into the buttress.
3) Lateral:
The lateral system is the midline stability of the structure. The axis of the spine (axial skeleton) needs dynamic stability so that the appendicular skeleton has a platform by which to generate energy. Without the stability of the axis, the arms and legs will be impaired to generate power or work production.
4) Posterior Spiral:
The posterior spiral is the generation of stored elastic energy. The fascial matrix is a potential energy system. Efficient movement uses muscular activation to act on the fascial system. The fascial system spreads the load over as much area as possible which increases efficiency. As the energy winds up in the tissues, the potential release of that energy assists work production in the complementary movement.
5) Anterior Spiral:
The anterior spiral is the release of elastic energy into the complementary movement. Elastic energy can be released in different ways across the structure. When you are watching graceful athletes moving in profound ways, you are seeing elastic energy being stored and released in an efficient way. The energy is spread across the entire fascial fabric and the result is seemingly effortless movement.
These concepts are always present in integrated movement:
Breath~Shock Absorption~Axial Stability~Stored Elastic Energy~Translation of Elastic Energy
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Adaptation Creates Compensation

All movement leads to adaptation creating compensation.

The law of adaptation: The organism adapts to its environment regardless of outcome. The nervous system does not differentiate whether an adaptation is beneficial or not.

I have seen several clients over the years, seasoned yoga practitioners, that had a similar root problem with different outcomes. The problem was a recruitment pattern with the toes. The instruction to “floint” the foot is to flex the toes while pointing the forefoot. This is also known as “Barbie Feet.”

Compensation in the toes creates global compensation patterns. These patterns occur along front and back kinetic chains. Kinetic chains can be understood as muscles that link together to create integration. When one muscle becomes inhibited, the chain is broken. This results in some muscles that are overworked, and others that are underworked. When the toe flexors become dominate, two different patterns can emerge.

Patterns of inhibition along the same kinetic chain as the toe flexors, along the front of the body are known as synergists.  One client had pain just below her hip joint in the front of her thigh. The hip flexors were inhibited by her toe flexors. Every step she took exasperated the problem. Another client had pain in the back of her thigh.  She had patterns of inhibition along the back of the body. This pattern is the functional opposite to the toe flexors.

There are other groups of people that have kinetic chain imbalances due to toe flexor dominance. People that wear high heels and/or flip flops are also high risk.

Whatever activity we regularly do, will unknowingly create undesirable movement patterns. Fortunately, undesirable patterns are learned behavior. Thus, they can be unlearned and replaced by a more desirable pattern.