Chapter 1 :: Inspiration Scroll Down >>>
The purpose of the first section is to open up the breathing and align the rib cage over the pelvis.
The theme of this section is "Inspiration." The meaning of the word "inspiration" is "draw in spirit": inspiration is not only to inhale oxygen, but is also to be filled with or to be in touch with spirit. Our breathing directly affects our feeling of inspiration - breath is the primary source of energy for the body, and it is our prime connection with the Life Force. The way we breathe affects the amount of energy we have, the ways in which we use energy, and our general sense of aliveness. What inspires you? What is the highest and most fulfilling use of all that you are? Inspiration is the first thing that we do, after being born, so it is appropriate that we start here.
Anatomy and Structure
Anatomically, the focus of this section is on those parts of your body that control your ability to expand your chest and breathe deeply your ribcage, arms, shoulders, and hips. We work on all of these areas. We also begin to release the diaphragm from any "stuck" or unnatural connection it may have to the rib cage. The rib cage and the muscles that attach to it are shown in the illustration on the left.
Structurally, the purpose of this section is to align the rib cage over the pelvis. In the drawing, on the left, you can see the most common relationship of the chest to the pelvis prior to Hellerwork: the pelvis is rolled forward and the chest is sinking. In Section 1, and throughout Hellerwork, we are moving the body toward the relationship shown in the drawing, on the right: the pelvis rolled back and the chest lifted. This supports you in having a more balanced and aligned stance.
In movement, our goal is for you to breathe more freely, particularly when you are sitting and standing. We want your rib cage to be well supported by your pelvis - this is an important aspect of having your breath be free.
Movement Lesson :: Standing
Stand in your usual posture, take a breath and notice its fullness. A common pre-Hellerwork posture is shown in the illustration to the right, in the woman on the left. Here the legs are leaning forward, and the upper body then bows backward at the midsection to balance the lower half. Now, shift your weight by leaning forward and backward. Come to the balance point where it takes the least amount of energy to stand up. A good balance can often be found by letting your body's weight drop through your feet at the intersection of the heel and the arch, rather than at the ball or the heel of the feet. Does this feel balanced? Breathe. Does your breathing feel fuller?
Now, from that position look down and check whether or not you can see your ankles. If you can, good! If your chest is balanced well over your pelvis, you should see your ankles. If not, adjust the position of your pelvis by moving it forward and backward at the waist. As your ankles come in to view, make sure your weight is still balanced over your feet as we described above. If you can see your ankles, and your weight is coming down at the intersection of your heel and arch, you are probably in good alignment. This is shown in the woman on the right in the illustration.
Movement Lesson :: Sitting
Sit as you usually would after reading or watching T.V. for a while, as shown in the illustration, in the woman on the left. Take a breath and notice how full it is. Then, adjust your pelvis so you are sitting on top of your "sit bones." This is easier if your sit bones are higher than your knees, so you may want to raise your seat with a pillow as with the woman on right in the illustration. Breathe again. Notice the fullness of your breath. Let your shoulders relax and notice that you can still sit in an upright fashion.
Notice what inspires you and what depresses you. Notice your breathing as these feelings arise. See if shifting your breathing pattern alters your mood. Remember to inhale and exhale fully.