Friday, January 13, 2012

How to deal with the cold

The forecast for Sunday is sunny and COLD! (high in the low 30's). I hope you will join us for a performance adventure with the elements!

Bluebell Meadow is the easiest of the sites to get to in the Wissahickon Reunion series (scroll right for directions). You can drive right up to the field in you warm toasty car and then run back to it when the performance is over. We will start promptly at 10:30 and be done by 11:15.

This performance will surely be an adventure of the body and the will. How to survive the cold? How to remain calm, fluid, and focus while the body shivers and shakes?

First of all, you have to be prepared. Layer up! Long underwear is a must, as are glove and sock liners, a scarf, a hat, and warm shoes. Sunglasses will come in handy as the angled sunlight on Bluebell Meadow at that time of day can be quite blinding.

We have also developed some techniques for generating warmth from the inside (since running and jumping about to keep warm is somewhat contrary to the branch dance practice). These may come in handy:
  • Bone hugging — This body awareness practice, developed by Elaine Summers, consists of moving the muscle fibers surrounding each bone, into the bone. You apply three-dimensional tension into the bone, wrapping the bone or hugging it with your muscles. You do this with all the bones in your body (or as many as you can conjure into your consciousness), sequentially, all at the same time, or jumping around from part to part. Don't forget to release after every good hug! Bone hugging works well with the cold as it not only builds internal heat, but also harnesses (and releases) the tension from shivering, and helps even out the tension patterns in the body. One begins to sense the possibility of lighting up inner fires of the energetic body.
  • Letting the body stretch itself from the point of contact with the branch — In letting the body stretch itself (another Elaine Summers practice), you follow, sequentially through the body, the impulse of the body stretch . Like bone hugging, letting the body stretch itself accesses all parts of the body, bringing heat to remote places, and balancing tension.
  • Opening the soles of the feet — At all times open the feet, don't let them tense up. Sensing all the bones and joints in the feet grounds the body and keeps open the channels of energy within.
  • Inner humming/ vibrating breath — Letting breath or sound VIBRATE through the body activates the inner fires.
  • Using the eyes and vision to expand the edges of the body (created by Jumatatu Poe) — Focus the eyes at different distances and allowing the body to sense itself at each distance. For example, start by focusing on a hand, sensing into the hand, and noticing the body consciousness expand into the hand. Then shift to a place beyond the body and sense the body consciousness expand into that place, even into the distance.
Cool stuff! or should I say, hot stuff! Come out and practice lighting up your inner fires with us!

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