While studying to become a bodyworker, and particularly during my Structural Integration training, I was taught about the core and the sleeve. What this represents to me is the inner core of the body, or that which functions in the first 15 degrees of movement, (packed with energy), and the external musculature that continues the momentum of motion, (a powerhouse of strength).
Yoga is designed to expand the core, while weight training is aimed at toning and strengthening the sleeve. Too much strengthening can restrict the core, yet too much stretching can weaken the integrity of support. Another thought to consider is the beautiful compensation abilities that our bodies are capable of…where something has gone weak, another aspect has over-strengthened to attempt balance. Getting bodywork is a way of opening the over-strengthened tissue, and core strengthening with weights, is an avenue to train the atrophied support.
As I played with this concept this week, it revealed yet another perception for me to consider. The core, which in my mind is our experience at the organ and cellular levels, represent our ways of being, for better or worse. Here is where we experience emotion first and the body either delights and expands to its expression or constricts into hiding, often from the mis-belief of imperfection. It can be a blended experience when our ‘gut’ or intuitive responses are felt somewhere mixed in with reactions that are based solely on the past. How can one get a clear perception of life from functioning in the core alone, especially if it is restricted by the strength of the sleeve?
The sleeve, on the other hand may represent our thickness of skin, that armor that says ‘Go ahead punk, make my day.’ It’s the puffed chest of a hero or the wide stance of a warrior. The thin-skinned may project a weakness of victim-hood, as a form of protection. At any rate, this is often the aspect of ourselves that flaunts who we believe we are, or want to be, or most certainly what we want other people to see and pronounce as ‘who we are’…but are we really the skin we wear? Is this just the mind’s way of creating a hologram of advertised perfection?
There is yet another layer, that of being the observer of life…the snake on the tree. Being the overseer of experience is an angle that reveals the big picture. From this view, the little details of ‘to do’s’ fall away to the ‘to be’ place of awe and curiosity. Here, connection with spirit seems effortless and thoughts of joy, float playfully through the mind and beckon a lighthearted smile. Questions of life’s purpose gives way to innocent waves of grace and compassion of self and all life.
The picture of alignment…
When the core is free to breathe, infinity happens as organs slosh their rhythmic dance into the tissue that initiates forward movement; the hologram surrenders its rigid strength to the ebb and flow of fluidity; and the observer holds the conductor’s baton, creating currents of truth throughout all layers of the experience.
This is a human journey to infinity, no steps to take, simply moments to experience; a surrender of the linear to the poetic pause.