by Nili Aslan
During the course of years in which I am practicing the Body Cognition Method, I have experienced quite a few analogies between the “right way” which the method bestows its devotees, and my own private “right way”, in my paths of life. Here are a few key points:
The Body Cognition method as a knowledge-spreading tool. A person’s process of self discovery.
We must not underestimate the importance of learning about the self and its implications on our quality of life and health, both emotional and physical. It is a life project. Developing an inner dialogue, out of respect, appreciation and willingness to correct and achieve a personal and intimate right way for oneself. If you stop and observe what is going on inside of you – whether its physical or emotional – in real time(!), a door will
open to learning, getting to know the self, to the choice and perhaps even to inner accord.
Getting to know your body – distinguishing the automated system (or a fixed thought process, or a habit), breaking it down to details, isolating components, knowing if and what is essential to us. After we are familiar with them, and learned how to isolate them, how to activate or deactivate them, we may then connect them in the right sequence, rhythm, harmony, force / release; and so we find ourselves reaching the same goal effortlessly and without getting worn out, but rather with a pleasant feeling embodying an inner smile derived by this intimate dialogue making this
possible, and just as important – by the process.
Developing the skill of listening to the self – the variable self.
Scoliosis – people suffering from some degree of Scoliosis, under the guidance of the Body Cognition method for correcting their posture, slowly learn how to live with this reality, to the point where it is unnoticeable. They develop the ability to position their spine while striving to achieve optimal symmetry, through a work process “an outsider will not comprehend” – controlling the muscles they learned to derive small movement out of, which allow for a layer by layer construction, while one may contradict the other, resulting in a spine whose lateral curves are practically unnoticeable, including in X-rays. The beauty of it is that they don’t need a mirror in order to get a feedback reflection or affirmation that their spine is positioned exactly as they intended it to be. They also know how to derive the correct positioning of their spine through varied and changeable movements.
Does this remind us of an equivalent behavior in our lives? Of course! We are all “twisted” in some way or other, in some aspect or other. Learning how to live well with ourselves is a result of knowledge, the breaking down of elements while acknowledging them, and reconstructing the structure with the same elements but in a healthy balance. Gradually, it becomes an upgraded “autopilot”. And if we fail to fixate ourselves within a physical or virtual brace, such as a clad thought pattern lacking the exploration and inner process, we will be left to take responsibility for ourselves while our flexibility is still with us. People who take responsibility for themselves upgrade their environment as well. After all, reaching a balance will forever be an individual process, and the Body Cognition method teaches this.
Accepting and living with constant changes:
The constant changes which are the product of time, the use we make of the resources we were born and equipped with, the incessant adjustments, while agreeing to let go of…(thinking patters, movement paradigm, an impulsive urge, holding on to habits, etc’); adapting to the correct position for that moment – whether it be a cold season, or a physical or emotional distress of some kind, whose ramifications are derived of the body/soul connection. Flexibility of thought begins with the willingness to part, as this prosaic example will show: we pay attention to the movement of a muscle which requires our thinking (or habit) for activating or moving it – we notice the effort required of it, that is, for its contraction, and we are not used to make an intention for the opposite muscle, whose role is reversed – to consent to lengthen while releasing (as opposed to the stretch). Once this inner and intimate accord is reached – the door is opened to the correlation between the atmosphere and the state of mind, and the physical state and through our walking path called life.
Building precision – precision can be an acquired skill. You can discipline yourself to be precise. Granted, it may take some time, but the reward is well worth it. When precision prevails, order is formed without disrupting creativity. Knowledge of what is right for one occurs naturally.
The range of the Body Cognition lessons is almost infinite. No lesson is repeated. There is a constant development of more complex and subtle frequencies – because of the teacher’s own improvement as well as the student’s, which allows progression, while gaining control of his/her body movements. A person’s inner dialogue with himself throughout his life is also infinite and ever changing, according to the outer and personal circumstances, under which a person conducts himself through life’s paths, whether they be short or long.
Measure is of major importance. Knowing and being aware of your own measure. This means recognizing when you are in excess or deficient (whether it be a joint movement range you used to the fullest or did not use at all, whether you overate, or did not drink enough, or accumulated frustrations, anger, anxieties, or lack of joy and laughter). The optimal position of a joint is essentially similar to the optimal position of our mental state – out of which one can set out to accomplish any mission. If an overflowing emotion is present such as, anger, frustration, disappointment, hurt – no reaction can lead us to the solution of the problem. And if it does, it would be a road full of obstacles with a price to pay. When you recognize you are in excess in real time – you are able to correct and/or moderate.
Just as important – that you are always able to stop, because your every step is calculated, and correct for every minute (of course there is no ideal world or an ideal person – it is a constant strive). It is relevant both for one’s wish or lust (yes, lust) to straighten the leg in the wrong timing according to the position of the back, as well as to whether you are unable to direct/channel your anger which wants to burst out in the wrong time at the wrong place, so that you will get hurt. It is crucial to conduct oneself like a skilled driver, sensible, understanding, alert to one’s surrounding and the situation, courteous, flowing – correctly accelerating and stopping – no sudden acceleration and braking abruptly – which is bad for the driver and even bad for the car.
The ability to stop at any given moment is a course that becomes second nature to you. A part of who you are. The same goes for the body – an overload on one area, a joint, a tendon, a muscle, working unilaterally, lack of diversity, imbalance – pave a sure way to a pathology which will not allow pleasant, efficient and painfree movement in space for life.
Responsibility: personal responsibility and the influence of good on the whole. On choice, on the ability to choose.
On agreeing to part/let go of obsolete habits for your body or mind, of stress, exaggerations, measurements. A muscle agreeing to give length is a very different length than a muscle being forced to stretch. And why would a muscle agree to give length? And why this strange phrasing… after all since our first physical education lessons we were programmed to stretch and increase range, being in shape and achieving goals, competitiveness and adrenaline, speed and strength. My personal experience has made it clear, that understanding and accepting are based, among other things, on trust. Since my approach towards myself in the world and in my body has changed, the marvelous cooperation I am privileged to experience includes an ample and comfortable life inside my body.
Unlike the past – many years in which I used motion to “gain range,” stretched painfully to “gain length,” and sustained unpleasant positions only to surprise myself with an ability that has no use or purpose; today, my journey is one of understanding and listening, a dialogue between myself and what is useful and enabling, and is to be with me until it becomes obsolete.
On the flexibility of thought – you are faced with options since you are not a horse in a manger in your own trough. Only choose what is right for you – whether it is how to get up from the floor while your knee is sensitive, or how to conduct a dialogue with a person who usually “gets on your nerves”.
The Body Cognition method also provides the silence between the words. The kind of silence that allows one to truly be.
The respect one gains towards his body and its mechanisms, with outer and inner implications, and a mental implication with a constructive feedback between them.
The questions! To realize we have questions, and if we don’t – there better be! It sharpens the mind and the link to all worlds surrounding us, even if not our own or not us. We will not always know the answers. We will also learn how to set aside the preoccupation with it, or even agree to accept giving up on understanding; or the answer can reach us, because we opened an enabling window. A good teacher asks many questions in a course of guiding the movements. The questions are stimulating, mind opening and enhancing our comprehension and awareness.
All that was said (and more…) is ingrained in the foundation of the Body Cognition method and is occurs during a 45 minute movement lesson.