Setting up Formal Practice, Part 4, 'Internalization'
In the first 3 installments of this series we focused on how to open practice by entering the Nowspace, activated the tensegrity of our frame and used some of our Fundamental Routes of Strength to Elongate our tissues and bring a level of vigor to our practice.
While in the Elongate/Invigorate stage of your formal practice session it is very important to 'memory bank' the feeling of the elongated route of strength. The feeling of the whole body participating in generating Integrated Strength in whatever route or gesture you are training is the key to success with Internalization focused training. Therefore, I encourage you to retain consistency between what shapes/routes your are training in Elongation and what shapes you use in Internalization.
Winding it In
I recommend a slow transition from externalization to internalization practice. This way you can gradually shrink your route, bit by bit, keeping the requirements of the route alive. In particular we want to maintain the mobility of our joints within the route.
Take the Leaping Route as an example. During Elongation notice how all the joint are in motion simultaneously. When the route is big the joints are forced to move as the entire skeletal structure changes shape. Gradually shrink the route by using less and less outward motion while maintaining the feeling of joint movement experienced in Elongation albeit with much smaller rotations.
Eventually the movement will be so small that it will begin to look like you are standing in a static shape. Starting with the Fundamental 8 shapes is my recommendation. However, rather than winding into a parallelly footed stance focus on front and back weighted stances as they make keeping the Route alive in the lower body easier. The weight transitions you will experience in a weight differentiated stance are the same as in the parallel stance only much more subtle.
Breaking Through Isolated Strength
In my formal training sessions I often bounce back and forth between externalization and internalization of a given route. The purpose here is not to learn a technique but to induce the body to recruit strength from anywhere to support and maintain the Integrated State of the frame. Isolate Strength movement habits are what we are trying to break though so we can experience whole-body participate in a gesture and access the strength that comes along with it.
Realizing that you are not performing the exercise in pursuit some perfect choreography opens the door incrementally building your ability to recruit strength from the entire body. The permutations of the exercises we are performing require an the perspective of Searching. Searching means using our exercises to discover something new, typically through inducing it in our feeling state with our stupid human tricks.
Feel free to experiment with internalizing and externalizing and begin to note some of the differences. Internalized routes can be executed much faster than externalized ones and mass does not need to move through so much space. Externalized movement, therefor, is excellent for propelling us through space while internalized is awesome for stability and delivering power from the ground.
Internalization Guided Practice
In the video below I guide you through a short session of first externalizing and elongating a route before gradually winding it back into the frame.
Share your experiences!
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