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Up With GravitySM Lesson 1 – Locating your Center of Gravity — 29 Comments

  1. I have often noticed the difference in emphasis between Eastern traditions, which emphasise a focus on this area (sometimes called the ‘Hara’) and the Alexander Technique, which seems to require principally a focus on a upward direction along the plane of the head, neck and back and in which the abdomen is not mentioned apart from the axiom that one ought not to “pull down in front”.
    I would be most interested to read an explanation as to how these traditions can be reconciled.

    • Good point Peter. It’s worth bearing in mind that FM mentioned the centre of gravity a lot in his earlier writings, but it dropped out later on.

      Robert

  2. Hi, nice write up. I wanted to say that one can have a look at Aikido videos on youtube dealing with “presence,” which I find similar to the grounding obtained by attention to one’s center of gravity. It forces attention to the lower cakras/body regions where it is usually in outer space or in the head.

  3. Hello,
    Would the formula change for folks whose legs/torso are shorter or longer? Why or why not? I am debating th e physics of this with a friend.
    Thank you!
    Kim

    • It might change things a bit, but there seems to be surprising little variation, even between men and women.

      Robert

  4. hello. this imagery is interesting and working. i am aware of this lines right now, and something is shifting, my weight, mental states, etc..

    my questions are simple.

    1. how this location point was drawing out?

    2. i was thinking about “torus” since the beginning of 2013.
    do you know this geometrical form and do you think any connection between them?

    thank you for interesting and helpful instruction.

  5. Hello Robert. Thank you for your time and wisdom. My question is, are all humans unconsciously aware of a CG in themselves whether the location is correct or not?

    I.E. For a person who’s never read about this before, has never been told where their CG is, must the unconscious mind still be aware of a “center of gravity” in the body in order to walk and move?

    Likewise, is what you’ve just explained about the CG location merely a way of making ourselves conscious of what the unconscious already knows? When babies are born, and first learn to walk, is awareness of the CG instinctual – and only through the years of poor posture habits does it become lost from conscious awareness or skewed inefficiently?

    I hope I make sense. Thank you.

    • Hi Wes,

      Good questions Wes. I doubt that most people have any explicit idea of where the CG is located. And I don’t think one has to have any awareness of one’s CG in order to move – but of course there has not been any research about this!

      I had a student last week who, when I asked him where he thought his CG was, pointed to his navel and said it was right there, on the front surface of his body. I told him it was a little lower and deep inside him and he immediately lost part of his habitual forward leaning stance.

      Make of that what you will!

      Robert

      • I feel to that my cg is in the navel area, in my front surface…
        Inside and deep does not seem to make sense to me,.. Why I don’t know… But I have asked other people and they all agree that CG is on the surface..
        Why is that?

        • It may feel that way, but unless you are leaning very far forward, it’s in the center, 2 inches below the navel. That’s the physics of it!

          Robert

  6. Pingback: The Challenges of Walking on a Windy Day | Body Intelligence

  7. Thanks for sharing this website Robert.

    Do you know if this centre of gravity point is the same point Tai Chi practicioners talk about?

    All the best
    Jacek

    • Hi Jecek, If they have it mapped correctly, it’s exactly the same point. They may talk about “moving from your center” whereas I’m talking about “move your center” – much more direct and, I think, practical.

      Robert

  8. Robert,

    I would also be interested in knowing how Alexander Techqnique can help stage fright, anxiety, panic attacks etc.. Do you have any good sources on that address those topics? Any specific sources you could recommend? (I’ve read a chapter in Indirect Procedures but I would like to know more) Given your breadth of knowledge on A.T. and A.T. resources I’m sure you can recommend something.

    Thanks,
    Jon

  9. Hello Robert,

    I would just make a small addition in your written instructions let people know the center of gravity is a very small point.

    Also, I look forward to your next lessons. How does this dovetail into Alexander Technique? How does it relate to neck free, head forward and up, and back lengthening and widening (ie the primary control directions?)

    Thanks,
    Jon

    • Yes the center of gravity is indeed an infintesimally (sp?) tiny point – which is why, as a practical matter, it’s very useful to use mental imagery of the sort described in these lessons to access it.

  10. Hello,

    First I want to tell you I’m enjoying your site. It explains things well and I’ll be trying out these ideas. Second, I have a question about semi-supine and where the center of gravity is located when in that position. Is it 2 inches under the navel or located more towards the sternum or some where in between?

    Thanks

    • Thanks Jon – and good question! Your center of gravity doesn’t change when you lie down, but your whole relationship with gravity does – and this is one of the great advantages of Constructive Rest – http://alexandertechnique.com/constructive rest

      In terms of using your CG when lying down, that’s a topic for exploration at this point. Tentatively, I think you can usefully explore using it the same way you do when standing as a kind of “pre activity” preparation. Of course the direction in space is rotated 90 degrees.

      Let me know what you discover – this is brand new experimental territory!

      Robert

  11. Pingback: Up With GravitySM Lesson 2 – Using your Center of Gravity while Moving | Up With Gravity

  12. Hi robert,
    thanks for this remarkable experimentation satisfying the alexander thoughts.

    Iam sure thinking and imagining the static postural images in a movement leads to doing and end-gain. This i had experience.

    But, you are saying dynamic images in an activity following meanswhereby?

    Please collect as many details and experiences from the total alexander teachers, and post it here.

    I think your concept can be done by only experienced fm students and teachers.

    For doing your concept of gravity requires, principles of FM.

    I wont think a common man with out a teacher achieves this by doing on his own.

    I cant say my experiences of your such a difficult concept of gravity based on dynamic images as a whole thinking ‘one after the other all together in sequence with stimulus’.

    But, i will try this and i say thanks to you and i hope and wish that it works for any one.

    ..,

    • Hi Jadadish,

      Thanks for commenting – but I’m afraid I don’t understand your question. Perhaps after you experiment with all 3 of the first set of lessons, it will make better sense to you.

      Robert

  13. Hi,

    Thank you for answering my question. It’s very interesting how for example walking changes quite radically when being aware of the center of gravity. Standing also becomes more stable. It’s very useful thought when people feel themselves wobbly after freeing their legs, I suppose.

    Marja

  14. Thanks a lot for this Robert. This first lesson is really useful, and I’m looking forward to more. I like the experiential aspect to this. You’re providing another great service. I’ll try the experiment tomorrow with my students. Up With Gravity!
    Mark

  15. Hi Marja,

    I haven’t encountered this myself. I would think think that unless the difference is very large, they can still use this process. Start by using it yourself a bit first. Then, when you work with the student, feel free to modify the location for their center of gravity towards the side that is larger if that seems useful. It’s all about experimenting!

  16. Hi,
    What about, when a person has this conditon named “hemihyperplasia”, where the other half of the body is bigger than the other?I’m asking this, because I’m going to have such a pupil soon.

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