In Lesson 1 you learned how to locate your center of gravity (in the center of your body, about three finger widths below your navel) and how to access it easily using three mental images: the front-to-back line, the side-to-side line, and the circle. Over time, you may also come up with additional images of your own.
You may have already noticed that simply being aware of where your center of gravity is located has beneficial effects, as evidenced with the “push test” described in Lesson 1. Now we’re going to explore how you can direct your center of gravity as you move, beginning with walking.
Start by locating your center of gravity, using the front-to-back line. Imagine a line that passes through your body at the height of your center of gravity, and this time extend of that line forward from your body. Think of it as an imaginary arrow that passes through your body. You could even add an arrow tip at the front end.
Now make a decision that you are going to move that arrow in the direction you wish to go. If it’s across the room, simply move the arrow to the other side of the room.
When you want to turn around and walk back, rotate the arrow and then direct it back to your original location.
You may have sensed that when you directed the arrow in walking and turning, the ways that you walked and turned felt a little different. Most students use words like “lighter,” “smoother,” and “easier” to describe the difference.
It’s very helpful to switch back and forth from your ordinary walking to “arrow walking,” and back to ordinary walking, etc. Experiment with a few seconds each way and see what you notice when you go from “arrow walking” back to your usual walk. Often students report that they sense a bit of heaviness at that point, which disappears when they resume using the arrow. Usually that heaviness shows up most clearly where their feet contact the floor. That’s a great place to let your attention go when you switch back and forth.
Once you’ve experimented a bit with “arrow walking,” switch over to “line walking”. For this, locate the side to side line that passes through your center of gravity and make a decision to move that whole line in the direction you want to go. When you turn, or change direction, simply rotate the line.
As with the arrow, experiment with switching back and forth to get a clearer sense of the difference between “line walking” and ordinary walking.
You may notice a little difference between the effects of the “arrow walking” and “line walking”. It can be useful to switch back and forth occasionally.
Using the circle image (an imaginary circle at a right angle to your spine, two inches below your navel) can also be interesting. Move the whole circle in the direction you want to go. Some students like to think of the circle as a type of automobile steering wheel, particularly when changing directions. If you want to turn to the right, turn the circle clockwise, and if you want to turn to the left, turn the circle counter clockwise.
The purpose of all of these images is that they connect your movements directly to your center of gravity, thereby allowing you to take advantage of the gravitational field in which you exist and enhance the quality of your movements.
After you have spent some time exploring the use of these three mental images, you can experiment with walking up and down stairs.
Walk up and down a staircase in your usual way. Then, mentally connect with one image of the center of gravity and move that image forward and up to climb the stairs, or forward and down to walk down the stairs.
As before, you’re using the image to direct yourself up or down the stairs. Did you notice any difference in how you moved?
You may think of other examples in which the center of gravity images could help, such as getting into or out of a car, or reaching for something on a high self. The basic principle is always the same: your intention is to move your center of gravity where you wish to go, using a simple mental image to accomplish this.
In Lesson 3, we’ll explore this process when you’re sitting in a chair. Later lessons will show you how to use your center of gravity in even more powerful ways.
If any of the descriptions of how to direct your center of gravity are confusing to you, or you have any questions about center of gravity self direction, please post a comment. If you’ve had some good experiences with these ideas, I’d love to hear those as well.
© 2012 Robert Rickover