Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Opening the Heartspace

A stain of light moved up into the sky. We were still, but it moved anyway, and gathered itself. The birds began singing. Daylight.

Dream and waking. My hands are heavy: they never like the change of the weather. Last night I worked with the breath, the abdominals, the pecs, and when I came to her scalenes -- usually like taut steel cables beside the cervical vertebrae -- they were soft. I couldn't believe it. Was it the breath work? I don't know. I wish I'd checked on the scalenes before. I've been working to soften those scalenes for months, and now they were opening like flowers.

The scalenes are breathing muscles, above all; they lift the first and second ribs. So it's certainly possible that the breathwork did it. I hold two points in the abs and have you breathe into them. The first time I give resistance. At the second breath I simply let the two points ride up. Then I move a couple inches up and do it again. It's not a technique I learned: I just made it up, experimenting on myself.

And then tapotement with the fingertips, like a heavy summer rain, over the pecs. I used to waste so much time on the upper back, where everyone always thinks the trouble is, where they always want you to work. The upper back's where you feel it, of course, when you're working with your shoulders hunched forward; they're both overstretched and overworked, stabilizing the scaps and holding up the head. But you can work the upper back muscles forever without doing much good. The root of the matter is the pecs and the ribs, closing over the heart, pulling the shoulders and the head forward. All of the attention out there, two feet out in space: the scaps dragged inevitably further and further apart. On some people the shoulder blades, which really ought to rest maybe a handsbreadth apart, are a foot, even a foot and a half, away from each other, perched at the corners of the shoulders. There's no way to fix that from the back. It's the pecs that are doing it, hauling the shoulders relentlessly forward and closing the heartspace. It's the pecs and the serratus anterior that have to be released, before the rhomboids and traps can begin to bring the scaps back together, and give the upper back some relief.

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