Moving Like a Potted Palm
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Feng Shui/Tai Qi
This is one of the body mechanics exercises that we practice during our PetMassage Foundation Level workshop. It’s a variation of a Feng Shui/Tai Qi form that I learned from watching the Terry Dunn video “Tai chi Yang Short Form.” It is the first movement Sifu Dunn teaches for developing balance and flow. It’s one of the first movements I teach for the same reason. A smooth, relaxed and confident transfer of weight signals the dog that they are in safe competent hands.
Balance and flow are essential in PetMassage for a couple of reasons. When you are balanced and grounded, you are more stable. Each movement begins in the soles of your feet. You are continually grounding yourself. Your power begins deep in the ground, the earth, the molten magnetic core of the planet. As you sink down, you discharge energy you’ve collected and gather new, fresh empowerment. It moves up through your feet, legs, hips, and fills your body. This all happens before it can move out your arms, hands and fingers, and into the dog. Your entire body is engaged: your focus, weight, intention, energy, eyes, and especially, your breath. Then, as a conduit between the dog and the earth, whatever “stuff” you’ve collected is channeled back down and out your feet.
Your movements are coordinated with your breath. In the “Tai Chi Eight Way Breathing”, you learned how your breath opens and closes, and raises as lowers your body. Your breath sinks you into the ground. Your breath lifts you up. Your breath raises your arms, opens your hands. Your breath closes your arms; tightens your fingers.
Potted Palm Twist
In the potted palm exercise, we are adding a twist to the 8-way exercise. Literally. Begin facing forward, centered over your feet. Sink down and shift your weight onto one of your back feet with your exhale. Turn and look over your back shoulder –that’s the twist. Inhale back to center. Exhale onto your other back heel and twist your waist until you can look behind you over that shoulder. If you’re unable to visualize the exercise from this text, hey: watch the video!
Back and forth. Back and forth. As you move, your arms swing out and around, like the fronds of a potted palm. Be careful to lean back, like you are ice skating backwards, instead of rising up onto your front foot to look over your shoulder. Stepping into your forward foot is not as stable. In fact, it will pull you off balance.
In the last section of the video, I demonstrate how this movement applies in a canine massage PetMassage.
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