Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Look up, look out, and then look in for more workout satisfaction

I wrote the little article I copied below many years ago. It's about T-Tapp form but it can be applied to any indoor type of exercise you enjoy. Consider yourself warned that this is a long piece. Despite that I feel that the info contained in the piece stands the test of time - at least it has for me.
Look up: When we exercise we process information in many ways using many of our senses. We look up and watch Teresa (on our TV, computer monitor or if we’re lucky at a clinic) and try to make our form match hers. We hear her form tips at the same time we’re watching her and try to connect her words with the movements we are seeing, doing and feeling.

Look out: A simple door mirror temporarily set up so as not to interfere with seeing the TV screen can be a great tool to use in deepening your form as long as you don’t become overly dependent upon it. Place it where you have to glance over or out to see yourself rather than dead on ahead. That way you can glance to see if your flat back is really flat or if your knees are still bent and your butt tucked but then go right back to paying attention to Teresa. This is also visual feedback but it’s feedback on how your body is translating what Teresa is doing.

Look In:  I used to look at form from the outside only. Feet straight ahead, knees bent and KLT, tuck butt, shoulders over hips (or ribs up), ears over shoulders. etc etc etc.

But magical things started to happen when I began to concentrate on how the form tips felt versus just how I was supposed to look when my form was proper and it opened up an entire mind/body connection that I hadn't even imagined was there.

I think of it as T-Tapp Zen but it’s really the proprioceptive, neurokinetic side of T-Tapp. Knowing where your body is in space and where each joint is in relation to the other joints.

That's when my workouts stopped being just workouts for the sake of strength, or cardio or flexibility and became a total mind/body experience with an amazing ability to bust stress like nothing else.

Now my workouts are workouts but they're so much more. Private time, time away from my busy mind (yes I need to escape from myself from time to time :lol) Time for my body to repair by being pulled back into alignment. Time to clear my mind at the same time I’m clearing lactic acid from my muscles. Time to wash away the cares of the day. Don’t you love a clean slate?

AND when I make a workout an event by adding a brushing session and a "treatment" bath or shower complete with alternating warm and cool water and if time allows even a facial an hour can turn into a trip to my very own exclusive spa.

If you’re new to T-Tapp whether you’re an experienced exerciser or a beginner you may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. Actually everyone reading this may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about!

This looking inward thing doesn’t come quickly and for me it followed the external form stuff and was a bit like a crack in a wall. At first the internal connection kind of seeped into my workouts but over time the mind/body neurokinetic flow has gotten stronger and stronger until at this point I can do a workout and retreat inward to the point where I am almost unaware of the external world. It’s just me and my body kicking booty!

I find that by concentrating on the sensations and feed back my body gives me I can also work on the form areas I need to deepen. For instance, I’m a combo bordering on long torso/ short leg but I have a history of distance running along with a family history of lower back problems. Concentrating on opening my hips while balancing my lower front and lower back body isn’t just a good idea, it’s mandatory if I want to maximize my back and hip health! It’s also the only way I was able to get the visual connection between shoulders and hips let alone feel that connection.

I’m not suggesting that every session you do be so inwardly focused that you ignore Teresa or your mirror. It’s important to be aware of your external form and listen to the form tips Teresa gives. But oh my how delicious it can be to be able to escape from the cares of your day or week when you most need to! When you begin to use all of your senses while you T-Tapp I guarantee you’ll see better results and find your workouts more fulfilling than ever before.

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