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Open the pelvic bowl

October 30, 2007 at 4:32 AM

One of the hardest things to accept about playing the violin , for me at least, is that ultimately it’s about everything we do and everything we are. This is a view of playing which is some distance from the way a person initially taking up the instrument may view it. In the latter case it may simply be conceived a as rather complex skill performed by the coordinated hands and arms while trying to produce a nice sound. As the more complex conceptualization begins to take hold the way one views playing as a whole becomes altered. It is no longer satisfactory to see the whole art in terms of technical solutions limited to the most visible aspects of playing. This might seem rather fuzzy but I think I know what I am trying to say….
I find this especially profound in terms of injury or tension so perhaps a mention of that might help to clarify a little. Suppose a player sustains an obvious injury of some kind. It may well be possible to identify exactly what caused it and to prescribe specific remedies and exercises that have apparently solved the problem. What is not usually addressed is psychological/emotional or even spiritual causes that may have led one to that injury and that need to be addressed in order to prevent similar or apparently unrelated but deep rooted problems occurring. There is for example, one very successful treater of back problems in the US whose name I forget who works purely from a purely emotional perspective. What is messed up in your life that is causing your body to do this? Or, a colleague of mine who twisted her ankle and damaged both tendon and bone recently. The healer who examined her was not at all surprised that it should occur The damage was all along the gall bladder acupuncture points and the gall bladder is associated very deeply with decision making- my friend is contemplating leaving her husband and starting a new life.
It may be even more involved if there is no immediately obvious injury and a player is simply categorized as `having too much nerve` or `just a tense person,` or even `simply lacking in talent.` The latter may be true or it could be completely out of the ball park. A piano player I work with has an immense talent she uses about ten percent of as far as I can see. She runs around in a stressed way in her life and plays utterly beautifully but in a very frenetic and unstable way (somewhat like Agerich on speed). My cranio sacral expert colleague took one look at her face and told her she was forceps delivered with the twisted bone structure of her face causing huge pressure on her brain. She went to him for a consult where he released about 2 percent of the tension and the next time she played she sounded cool collected and brilliant. A whole new level. But old loops and resistances prevent her seeking further treatment and as I watch her now her face is become darker and more tense and her playing more and more excitable and difficult to work with.
Learning about cranio sacral massage has been a real eye opener to me about what we all carry around we are not aware of. My healer told me he was very impressed with one thing Japanese people do that westerners do not: when the former fall down they instinctively stay down for quite a long time (like an animal does) to allow the nervous system to adjust and the body to realign itself if possible. A westerner wants to get up fast and this behavior often causes an invisible injury to be far more serious than it need be. What kind of injury could this be? Well the essence of cranio sacral is that all our bones vibrate in sync. The slightest trauma and they may become de synchronized which cause energy blockages and inefficient use of that area leading to compensations in other areas and so on. The incredible thing is we all carry these around with us as a kind of hidden war on our own bodies. Having experienced quite a few healing modalities and grasped that whether one is talking about color, sound, heat or whatever , it is all the same thing, (energy approached from a particular perspective) I have also found a consistently troubled area of the body that remains unknown to many: the pelvis. Many women in particular go to healers of one kind or another for an unidentifiable but debilitating illness as a last resort and the healer finds the pelvic region is black, cold or lifeless. The cause may range form sexual abuse, traumatic birth giving or whatever, but it is a bloody sad thing. To a lesser extent men can have nasty blockages around the pelvic bowl too. As a violinist, if this area is blocked then the fundamental area for energy exchange is not working and the body is simply not functioning as it should so neither is one’s violin playing. There is a very complex little set of muscles in their operating the legs and the general architecture of the body.
A simple exercise I give my students to help with this problem might be of some interest. Before you play try lying on your back and placing your left ankle above your right knee (the leg is straight along the floor.) Does the left knee sink easily and gracefully towards the floor or does it point upwards at around 45 degrees and feel sore or tight around where the leg appears to merge into the pelvic region? If the latter at the very least you have very tight abductor muscles that are having a very adverse effect on your playing! When an area of the body becomes damaged or tight over time it becomes necessary to recommunicate with that area so as you do this exercise place your left to the left of your pubic mound so you are gently touching the top of your left leg and the inside top of your thigh. Just leave your hand there . Muscles and tendons need touch before they want to begin returning to a relaxed state. They are no different from the whole human organism. If you lie like this for five minutes it is quite possible your leg will begin to spasm and you will experience –astonishing- feelings of release and lengthening occurring in your leg. Repeat with the other and then try your regular practice. Different things may well be happening.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 11:13 AM
I tried this exercise and I feel something in the back of my leg, where the leg joins the pelvis in the back (in my hip and butt, basically), not the front. It still might be worthwhile, but I'm not sure it's working the muscles it's supposed to be lengthening.
From Corwin Slack
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 4:33 PM
Brivati-sensei, Is their anything scientific about cranio-sacral massage? Can the pressures on the brain you mention be measured?

Where is the line between real healing and quackery?

From Rosalind Porter
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 7:01 PM
That's a really fascinating exercise. I just tried it and there is obviously a lot more tension or something in my left leg than in the right. Certainly the tension in the left leg seemed to ease a bit after the 5 minutes of the exercise.

Now I'm doing my practise and the Bach sounds a lot better than last time though that might be more through luck than anything else!

I used to go to a Chinese hairdresser in Vienna and after they washed your hair the boss-guy would give you a scalp massage - without exception I'd be asleep/out of it in only a couple of minutes and 20 mins later he'd touch my face to wake me up. Never had anything so invigorating or intense before or since. You felt so relaxed yet full of energy. Amazing.

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 10:29 PM
Corwin, I know all too wlel the feelings you have about quackery versus scientific. All I have ever bene able to do is explore , ask questions and sometimes ad da litlte faith;)
Very often science is veyr slow in catching up with truth because many people labelled as scientists or scientific are two narrow minded to ask questions or explore except within the limts of their own egos. This happened in the case of cranio sacral which , although it is actually quite mainstrema now, was streneuously resited by the medical profession (often the least scientific becuas eof the money and prestige involved) who insited thta the skull was a solid entity that ha dnothing to do with bodily function. Recent high tech scanning machines and so forth have shown that it is a number of parts operaitng in coperaitve vibration and that any blockages result in dysfuntional nervous system, free flow of chemicals, messages down the spinal chord and so forth.
Quackery occurs for me in two ways. First when shallow people embrace somethign such as cranio sacral as the be all and end all (the first sin) and then don`t have the integrity or courage to actually train properly. A one month course at a retreat in the blue ridged mountains of Virginia does not make a healer. My doctor has trained for many years and calls himself a beginner. He takes two months off a year to travle to America and work as an asisstnat with the leaidng expert in this particular field. The other quacks I epxerience dat three diffenret hospitals here twoyears ago. Each one diagnosed me witha diffenrt and uttelry disparate disease (including cancer) using a plethora of high tech machines. The one question they didn`t ask me as a real person at any time was `How are you feeling mentally? What@s going on in your life?
That was quackery under another name: malpractice. I am, incidentally, very healthy ;)
Doesn`t matter if you fele the stress on top of below- somehting need ssome work...
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 10:45 PM
Sorry, the last bit wa s addressed to Karen.
From Susan D
Posted on October 31, 2007 at 4:12 AM
Scalp massage? I don't even go to hairdressers because I can't bear to have my scalp massaged - it's very sensitive and I hate the way hairdressers yank at it.

Anyway, tension in various parts of the body is definitely disastrous for my body. I'm slowly relaxing myself out of the habit of holding my breath during difficult passages...

From kimberlee dray
Posted on November 1, 2007 at 10:33 PM
I'm actually in a great deal of agreement with you Mr. Brivati. I've had medical journeys of my own, and one thing I know from personal experience--we're a total working system, not a sum of parts. One cannot hope to do more than put a plug in the crack of a damn which is about to break without considering the entire scope of the working system.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on November 2, 2007 at 1:00 AM
Kimberlee, sicne when have you been calling me Mtr Brivati a sopposed to Buri?;)
Now I need a prune bowl,

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