Beatific Jet Propulsion

“Jellyfish… are old, primitive creatures, yet so effective that they hold their own in our modern world….    Although primitive, they nonetheless represent a pinnacle in elegant design and locomotion. Watching a jellyfish move through the water… is always a breathtaking experience.”  – Dr J Floor Anthoni
Jellyfish paintings by Sir Alister C Hardy, 1956 (1896-1985)

Enjoy an expansive upper body as your foundation gathers towards center.

Can you picture the pulsating rhythm of a jellyfish moving through water? When the bell (circular muscles) are contracting, the mouth floats upwards, towards light. Our own body has 8 functional diaphragms, or membranes comparable to the bell of a jellyfish. We’ve already been practicing the alignment of one (the arches of the feet.) In this blog, I will have you focus on two others,  the pelvic floor and thoracic diaphragms; you can use them to develop an elegant method of movement towards “axial elongation.”

Inhale and allow the weight of your pubic bone, tailbone, and sitting bones to drop heavily onto your seat ; feel the lowest part of your belly rise up as a result. (PELVIC FLOOR DIAPHRAGM)    Exhale and gently tone around the core to encourage the lift of your heart towards the roof of your mouth. (THORACIC DIAPHRAGM)

Jellyfish paintings by Sir Alister C Hardy, 1956 (1896-1985)

Jellyfish paintings by Sir Alister C Hardy, 1956 (1896-1985)


I make a big ass-umption here that you know where your pubic bone, tailbone, and sitting bones are… and that you know how to let them bear your weight! In fact, most of us usually sit way too heavily on just the tailbone and the BACKSIDE of our sitting bones in a slouched posture (i.e. on a soft couch.)

This technique demands of you a forward tilt of your pelvis in sitting, so that you are heavy on the FRONTSIDE of your sitting bones and approaching the pubic bone. Then, and this is very very very(!) important, you stay tilted forward and let the tailbone get heavy again too.


Got it?… Now try to breathe as though each breath is swimming your “inner body” vertically upward, toward the mouth or more specifically the back of your sinus cavity (another diaphragm!)

You will know when you are on it when it feels easy to sit up straight. And by “straight,” I mean as tall as you have ever been in your entire life, and float with the breath even longer, lighter, and more effortless in your being.

{**If you are super — sensitive and have read the foot blogs preceding this one, you might  perceive the similar mechanical advantage of the arch of the foot in standing: allow the big toe root and other 3 corners of the foot to drop down…  notice how the center of your arch tracks up toward the back of your knee.}

Groovy Baselines

“Notice the baseline(s) of healing and softness always present….    That action of returning to the present creates an energy within us that is magnetic, truthful and palpable. To have such close communication with ourselves is a gift to the world.”     ~Elena Brower, Erica Jago


If you’ve ever tried to meditate you might have noticed the rascally nature of your mind. The moment you try to think of nothing, your mind races to think of everything! Your thoughts turn towards the past and the future, and most often towards critical judgements of your self and others.

Your feet can help you with this. (Last foot blog for a while, I promise!)

We’ve already discussed how a simple softening in your toes and balanced weight-distribution on the ball of the foot can organize and calibrate your legs for improved health and posture. Now try tuning in:

Sit and stand (and eventually walk!) with your feet turned to parallel. (Use an imaginary line from the middle of the heel to the 2nd/3rd toes.) Once you’ve gone parallel, re-relax your toes and try to coax that rascally big toe ball back to earth.

splayed feet

consistently splayed feet  = weak hips


parallel feet 2

stand in the place where you live








Feel that soft groove of your “longitudinal arch?” It’s a candid focal point that awakens your core muscles. Time spent here can help stabilize the SI joints, relieve knee pain, and strengthen the hips. And because it requires great attention to stay that close to yourself, it also anchors the racing ways of a rascally mind.

Stand well.

Standing well rocks.

You’ll find that as you gather your feet and awareness to the baseline of yourself, you take on a certain charge. It is palpable and will positively affect those around you. Be present to the shifts, if you can… and present to the gifts, as you stand!


Armpit Magic Tricks

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”  Pema Chodron

In keeping with my smelly-body-parts blog I’d like to take a brief sojourn up to the armpits.

So often we hear the call for us to “open our hearts” but how can we specifically find this space in our physical body? There are many diverse deviations in posture and alignment I see in my clients and students, so I offer a widely encompassing cue here:

Establish a comfortably sustainable posture using your feet to register the earth. Notice that you are breathing.  Deepen the space under your upper arms. Keep breathing.

That last bit about deepening your underarms while continuing to breathe is The Magic. When you locate the head of your humerus bone for your neuromuscular system, you create the opportunity for your collar bones to widen, your shoulder blades to coalesce upon your upper back, and the length of your neck to increase.

Allow your shoulder girdles to float freely to the top of your ribcage, liberating your heart’s space for other important matters.

You will know you are getting this terrific trick to work for you when you feel like the weight of your arms is being held by (newly) awakened muscles around the bottom tips of your shoulder blades. As in the picture above, you might also note a shallow groove created between the shoulder blades. (Forgive me – my head could be a few degrees further back…  I’m still practicing myself!)

Maybe with time this technique will eliminate neck pain or tension headaches when you sit at the computer. Perhaps now we can forever stop sweating and staining the underarms of our shirts! Or, this might just something to practice while we sit in a traffic jam instead of clenching around the uncontrollable.

Warning! – New-Age Leap Ahead!   …….  But what if with this awareness the autonomic nervous system (the one that adjusts your body to deal with stress) can find the requisite time and space to tender a calm response to the person/situation that used to “drive you crazy?”

Ah, that is a very cool trick indeed! So then let’s widen to find a breadth of gratitude for our stressors / teachers ……  and learn from them how to expand.

How Good Can You Stand It?

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. ”  – Pablo Picasso

Consider the rectangular (um really, trapezoidal) shape of your foot: There are two points at the base of the big toe and the base of the little toe and two at the inner and outer heel.

Can you tell which foot is using the base of the big toe for weight-acceptance?


The most bio-mechanically advantageous thing to do with your four points in static positions (i.e. sitting or standing) is to balance them evenly.  Sound familiar? Just like the toes themselves, the arch/foot structure benefits from balanced weight distribution.

So what’s the hold-up?… The base of the big toe! This point along the “first ray” (inner arch) is almost always bypassed or misrepresented in weight-bearing. You can tell if this is true for you by looking for a callus somewhere along the big toe itself OR check for one on the base of the pinky toe…..  Doh, there they are! …. I’m sorry!

But it’s like Picasso said: we can practice and create ourselves masterfully. In sitting and standing, see if you can softly spread your toes (see last blog) then gently place the BASE of the big toe down on the ground or your shoe. Keep it there and spread the weight of your leg/body to the remaining 3 corners of your feet evenly. (Possibly you’ll now need to re-fluff your toes.)

You might sustain such (balanced pronation) bliss for, oh, 2 seconds or so at first (if you’re lucky!). And then your reflexive pattern will probably contort your inner arch back to how it’s used to being.

No worries! When you’re ready… find it again. And again.  This little practice has big BIG rewards (decreased strain on the plantar fascia, reduction of bunions, better ankle stability, etc). I like to do it while I type blogs, drive cars, and stand at the sink to wash dishes. (Note: a simmering little ache in outer ankle muscles or inner ankle area is normal at first…. that is your body remodeling to the dimensions you seek.)


I have to admit: this one is much more difficult than the last blog. But the big toe root is foundational for your consciously-manifested core power! Re-fluff… and good luck!