Heba explores The Franklin Method
In the Fix classes we often include imagery in our exercises to help us achieve better posture. When I say 'imagine the string at the top of your head pulling you up, lengthening you through your spine', you automatically feel yourself growing taller. When I call on you to imagine or visualise 'your pelvis as a deep salad bowl filled with water and tipping the bowl forwards and backwards', you are using your mind to form images to help bring different parts of your body into more neutral alignments. This helps your brain to connect its nerve pathways better, so the new alignment or movement comes freely.
Imagery and the mind-body connection is one of the principles in The Franklin Method. The Franklin Method teaches us how to use our minds to control our body's movements. It works on the principle that movement starts in the brain. So if you want to change your body, you need to change your mind first. The images and words you form in your mind will influence the way your body moves and exercises.
For instance, if you have negative feelings or images of doing an exercise such as the abdominal curl or sit up – for it brings on your neck pain or tightness or it's too hard- then even before you have started the exercise, you have set yourself up for poor form. You may lift shoulders towards your ears and create tension and stress in that area. However, if you take a few moments to prepare the exercise in your mind with positive imagery, you can achieve great results without stressing your body. Next time you attempt sit ups, try visualising the exercise in your mind without pain or tightness. Imagine soft shoulders melting away from your ears like ice cream, or imagine a buoyant balloon lifting and supporting the base of your skull as if it is weightless.
The Franklin Balls
Have you ever used a tennis ball to help massage out your aches and pains? The Franklin Method is all about this- using balls and imagery to roll and release away tension. Franklin Balls and the Franklin Mini Roll, mouldable plastic filled with air, are soft and efficient in releasing muscle tension. Did you know that if you apply imagery exercises with the Franklin Balls can help release out tensions in your muscles more easily?
There are many different imagery exercises that work well with the ball exercises. Here are a few that you can practice at home for your tension areas. Try with a tennis ball. Choose the one that works best for you.
- Place the ball under a tension spot. Focus your mind on the centre of that spot and imagine the area spreading out like rays of sunshine or imagine the area unravelling like a ball of wool.
- Use your breathing to help relieve the tension spot. Imagine yourself breathing into the area and as you breathe out, imagine blowing away all of the tension.
- Focus on the tension area and just keep imagining it melting like butter or cream. Imagine the tension point dissolving like a sugar cube in a cup of hot tea.
- Imagine your muscles flowing in a certain direction like a waterfall or river out of your body taking the tension away with them.
You can also add movement or "Ball Rolling" for even more release of your muscles and joints, but still keeping in mind these mental images. Here are 2 exercises you can try to help relieve and relax your muscles.
- Place the Franklin Mini Roll under the base of your skull at your neck. Slowly nod your head forward and back. Imagine the Mini Roll massaging away all the tension in your neck muscles. Imagine it reaching deep into your neck. Imagine the Mini Roll as a rolling pin creating smooth soft dough. Rest and repeat and notice how free and relaxed your neck feels.
- Place the Franklin Balls under your lower back, each one either side of your spine. Have your knees bent with feet on the floor and knees together. Do gentle spine rolls by letting the knees fall together to the right then to the left. Imagine the Franklin balls massaging out any tension in your back muscles using some of the imagery above. Move the Franklin balls higher to other areas of your back and repeat.
I'll leave off with a few words of Eric Franklin.
"First see in your mind what you want to experience in your life."