Chief Instructor: Sifu John C. Loupos - Since 1968

Movements for Sensing and Freeing the Sacrum and Cranium

Review by Martha Peterson. CHSE

This CD by Tai Chi teacher and Somatic Educator John Loupos, is comprised of 5 lessons, each of them short enough that one is encouraged to focus on a very specific area of the sacrum and cranium and then allow time for the lesson to sink in sensorily. John's voice is very sonorous and easy to listen to, and his use of description and verbage is creative and highly specific, adding to the overall effect of the lessons.

Lesson One: In this lesson John gives extremely specific directions, advising the participant that what s/he is doing is not exercise as much as sensing and experiencing. He sets the stage for the way in which he wants the participant to absorb and engage with the movements. We begin with a simply arch and flatten and then learn to move the pelvis/sacral area on several different planes -“north, south, east and west” - horizontal, vertical and diagonal and in circles. The diectional cues are excellent and the discussion of the extensor and flexor muscles are helpful in understanding reflexive movements of the body. There is a fair amount of discussion of differentiation, sensing and awareness, all of which is helpful in focusing the participant on the goal of these lessons.

Lesson Two: We begin the lesson with an all too brief examination of arch and flatten. It would be beneficial to have a quick review of arch and flatten for those unfamiliar with this kind of work. We are led through an interesting exercise designed to increase awareness in the sacrum - creating tiny circles within a grid of 9 boxes. This might be somewhat complicated and a bit too complex for the beginner, however it is intrinsically a challenging and interesting lesson.

Lesson Three: This lesson repeats with the cranium what we learned in lesson one with the sacrum - moving the cranium on several different planes, up and down, side to side and in circles. A bit more explanation as to the relationship of the movements of the head and the rest of the body would have been helpful.

Lesson Four: We are reminded that these sessions are “visitations” and that we are going to a place other than where we typically reside. His explanation helps to remind us to stay present to all that is new and different during these movements. In this lesson John brings together the relationship between the sacrum and the cranium, experimenting with movement in one area, then the other and guiding us to notice the differences. He revisits creating tiny circles in a “tic tac toe” grid (from lesson 2) with the cranium and guides us in creating even larger circles with the cranium as he brings the relationship between the movement in the head and the corresponding movement in the sacrum to our awareness. This is an excellent lesson.

Lesson 5: Called a “postscript”, John guides us through a visualization (motor planning) of the intended movement (arch and flatten) before we actually do it. He tells us that it is here, in the internal sensing before actual movement, that our “intention alchemizes into action and where our attention offers us the greatest prospect of benefit.” He encourages us to use this method in order to deepen our somatic explorations and leaves us with much to contemplate and inform our future somatic movement experiences.

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