5 Pillars of Practice

A successful movement practice — one that fuels you, nourishes you, and lets you explore your mind and body — is built on these 5 pillars:

Pillars1. Basic Instruction

The first pillar of your movement practice is basic instruction. No matter what kind of movement art you are learning, you need some clear and simple “how-to” instruction to get going.

There are three main ways to get basic instruction: in-person with a qualified teacher, through high quality DVDs and books, or through free resources like articles, YouTube videos, and tutorials on the web.

2. Motivation

Motivation is a funny concept because many of us think that it will take us from where we are to where we want to go. That’s only partially true. Motivation is a spark that shows you what the future could be like, but if we borrow a running analogy, it’s fuel for a sprint, not a marathon.

Cultivating a long-term, rewarding movement practice is an endurance event, not a short burst sprint. You need sparks of motivation for course correction and re-assurance when you’re not clear on where you want to go.

Or, to quote Lao Tzu:  “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

My goal is to provide you with the occasional spark, in part by telling you about other people who are running the same race.

3. Feedback and Guidance

Even if you see your destination on the horizon and you have some of the basic tools that will get you there, you are still going to need feedback and guidance from people who have been down the same road.

I can give you feedback on your movement practice in person, through live classes, workshops and private lessons, and remotely, through ever-changing collaborative media that makes this easier and easier.

4. Hands-on Corrections

When you’re learning movement, there comes a time when getting hands-on correction is essential.

No matter how many times someone tells you “drop your shoulder” and you can’t feel it, you won’t make a lasting adjustment. The only way to solve the problem is through tactile guidance.

I’m in Boston and I do some traveling for workshops, but I also belong to two different networks of very well-trained, smart, and enthusiastic instructors. Let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll do my best to connect you with someone who can help.

5. Repetition

This last one is all on you. Nothing left to do, but practice.

Smart repetition — practice that is built on the other four pillars — is what truly brings you fruit. My Tai Chi teacher Bruce Frantzis likes to describe this as the difference between reading the menu and eating the food. There’s a world of difference between knowing what’s in a dish, how it’s prepared, and how much salt you like on it and actually eating the food — from smelling it, tasting it, chewing, swallowing and then letting your body process it so it actually turns into energy you can use.

The secret ingredient is practice and I hope these pillars help you get everything you want out of your movement practice.