As in any journey you must have some idea of where you are going in order to chart the path to get to your destination. It is not enough to just massage a horse. You must understand what it is you are trying to accomplish for that horse and always know how to adjust your road map to get there. I know it seems like a stretch to look to Tai Chi Chuan as a form of massage and bodywork, yet every time I put my hands on a body I am looking to the principles of movement to guide my hands on the journey to the destination.
The Five Principles of Natural Movement are:
- Relax – all movement must be relaxed so the natural grace of the body shines through. Any winning athlete will instinctively use that natural grace for their advantage.
- The body must be upright and centered in such a way as to make good use of gravity which leads to refined balance, timing and feel.
- Separate Yin from Yang sounds very esoteric yet translated it is simply learning to feel up from down, left from right and front to back. Basically knowing where a body is kinesthetically in time and space. Feeling our being in the world.
- Moving from our center give us refined coordination and integrated movement that creates the athleticism for all the sports we love to play.
- Soft hands are a result of the 4 other principles coming together which takes us away from grabbing for our balance with our hands.
In the sparring form of Tai Chi Chuan we feel for our opponents balance point and topple her out of balance. In equine massage I look where the horses are struggling with their balance and use my hands to reset their alignment through relaxation thereby reseting their natural balance point.