Here again is my first video on the concepts of DNS and how to use them:
And here is the second video:
Sorry if my tone is a little hushed. My son was sleeping during the recording of these videos, and I didn’t want to wake him up with my boisterous exuberance!
But as a quick review, here’s why this stuff matters:
The organization of the human body and human movement develops according to the predictable and progressive appearance of ontogenic (species-wide) reflex locomotor programs in the nervous system (“Developmental Kinesiology”).
These programs build upon one another to create healthy and normal human movement.
Our habitual patterns of movement over time (caused by cultural cues, physical restrictions or injuries, or over- or under-use) lead us to fall out of the use of those optimal patterns.
Returning to those patterns can restore optimal function.
Breathing is a primary requirement for the health of the body.
Most systems are prioritized around breathing and the use of oxygen.
That includes the stabilization function of the diaphragm on the spine.
The stabilization function of the diaphragm (co-)activates the other muscles of the abdominal cavity including the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques, quadratus lumborum, multifidi and interspinals, and muscles of the pelvic floor.
The intercostal muscles of the ribcage (and “higher” muscles – scaleni, etc.) and the deep musculature of the hips (internal rotators, etc.) are also activated by this process (i.e., the pressurization of the abdominal cavity through a (gently or forcefully) “resisted” external expansion (caused by the downward contraction of the diaphragm)).
Function of the diaphragm is inhibited if the ribcage and pelvis are “offset” from one another (in the “open scissors” syndrome for instance). That is, the pelvis and ribcage need to be “level” with one another in relation to the spinal column for the diaphragm to function optimally. Hence, we start by practicing while lying on our backs on the ground (this helps to create optimal pelvis and diaphragm/ribcage alignment).
Every movement requires a “punctum fixum” – a point of stabilization – from which it can occur.
As the stabilization function of the diaphragm provides stabilization for the torso and hips, the scapulae provide stabilization for the arms. “Set” the scapulae by gently drawing them down (caudally, or inferiorly – toward the feet) and out toward the edges of the ribcage (laterally). (I’ll demonstrate this move specifically in Part 3).
I’ve already covered technical aspects of movement from the DNS perspective in other posts (here, here, and here, with more thoughts here), so go read those if you’re interested in that.
This is a slow and “felt” process. It is a process of becoming attuned to the function of your body. It takes time and sensitive awareness. It also takes repetition.
But I have seen the two simple series of movements above “fix” longstanding postural, musculoskeletal, and motor “problems” in my clients, in a very short amount of time – and I’ve felt their effect on my own system.
There are descriptions of proper form/technique from ancient (and recent) martial arts masters of various disciplines.
For the most part, these descriptions are descriptions of symptoms (what the master is noticing internally), or signs (what other people are noticing about the master’s movement/structure).
But only rarely do we (the student, reader, viewer) receive descriptions (and/or instructions) that actually help us to recreate that feeling within ourselves.
It’s part of the difficult thing about movement disciplines in general – How do you relay a bodily feeling in such a way that another person can reproduce it in themselves?
The old martial arts manuals relied heavily on metaphors and poetry (or “songs”). There’d be the the “song of the dragon’s tail,” etc., giving you metaphorical descriptions of the movement in question.
More recent manuals and methods include more “anatomical” descriptions of correct form – “The chest is sunken, the back is straight, the tailbone tucks under” etc.
What all of these instructions and methods are aiming at is describing a physiological state of the body, in which the body is optimized for a certain type of movement.
The Supine Sagittal Stabilization movement in DNS offers another way to achieve the “optimal” posture described by most martial arts masters.