We talk about The Dailey Method as a physical practice and a “life practice” – but what does that really mean? It means that many of the things we practice in The Dailey Method are the same things we can practice in life – that small, intentional changes made in a class can trigger BIG shifts in our bodies and our lives. A practice that is integral (balanced, interconnected, whole) is a practice that supports a more balanced, easeful and joyful body and life.
Our TDM Alignment Principles serve as guidelines for an integral practice, and our seasoned students know that the first thing we always do is “ALIGN” – we can take this literally to be about first placing our bones in the proper positions but we can also take it deeper to mean that we begin with intention of the mind, and we practice inside-out of both mind and body. One way to do that is to use mindfulness, which is awareness and intentional presence or focus. When we combine that with physical alignment, it gives us that full mind-body practice. Here are three simple steps to help you align during your Dailey Method practice:
- Arrive – use warm-up and the beginning of class to fully “arrive” in the moment and practice presence (we spend a lot of our lives not really paying attention to things as we are doing them, and therefore are not really “here”)
- Notice – Notice your BODY: What does your body feel like today? What feels good in your body? What feels not so great? Observe your body and notice it talking to you. Notice your THOUGHTS: Your brain is like a machine; it never stops producing thoughts (like a running tape) – without trying to control them, notice your thoughts and just notice if they are helpful thoughts, or not. Notice your EMOTIONS: Again, don’t try to control them, just notice emotions that may be present. Bring awareness to them. Your body, thoughts and emotions collectively are the energy that you are “bringing” to your Dailey Method practice (and to your life) – notice what you’re bringing.
- Begin with Intention – Once you are present and aware, you are ready to begin. We practice inside-out, so first begin with your innermost self: Set an intention, dedication or focus for your practice each day. Make it simple, own it, and keep coming back to it. After you’ve got your “innermost self” aligned, take your inside-out practice to the next level and align your bones! Our skeleton is the architecture of our body, like the framework of a building… Let your TDM teachers help you learn how to align your bones optimally – and as you learn how this looks and feels in class, try to carry your practice with you and align your bones throughout your day.
As you practice this month, remember to ALIGN is to: 1) Arrive, 2) Notice, and 3) Begin with Intention. We do this every class, every exercise, and every new moment in class. And as we get better at this in the studio, we get better at it in life.
In July and August we’ll focus on “ENGAGE” and “MOVE” to continue practicing our Dailey Method alignment principles circle.
For now, happy aligning!
-- Jill and Lorna