MKMMA Week 21 — Heart Stance

I’ve played piano since I was seven years old. When I was in high school, my keyboard agility was easy, natural, and quite accomplished. I don’t know why, but sometime in my late 20’s or early 30’s that changed. There was no physical injury, but the ease went away, especially from my right hand. The Hand Doctors affirmed I have no physical problem.

When I related my experience to a piano coach a few years ago, she exclaimed, “Well, your right hand had a nervous breakdown!” That is definitely the best assessment of my experience.

Nevertheless, for decades I’ve been continuing to practice, and perform, and make steady progress back to ease. It’s been fascinating how my intention to improve, and my commitment to consistent practicing, have brought me inspirations for change from many different places. The latest inspiration was Mark’s suggestion of the Power Stance.open-arms_alive-1250975_640

In my interpretation of Mark’s suggestion, I stand in the shape of a Big X, arms uplifted and legs in a wide stance. My shoulders had plenty to say about that position!! I felt a lot of stretch in the muscles. I also felt very exposed and vulnerable, especially around my heart, and I’ve had to learn how to hold the stance and find a way to breathe. It caused a lot of “good discomfort”.

I have continued to work with my shoulders especially, when I’m standing or seated,  walking or playing piano. It generates a completely different sense of self and much improved upper body posture. At first it felt completely foreign, requiring constant conscious effort. It caused pain in my shoulders that are LONG used to being slumped forward.

The pain is pretty well gone now. My body is starting to remind me that it prefers the new alignment. Repeatedly throughout the day I find opportunities to open my posture while doing simple tasks.

And BONUS — I’m enjoying added dexterity on the piano. My back and shoulders are self-supporting, freeing up my hands and fingers to move.

And quite significantly, I’m now often breathing while I play piano. For years I’ve been aware of holding my breath while playing. Conscious awareness of that never changed my breathing at all. This better alignment is starting to free up my breathing, too.

This all makes me recall George, a native elder whom I heard comment at a meeting in Toronto recently. He said Westerners tend to think with their brain and their intellect. Native Americans, on the other hand, strive to think from their heart, the seat of intuition and wisdom.

The more I adopt this open position, the more I feel able to lead from my heart. My mind is learning to simply observe, instead of trying to run the show.

I’m gaining deep learning from this postural transformation. It will be a while before it becomes my automatic posture, but that’s fine.

I appreciate this nudge away from my lifelong habit into a more wholesome way of being, and I LOVE finding new ease in my music making!

masterkeyinsights - March 12, 2016

Wow! It never occurred to me that the power poses would have a physical effect as well. Truly amazing

    lindasue88 - March 16, 2016

    Yes. My shoulders are still teaching me every day. I’m grateful.

MKMMA Week 21 — Heart Stance | annesmasterkey - March 12, 2016

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annesmasterkey - March 12, 2016

Just had a thought, earlier in the course someone included a diagram in their post showing the correct alignment for our legs, arms and eyes when at the computer. When you were 7 your eyes would have been nearly level with the music, as you grew you have had to look down to it I presume, perhaps you need to lift the music up to eye level? Let me know what you think. Cheers Anne

    lindasue88 - March 16, 2016

    hee hee, I mostly play from memory, & either have my eyes closed or gaze about 30 degrees up. & as it turns out, the music rack on my piano puts my music at eye level.

annesmasterkey - March 12, 2016

Lindasue Its fantastic that you have liberated your neck and shoulder muscles, When I get tense that is where I tighten and my muscles knot, I often feel it in my lower back but when I get a massage it is always my neck and shoulders that need treating. If you havent the space to do the power stance you can still roll shoulders back and ‘thrust your bust’ to ease the tension and open your chest and lungs. So glad you are regaining that freedom in your playing.

Liane - March 8, 2016

Letting go of the old habit and implementing the better one is never easy, your body nicely showed you that.Great that you persevered.

Master Key Reenen - March 1, 2016

The power stance is awesome, glad that you are using it, I am proud of you for keeping up with the paino

    lindasue88 - March 16, 2016

    Thx for your appreciation. Piano playing is something that I’ve chosen, or that has chosen me, that is a place for my evolution. My playing is like a computer printout of my soul status. And a lot of my creative thoughts get delivered while I’m playing. & that power stance is indeed awesome, I agree.

masterkeyalangoldberg - March 1, 2016

Glad that you are getting the ease back in your playing and that the Power Stance is so effective. Maybe we should adopt the practice as it seems to have quite a few health benifits.

    lindasue88 - March 16, 2016

    Yes, I’ve definitely adopted the Power Stance as an ongoing learning & balancing tool.

MKMMAwendyht - March 1, 2016

Aloha Linda, Oh, that’s grrrreat that the Power Stance has helped you in so many ways!!! Wonderful news. Mahalo for sharing so openly. Yours in Gratitude, Light & Love, Peace & Joy wendyht

mommamccracken - March 1, 2016

Good advice for all to do victory pose – gaining more than just confidence!

dannycl - March 1, 2016

Hmmmmm…… How interesting! Perhaps I should adopt this pose. Perhaps my fingers will work better while playing the guitar. 🙂
Thanks for the suggestion Linda.

    lindasue88 - March 16, 2016

    OOOh yeah. Nothing like Power Fingers!!

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