In my personal practice, moving in and out, across and through the floor is a key element. In this collection of videos and articles I want to give insights into my thoughts behind such a floor practice.
Why and How can such a practice be relevant to keep you healthy? How can you find a sense of groundedness through such a practice? How can you soften the body when meeting hard floor?
Practicing on hard floor
If you have ever tried rolling around hard floor, you have probably noticed that we in fact have bones. Yes, that’s right. Bones and hard floor are not the best friends, at least not in the beginning. And since the lockdown and for some of us hard floor being the only valid option to move on, I created this video.
In the first part of this video I am showing my way of becoming friends with hard floor: patience, adaptation, slowing down and strategizing.
In the second part I show that different kinds of floor allow for different kinds of movement and that each floor has certain pros and cons – depending what you want to do. Like playing the guitar on different guitars will produce different sounds and hence different songs and styles, practicing on wood, sand, grass, concrete, gravel or any other floor will potentially inspire you to move differently and also will produce a different style. Worth investigating.
Floor Entries for a diverse and soothing floor practice
In this video I myself and Flo, a student and friend from Munich, showcase some relatively easy floor entries (from easy to a bit more complex) which you can try to copy.
Note: these videos do not serve as full tutorials or breakdowns. For a full version check out my Finding Flow Online Programs or Workshops.
The focus while practicing should be on continuity (moving in a rather slow but continuous tempo), clarity (being precise which parts guide the movement and which can be relaxed) and reducing effort (how can you place your limbs for easy transitions, etc.). These scores should be practiced often and with a lot of awareness in order to manifest themselves in your movement.
To end the practice you can openly explore both the patterns and the scores in some rounds of free improvisation. No fancy moves, but a lot of clarity, relaxation and ease!
Diving into the Floor
A practice of entering and moving across the floor, riding momentum and taming gravity.
This part of my practice, the floor part, is like home to me. The feeling of groundedness and suppleness that comes with it is just great and it makes me come back again and again.
Actually, out of all parts of my practice, moving across the floor feels the most therapeutic and calming. The constant pressure on muscle and the needed softness (especially on hard floor) produce a wonderful sensation.
Currently when doing my floorpractice I focus mostly on the connection from head to pelvis, how I can squeeze my spine through space and how my limbs can support this sensation.
Lastly, by trying to ride the wave of momentum, placing my limbs in most supportive positions and letting go where no tension is needed, I try to search for minimal effort.
Floor Practice & Low Level Motion
Moving across the floor can be done in various styles and using different techniques that fit to the setting. In martial arts like Brazilian JiuJitsu (while I have minimal experience it’s way too little to give in depth knowledge) you also move across the floor – the moves are limited by the rules and objectives of the practice though.
There are more freeformpractices like floorwork, locomotion, floreio, animal movement just to name a few that also deal with the topic floor, you and motion. Usually there are certain unwritten rules (which are quite malleable) to how one moves in those practices. I have been studying quite a few of such practices and took what I resonate with and left behind what didn’t serve me.
It seems like I prefer pathways that do not require so much strength (as „locomotion“ practices for example do a bit more) but can be solved with technical use of momentum and body organization.
The last months I have also been connecting floor moves to animalistic qualities that jungle cats might possess.
Diving into the Floor – A quick introduction
I am really fascinated with and passionate about the idea of moving in and out of the floor, using gravity, your body and the floor to your advantage and building a movement vocabulary around that subject.
While movements like these shown in the video will be most likely associated with dance, acrobatics or other freestyle forms, I do believe in the great value they offer for all people – not only dancers or specialized groups – interested in keeping their body healthy, vital and supple.
So the interesting question I propose is: How can we use the floor and gravity to our advance?
RESILIENCE: depending on how hard the floor is, rolling over the floor massages your muscles, toughens your joints and builds resilience in your body
MOBILIZATION: through the many movement possibilities and various shapes your body will go through, your whole apparatus (and especially your spine) will get mobilized and a feeling of suppleness and length will occur after practicing
STRENGTH: since gravity is always there and we’re constantly moving from up to down, a strength adaptation is inevitable (less linear strength more „organic strength“)
EFFICIENCY: most importantly we learn to minimize muscular effort for maximum efficiency and smoothness (a sense of effortlessness)
GROUNDING: the floor becomes your playground and not something that scares you, a feeling of security and competency
There are many more benefits of a floor-practice but these are some very interesting ones to think about.
Another video from last weekends Finding Flow Workshop hosted by @movementbielefeld – thank you again, Julian!
Over the course of the Weekend I proposed an idea how to make sense of the broad topic of „floor communication“ – the ability to move in and out of the floor, from up to down using techniques or improvised patterns.
Before showing some of my go to patterns which are easily learnable for beginners and can be adapted for more advanced students, I like to introduce open-form games so that the participants can explore the floor by themselves, feel the connections between their bodies and the floor and find individual strategies to move on/in and out/across the floor in multiple layers.
In this Demo I tried to show how you can find transitions between the given elements and continuously move between the layers. My workshops are mainly frequented by beginner/intermediate movers and my main interest is to give an introduction to the topic and still, already an understanding of basic moves and principles can result in quite a diverse and variation-rich practice!
Communicating with the floor, gravity and habitual movement patterns.
The idea of moving in and out of the floor, communicating with it is very appealing to me. The last years of my practice were more or less dedicated to that matter and I’m yet to scratch the surface.
While practicing I often think about what great benefits a practice of moving in and out of the floor has – not only for specific disciplines like dance or acrobatics or that sort but for every human being in general.
The variety of shapes and maneuvers that your body goes through, the ever existing force of gravity that has to be overcome and the continuous search for efficiency and suppleness.
What can you learn from the floor and gravity?
How can you move in this gravitational force field with ease and weightless?
A practice of bringing your center of mass close to the floor and far away again without the use of external objects seems to be a practice for longevity and vitality.
This videos is just one interpretation of how such a practice can look like.
Diving into the Floor Sequences, try out!
I created these sequences a while ago just for personal research, stumbled upon them again today and thought why not share with you. I think they are nice and they feel soothing.
If you want to imitate, look closely, where to place the hands, in which direction to spin etc.
Feel free to repost, tag me and I will happily create a story with all of your interpretations.