Floating compression models are a funny thing. While they were invented in the late 1940s, they never ever caught the fancy of the public–or even science and engineering communities. Buckminster Fuller studied and wrote about these models extensively, but his studies of the geodesic dome were far more popular. Only in the decade have more than a few pioneers ever considered our bodies as a tensile network of floating bones. Even though Scientific American had an article about tensegrity back in 1998, the idea still hasn’t caught on.

In short, the body/mind workers here are learning one of the most geeked-out secrets of the 20th Century. And many of you know it far better than I do: you know this stuff in your bones.

There are vast dividends in working with this high-tech crowd into your classes and studios. These people are fascinated by technology. When they begin to realize the magic of controlling the tensional networks in their bodies, they can bring a fierce kind of loyalty to you and your studio. They’ll bring a special kind of enthusiasm to class, and they’ll think and discuss your teaching with their friends.

The trick is to be ready when they start to have questions.

After I’d been participating in Pilates classes for about 3 months, I remember an instructor telling a fellow student after class that Pilates can lengthen the spine. To me, that was a strange statement; the only way I figured one could lengthen a spine was to grow the bones. I smiled at my instructor, but I certainly remember thinking that she was just a little bit crazy. However, I did keep coming to class.

This created a dilemma: while I saw clear and positive results from doing Pilates, I couldn’t reconcile what was happening against how I knew my body worked. It never ever occurred to me that the “levers and hinges” model I was using was flawed. If I didn’t resolve this dilemma, I eventually would have stopped coming to class.

How many of you have had run across people like that: smart clients who were improving who suddenly disappeared?

Fortunately, I had some wise teachers. My Pilates teacher, Kerry, referred me to a Feldenkrais instructor. Gil referred me to Thomas Myers’s fabulous text Anatomy Trains At that point, I began to realize how little I knew. More precisely, I realized that my knowledge of my personal structure and movement was rife with misconceptions.

Ultimately, I created two principles of Floating Bones from these conversations:

5 Stacking-based imagery about our bodies is pervasive in our culture; such imagery literally holds us down.

6 By carefully observing ourselves and nature, it is possible to realize a
different metaphor: floating compression.

These are probably the two most important ideas to get across to your Engineer and Scientist clients. However, I recommend waiting until they begin to bump up against #5 on their own — when they start to realize that there’s something other than the geometry and physics of their bodies that is holding them down.

Body/mind instructors: what experiences have you had in dealing with high-tech clients? What worked? What didn’t?

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