Tutorial #2426

The Midline and Plumb Line

10 min - Tutorial


Become aware of your midline and your plumb line in this this tutorial with Ken Gilbert. He separates the body into halos so you can feel the joint actions of the spine more easily. He also shows how his student Jane is a wonderful example of how an 84 year old body can move.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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(Pace N/A)
Dec 13, 2015
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I'm Ken Gilbert here at [inaudible] any time and I'm doing a tutorial in my study of the body's way of being with midline and with plum line every year. I seem to come forward with the focus last year with the five joint actions of the spine. We'll be working with those in both the class as well as the the session that I do today. And Jane heres been a longtime student since 1999 when she came to Santa Barbara Athletic Club as part of the wealth at program healing recovery from cancer, breast cancer and and she's been a devoted student for years and in our devotion become very wise in her body. And I thought what a great opportunity for the world to see what an 84 year old woman looks like when she cares about her body and the way she learns in her body. So the five joints actions of the spine was what we covered.

I covered last year and what we explore this last year into another aspect of it. The the spine will do forward flection. I've got this little spring. The spine will do. Imagine this, the nose, so this is the nose. The spine will do forward flection. The spine will do extension the spine, we'll do lateral flection. And then as I've discussed with Amy many times, it actually does lateral extension. Then it does rotation where the spine will rotate at different places. Then one of the thing it will do circumduction usually if the bottom of the rib cage it will do circumduction. So there's those five joint actions of the spine.

So in the study of last year, I got curious and said, okay, so that was last year. What's this year? And I realized that what I want to play with is the relationship of the spine from the front and from the side. So Jane's gonna Stand up and we're gonna let hers, we're going to play with her midline. Now this is not assessment, this is just about how do we move from the spine. So here we have midline and I Bhante with one. Here we have midline and midline is separating right to left.

And then from the side face me is we have plumb line. And I like to think of it as from the ankle bone, all the way up to the ear through the crown of the head. So those two lines, what are our, what we'll play with today in both the class as well as the session. So being aware of those two lines, I realized, okay, what has happening here that makes it interesting in movement in our theater company, my wife and I, e Bonnie Lewis and myself, we play with the spine, body center and gesture. That's how character is created. And in my teaching of both Polonius and Nia, I'm always observing and witnessing what happens when somebody is moving dynamically or in mobility and stability. So in doing that, how does the body work in mid line and plum line? So standing up again, what I realized is we have basically five halos that we want to play with a halo in, in the Fletcher work, we played with a space right above the knee. When the inner thighs come together, that anchors into the feet.

So we start with the foot centers, then up to this halo if you will. Here. Then we have a halo here at the hips, the pelvis, hip to hip. Then we have a halo. The interesting one that's had been a real journey for me this year is a halo at the rim of the diaphragm or the bottom rim of the rib cage in the shoulder joint here from, from shoulder to shoulder across the scapulas cross, the shoulder blades as well as the eyes. The eyes are the ones that fascinate me the most in regards to looking up and looking out into the world.

So five Halos from the front would be the midline of the one, two not necessarily priority of number four and five. Then if she turned sideways, we'll see that the five halos are existing in this way as well. So we have halo with the eyes at the shoulder girdle, at the bottom, rim of the rib cage, the diaphragm as well as the hip. And then down here at the knees we can actually lower it down. Go ahead and step out of the hoop.

We can lower it down to the ankle bones and that makes it interesting in another way. So what I want Jane to do here is play with arms reaching up, overhead size stent, Stanford to me, arms reaching up overhead and then as we'll do in class, send the energy through your fingertips. So palms facing in head, neck, shoulders and arms. Rounding over. So now she's taken the halo of the eyes. Now she's going into the relationship of the halo or the shoulder girl. Now she's going into relationship of the halo at the diaphragm and now she's going into relationship of that as she tips forward. Now she's playing with the halo with the hip joint, hip to hip pubis to sacrum, rounding over. Now when coming up, she'll reconstitute those Halos.

So she plays with this halo between the NFS or the ankle bones. It allows her to play with anchoring into the base. Now she's coming up into the diaphragm, the rim of the rib cage, then into the shoulder girdle and then into the eyes. Now watching this woman from the back is very inspiring. You have to turn. That was a good rotation though. Yeah.

So arms go up over the head as you would for the roll down. Now Watch her work. This is, this is because I'm asking a much more awareness about where are the eyes focused. Not going up nor down, but level with the top of the spine. We know that the top of the spine is actually there and we're looking out through the third eye or the eyes. So she rounds over, head, neck, shoulders and arms. Now reaching deep underneath the diaphragmatic rim. Now she's very good about this widening here and lengthening here. So this last week, getting ready for the tutorial, there's a cross stay right there for a second. There's a cross here, there's a cross long here and wide here.

So there's a reference cross that puts her into her shoulder girdle. So now her eyes are doing the same thing with the head if we want to play with it that way. And then going down a little bit lower. Now she's into the Lumbar, so she's now going from the diaphragm into the the hip halo and now she round over and the table weren't here. Then she would round over and we would act actually super tip her pubis forward. We'll do that in class later. [inaudible] oh no, I want them to see you roll up now. Let the arms hang down and roll up. Place your sacred first halo at the hips. Inner thighs here.

Now the diaphragm. Look at this woman's back work and then the shoulder girdle. And here she goes right into her neck and her head. So that's clear articulation of these five Halos. No, show off a little bit this way. Arms go up overhead. Now the Halos here, she's stabilizing at the ankle bones or above the knee. At the hips. Nope, we're going to the extension. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. And the diaphragm here. The Halo here. Now she's going into upper back extension. She's taking her head with her spine.

So this is a cue that I work on all the time with peoples to look out through your eyes. Now she's going into her upper back extension. The halos are now in relationship. So what we want to play with this, there's another drop your head back just a moment. Yeah. Now the head, the halo, the head is out of alignment in the sense of the curve of the extension. Drop Your Chin down too far. Yeah. Even more. Even more now our halos causing her to get confused in her spine. She's not clearly articulating the extension, so this is playing with the front and the back of the, of the midline and then the plumb line in relationship to the midline.

So go ahead and bring your arms down. You know what's something else that we want to play with it so you can show off turn, turn your back again. Yeah. And reach your arms forward. Yeah, forward here. Out here. Yeah. Pull your shoulder blades together and pull your shoulder blades apart. Now the challenge with this kind of activity is that we want to be sure that the head floats the eyes, the halo of the eyes stays level to the floor and that we articulate just there.

Now this is the big deal for me this year. Go ahead and put your arms overhead as you did before the serratus. This has been a breakthrough for me this year. The serratus area. It helps us define the rim of the diaphragm. It also helps us separate the pelvis from the chest through this midline here, this, this division here. So can you do the hip hip thing going to turn out?

It's going to turn out okay. Yup. And Go hip, hip and hip. Hip and hip. Hip and hip. So what she's doing now, she's playing with the typewriter, back and forth, back and forth. So now that's activating Securitas, anterior and posterior, anterior and posterior. So now we bring the arms down here in front of the chest. Now do you remember that we worked on this this morning. The rib cage, rib cage, ribcage, rib cage. Now the cool thing about this, a very exciting part about this is when we go into the anterior and posterior Serratus, we really do start to understand more clearly the diaphragmatic rim.

This is become very important for me this year. One of the reasons why I went into plots at all in 1994 was that I wanted to be able to come back to center. Go ahead, come back to center. Coming back to center meeting energetically as well as physically, structurally, mechanically, as well as in my expressivity. Then when finding Ron Fletcher in 96 it got even deeper. So this is all now coming from an evolution of working these 20 plus years and finding the midline, the midline, as well as the plum line, and how do we play with those Halos to give it dynamic so that it stays in the sense of movement more than mechanical exercise.

So we have mid line, we have plum line, and we have five Halos. Thank you.


4 people like this.
First, I am very moved and impressed by how Jane is looking and moving. She looks so young in her body AND in her eyes! After spending the last weekend with my mother-in-law, who is 85 and her sister, who is 89, and both move so slow, so stiff, bend over and afraid, Jane seems to be 20 years younger.
And Ken, I think I was confused with the loop and imagined the halos as big as the loop - far away from the body. I could´t really feel what you mean. But thinking about it I imagined the halos close to the body, actually IN the body, to find the relation to each other. Is that what you mean?
Kathleen M
2 people like this.
I actually didn't understand the halo concept either...
What a great inspiration Jane is to us all!
Silke, and Kathleen . . . the halos are about relationships of body landmarks; physically and energetically. The hula hoop is only a reference "line" of each - inner thighs (or ankles), hips, diaphragm, shoulders and head (eyes). Each halo is in relationship with the one above and below; each halo is small and large . . . inside and outside the body. Rather than a straight line at any of the landmarks, the energy is more circular or around the landmark. The hula hoop allows you to see the halo as energy that is in relationship to the mid-line and plumb-line while it is “hovering” at the site.
Educational and inspirational! Thank you for mentioning not only her age, but also when she started. Her commitment is a great reminder to start, no matter what age you are.
The 'halo' is a great three dimensional reference. Better than a MRI v. X-ray reference.
Thank you for this interesting Tutorial!! I think the demonstration with the stick and the hula hoop are great!!
Thank you Jane, you are a inspiration!!!!
Hydie, and Ira . . . thank you for your comments. Jane is an ageless inspiration as she continues to study and move everyday; constantly asking questions and sharing her experiences. As her husband's dementia develops more and more she is active in spite of his slowness.

The halos are a conceptual image that supports the way of seeing the mid- and plumb-lines; all in relationship to the spine joint action.
Jane is truly an inspiration! She's done her homework and it shows.
Kathryn . . . in my working with Jane, she has become a great teacher; she is serious and committed to making her body serve her into this part of her life. I often tease her about hanging out with us "kids"; her contemporaries are not nearly as healthy, fit, agile or willing to do what she does in her body. And . . . everybody loves Jane . . . a great benefit for her!
Jane you are super inspiring!!
I loved the image of halos. Makes me think of the numbers or colors of Kathy Grant.
Your demo with a hula hoop cercle made me swinging my halos, this was great fun. Especially with James Brown "get on up" in the mind like in the ad for 'Perrier'
Claudia . . . I love hearing that my teaching inspires . . . Thank YOU!
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