lead with your body
trust your heart to know the way
lean into courage
One of the crucial skills to master in flying trapeze is the ability to twist to your back before landing in the net after coming off the fly bar.
It’s called a “half-out.”
The ability to twist quickly to land on your back in the net is fundamental to a flyer’s safety if something goes wrong at the catch point or if the flyer misses the return bar coming off the catcher.
It’s safer to land on your back versus your stomach.
This skill needs to be a habit. No thinking. Just pure, unconscious reaction. Instinct.
I work on this skill in my weekly trampoline practices. On the trampoline, I can practice this skill without the extra energy of climbing the ladder and doing a full swing into the trick. This allows me to do dozens of repetitions in a short time.
On trampoline, the skill is called a reverse half airplane: it starts with a bounce up from the feet, as if I’m going to land on my stomach. At the last moment, I twist to my back.
The twist should initiate from my body, with hips and shoulders leading the way.
In a recent practice, my coach pointed out that sometimes I try to initiate by leading with my head.
The body will follow where the head goes.
And the problem is that my head doesn’t stay neutral. It ducks under, causing my body to over rotate and my legs to flail behind me.
He reminded me to lead with my body and not with my head.
This is a lesson applicable to life as well.
The conditioning I received as a child (and even as an adult) is that the contents of my mind are my greatest value. Lead with my intelligence and my intellect. My cognitive capacity.
Many people have the same conditioning.
It’s not good advice.
Your body is always with you in the present moment. You’re in it. It goes with you.
When you show up at the gym, on the yoga mat, to dinner with friends, to a conversation with a loved one, to your desk to work, to drive your car — wherever you go, whatever you do, your body is there.
Most of us can’t always say the same thing about our minds.
Our minds are often in a different place:
Still stuck in a previous conversation, ruminating about a current work project, planning ahead for dinner or next week’s agenda, spinning in stories, worries, and thoughts that have nothing to do with what’s here and now.
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing the mind back to the body, back to the present, back to what’s here.
Let your body lead the way. Trust it to know the path.
When we lead with the heart, we exhibit courage.