Have you done some tai chi? A bit of chi kung (qigong)? A touch of Feldenkrais or a little Pilates? If so, then you are ready for Eric Franklin's paperback book of 2002, 2003 PELVIC POWER. Its subtitle is MIND/BODY EXERCISES FOR STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY, POSTURE, AND BALANCE FOR MEN AND WOMEN.
In another of his four published books, health expert Eric Franklin focused on the human neck and shoulders as sources of tension. PELVIC POWER zeroes in on our pelvic basin with its collection of bones, channels, ligaments, nerves and muscles.
But after thorough dissection of the pelvis, Franklin, in Chapter 5, tackles "The Stomach and Respiratory Muscles." He moves up along the spine from pelvic floor to jaw, ending in 5.11, "the pelvic floor of the mouth" and even the vocal chords. Along that journey up the spine, Franklin describes four important muscles: diaphragm and transverse abdominal and the "Siamese twin" iliopsoas. "The psoas originates in the lumbar spine and the iliac muscle at the ilium."
Eric Franklin believes not only in the reality of general evolution of species but in that theory's ability to explain why we humans, descendants of fish, sea creatures, reptiles and quadruped animals, now have the organs that we have WHERE we have them. Let me share with you a typical evolutionary-historical passage:
"Why have the ribs in the lower area of the spine disappeared in mammals? On the one hand, to improve flexibility, but on the other hand to be able to breathe better. The invention of hte diaphragm, which actively pushes the organs downward during inhalation, was an essential evolutionary step in mammals. This solution only became possible through the removal of the lower ribs, since otherwise there would have been no space for the organs, which are pushed aside by the expanding lungs. In this sense the stomach muscles serve as elastic replacement ribs to the organs, like a living hammock, so to speak. ..." (Ch 5, p. 61).
PELVIC POWER is lavishly illustrated in black and white: both by photographs and drawings. Indeed, the concept of "imagery" and imaging is seminal to the author's thinking. The brain is a neuroplastic organ; and improving all other organs, posture and general health begins with retraining the brain. And what our brains to is think, imagine, image. Applying brainwork consciously to muscle work is a large part of what PELVIC POWER is about.
Bone by bone, we learn standard anatomical jargon allowing us to identify every separate and united part of the pelvis basin. We learn to manipulate our "sit bones" also called "pelvic tuberosities." If we don't know how to talk using commonly accepted terminology about every major organ and muscle group in our body before we begin studying PELVIC POWER, we certainly shall by the time we close the book. We learn to sit properly and rise from sitting to standing. We learn to lift our head using not just our poor overworked neck but, by loosening our chest, to lift the head with our upper spine.
And as we tune our bodies by improving the actions of our pelvises, we also decrease or banish pains in our shoulders, lumbar area and elsewhere. The practitioner of tai chi, Feldenkrais, Yoga or Pilates will feel perfectly at home in the pages of PELVIC POWER. Franklin speaks of chi (qi) blockages, chakras, third eyes and other concepts drawn from Eastern wisdom and healthy practices. And for western philosophers and phenomenologists, Franklin even takes ideas from Maurice Merleau-Ponty. His bibliography is not large, but ranges widely, And the Index presented by author Eric Franklin amply covers every point he makes, every body part that he describes.
I find very little to criticize in PELVIC POWER. The text skips along, clearly written, well illustrated. I have to slow down a bit over some of the exercises he describes. Some few might be more clearly expressed or illustrated. But it would be hard to get more colorful than Franklin's descriptions. Thus in Ch. 4, "The Muscles of the Pelvic Floor," we are taught to sense filaments widening within "the muscle triangle between the public bones and the tuberosities."
"You can ... imagine a flying carpet under the pelvis which lifts the pelvis. However, if you think of dust when you think of carpets, then you can imagine the perineum as a kite. It carries the pelvis downward when the legs bend, and helps to lift it when the legs stretch. Focus your mental power on the perineum and feel the lift of the kite" (4.4). -OOO-
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