On the plane back from an amazing weekend at Cues and Tattoos, I was discussing the ATS® shimmy (also called walking shimmy) with Wendy Allen. (I love that woman.)

So many students don’t understand the ATS® shimmy.  They try to drive it with the upper body (which causes the ribcage to wiggle and tilt), or they try to over-control the movement, and wind up just vibrating. Or, they try to make the movement bigger than their bodies are ready for, and wind up looking inelegant and throwing their energy away.

And I realized: the ATS® shimmy is really about providing stability in one place so that you can experience freedom and release in another.  The more you try to control the shimmy, the more it becomes tight and contracted; but if you create stability in your upper body — specifically the upper abdominals and upper back — and just allow the hips to dangle and bounce, the shimmy comes naturally.  And the more you practice and loosen your joints and increase your flexibility, the larger it becomes.  And the more you walk with a little skip in your step and a freedom in your hips, the easier it becomes.

And so in life, right? We intentionally create stable structures in some areas of our lives (let’s say our jobs, or our relationships) because those structures allow us to experience complete freedom in other areas.  When we have something firm we can rely on, it permits us to relax into movement and release control just a little bit.  And that release of control is beautiful!

Mindfully shifting the locus of control, learning where to hold on and where to let go, is the best part of movement in my opinion.  The more you try to control the shimmy or make it something it’s not, the worse it looks.  Just provide a stable platform, and let your hips fly.



3 thoughts on “A meditation on the shimmy

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