Similar to the Five Basic Principles of STOTT PILATES®, the Four Principles of ZEN•GA® are the foudnation on which ZEN•GA programming is built.
With a focus on mind-body awareness and proper alignment the principles of breath, support, yield and flow are good to review on occasion to keep them fresh in the mind. Below we outline the Four Principles, what they mean, and how they are incorporated into a ZEN•GA practice.
Many mind-body disciplines including, martial arts, yoga and meditation focus on breathing to help in stress reduction and pain relief. Mindful breathing is a very powerful tool that can assist in focusing the mind and enhancing overall health and well-being.
This ZEN•GA breathing principle focuses on making conscious an unconscious action. The intention is to bring movement to the body through the breath. Unlike other visceral functions in the body breathing is unique in that it can be regulated voluntarily, through mindfulness. ZEN•GA training is designed to teach specific diaphragmatic breathing techniques that could have a positive effect on daily activities and movement. Optimal breathing engages many more primary and secondary muscles, over time enhancing trunk mobility, spinal stability and minimizes unnecessary tension in the upper trunk shoulders and neck.
This principle relates to how the body’s foundation supports, balances and maintains structural integrity between all of its moving parts. Proper posture provides a supportive framework to maintain the body’s integrity whether in motion or at rest, creating a harmonious relationship between the body and the environment.
The body is made up of masses and spaces, the masses are the (head, chest, hips, thighs, shins, and feet) and the spaces are the (neck, abdomen, pelvic floor, knees, ankles, and foot arches). Ideally all the masses should stack up no matter which position the body is in.
The ZEN•GA principle of support facilitates and refines postural alignment by strengthening the relationships between the systems in the body.
Yielding represents grounding and the relationship between the earth and the body and the establishing of a root. Active yielding contributes to effortless movement, supporting the body, leading to ease of breath and tone without being rigid. The naval center is approximately two to three inches below the belly button and is the human body’s center of gravity. Specific movement and focused breathing stimulates the nerves in the naval center and creates energy.
Yield is cued throughout all movement in ZEN•GA, by calling the body to create an appropriate relationship between the environment and the body. It is an internal, active relationship with the external environment. Yielding is the body’s active process of engagement and creates awareness of space, structure, weights and balances.
When all of the other three principles—breath, support and yield—are working together in unison, the result is flow. Each of the principles creates flow and the fluid body. ZEN•GA programming incorporates wave-like movements which stimulate flow, hydrating and bringing to life the fluid body. This type of action allows the whole body to move and respond gracefully with seamless transitions.