Emptiness and Quickness in a Movement Practice

We’re working on emptiness and quickness in movement practice this month at Praksis. These ideas are just two of the varying qualities and modes of practice I’ve been learning there.

Since emptiness is something I haven’t ever heard about before, I wanted to tell you about it. This is my first time trying to explain this, so bear with me.

Training emptiness is about training to let go and not use the muscles for movement. For me, it’s easiest to think about this in your shoulders. Almost all of us hold a lot of tension in our shoulders - you’re probably doing it right now! Relax!

An emptiness drill for the shoulders as shown in one of Ido Portal's movement camps (see the Facebook post I got this photo from here). Keep your shoulders loose and heavy and create the swinging movement by turning your hips. If you're doing it right, your arms will start to feel heavy.  Eventually you should be able to be empty enough that you'll feel heavy in the shoulders and maybe get the sensation of your scapulae (shoulder blades) wrapping around your spine.  

An emptiness drill for the shoulders as shown in one of Ido Portal's movement camps (see the Facebook post I got this photo from here). Keep your shoulders loose and heavy and create the swinging movement by turning your hips. If you're doing it right, your arms will start to feel heavy.  Eventually you should be able to be empty enough that you'll feel heavy in the shoulders and maybe get the sensation of your scapulae (shoulder blades) wrapping around your spine.  

Emptiness is the state of no tension. When it’s coupled with a moment of tension at the start, you can use this state to move very quickly. Think of a whip cracking or that finger slapping noise you might’ve heard.

This stuff is completely new to me. As a naturally anxious person who is learning to let go, I’m in the habit of holding a lot of tension. Not to mention that most of the training I’ve done has been for strength and mobility. And whilst emptiness is related to mobility, you don’t get good at emptiness by stretching. It’s its own thing.

We'll be working on this until the end of January. Although this could be something easier to learn about in person, I'm looking forward to sharing more as I learn more about it. You can sign up below to get my monthly newsletter where I cover this stuff and more.