Sunday, September 4, 2011

The felt sense of stress timing (Going to the mat with Pilates)

Clip art: Clker
For over a decade (during my "pre-haptic period") I had used the concept of the "upper torso nod" in various contexts to help learners get the felt sense of what the body is doing in English when it stresses words or phrases. The function of the upper torso nod is well documented in gesture and movement research. That training seems to transfer effectively into public speaking with most students, especially in preparing them to give short, focused speeches or oral reports.

The problem was always how to get the bodies to move with correct posture, efficiency and consistency so that there was as little extraneous, random gesturing or wobbling as possible--trying to appear confident and business-like while speaking. These Pilates exercises are about the best haptic grounding for the felt sense of the well executed upper torso nod that I have seen (and tried!) Try it, yourself. I'm sure you, too, will give it your (haptic) nod of approval.

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