by Abbie Galvin

February 7th 2014

Alex asked in utter frustration, "Why do we flip our wrists?"

It is impossible to address an organ independently from the structure around it, the bone framing it. Every component of the body functions with respect to the whole, whereby the dysfunction of one part is caused by the disrepair of another. This is the defining narrative of our practice.

We work the wrists in order to access, strengthen, and open the lungs. The wrist is a mini collarbone – whatever condition is set up in the wrist is repeated in the collarbone – and together their organization acts as a frame for the lungs.

In setting up a right angle in each wrist, palms faced down and arms straight under ones shoulders, the wrist, shoulder, and collarbone support the lungs. These right angles literally make a house for the lung. If the wrist isn't straight or the collar is skewed, the lung doesn't get enough air. When we flip our wrists, palms down, fingers facing us instead of out, we are rotating the armpit and opening up the collarbone. This taxes the wrist joint to open in a direction we don't normally demand of it, drawing attention to the relationship between the lung and what's around it, like a window and its frame.

Installed in a well-measured sill, a window can open and close to full capacity. So it is with a lung: the wrist work we do initiates a dialogue between the lungs and the bone supporting it, developing dexterity. The better the structure - wrist, collarbone, shoulder blade, rotator cuff - the better our lungs can function.

Finally, the purpose of well-functioning lungs is to fully take in and eliminate air, to hold a full capacity of breath. Our lungs are a container for holding emotions, like joy, depression, and grief, so lungs build our emotional competency. When our lungs are full, we are more dimensional, both physiologically and psychologically. Even our skin glows.

So, Alex, what better reason to flip our wrists than to more fully house the spirit?