Practice for departure of stability

The following is a practice of the self, developed with Jessica Lassiter, DPT, OCS, ATC.
* These exercises are potentially dangerous. The risk of instability and disorientation is unavoidable. Exercise special caution to prevent bodily injury. If you decide to follow this practice, you are doing so at your own risk.

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1. Extend through the spine. Bring your head over your shoulders. Pull shoulders back to open your chest. Get taller. Pull in your belly button towards the spine, activating your core.
Your belly button will be keeping your body in a stable orientation paradigm while your perception can transition to a new visuality.

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2. In a quick motion turn your head to the left and glance behind you. Repeat with the right side.
This movement constricts blood flow to your cerebral cortex and increases blood flow to your mid-brain, enhancing sensory awareness and decreasing cognitive function.
Repeat 3 times.

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3. Lean backwards, curving your body until you lose sight of the horizon and all other reference points. Your belly button will keep your body grounded.

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4. To enhance the departure of stability, keep your feet parallel. If you find yourself falling backwards, start with a staggered stance and slightly bent knees.

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5. See the clouds. Don’t look at anything directly but just perceive. Widen your field of view to take in as much of the sky as possible, training your peripheral vision. Think about the history and the future of the air masses in front of you. Observe the fluidity of the patterns.

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6. Experience disorientation and groundlessness. It should feel terrifying and deterritorializing. If you start to fall or experience heart racing, vertigo or imbalance, your fight-or-flight reflex is triggered increasing your sensory awareness and acuity of vision. Register your sensory experience at that moment. Return to upright posture to prevent falling backwards.

About Unstable Stance

The posture for watching the sky is one of our most unstable positions.
The human body lacks mechanisms to sense when we are starting to fall backwards, and to control that movement once we do fall. We have several sensors to detect falling forward, and different joints to control the fall. But falling backwards is unsensed and uncontrolled. Exercise special caution when following this practice.

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Modernity has been characterized as a transition from what can be called a ‘solid’ to a ‘fluid’ worldview, and today we are in another transition, to an atmospheric worldview. Peter Sloterdijk claims that the present context of atmospheric disruption, and the correspondent collective alertness, calls for a meteorological turn in art, environmental aesthetics, cultural theory. The politics of contemporary atmospheres is concerned with sensory manipulations: our actions today are observed, and managed through the use of light, sound, smell, etc. This calls for us to take seriously the senses and how they can be strategically employed. The world of big data wants to instrumentalize us, collect all aspects of our behavior, our needs, desires and fears. In this project we embrace this tendency, opting for a strategy of disruption from within. We turn ourselves into a really good instrument, tuning our sensory apparatus to the task at hand. The ground truth observations we provide to NOAA will be used in fine-tuning the climate model: the model of the future of the planet. What we want the machine learning algorithms to internalize is a moment of phenomenological blur, of disorientation and unknowing, a moment of terror, of full mobilization of our animal senses put on alert for survival.