The Art of Fluidity – Movement Salon
1. The quality or state of being fluid.
2. The ability of a substance to flow.
“If you look deeply into movement it is not straightforward.
Nature is a labyrinth in which the very haste you move-in,
will make you lose your way.”
“Make haste slowly.”
[Boris Mouravieff, Gnosis]
On street level at 190 3rd Avenue in New York City, stands a historic building Scheffel Hall. Among its life cycles it served as a beer hall, restaurant, athletic club, and at some point, a Jazz club. The sign outside reads “Movement Salon.”
I pull open a double wooden door and enter heaven.
The walls are covered with dozens of photographs: gurus, mentors, lions, artists, world activism literacy, and poetry. Everywhere you look, you get a zest of eye-opening images and words.
An old piano greets you as you enter the sitting area, a warm bohemian rug, like a compass, points towards where the movement sessions take place, and from your first step into this holy house, energetic stones, genuine smiling faces, and spirituality blanket you.
Movement Salon is family-run; vibrant, compassionate community of individuals, all passionate about movement, body awareness, human potential, and spiritual expansion.
The owner of the studio is Anthony Macagnone, also known as Sal Anthony. He is a self-taught, avid reader, explorer and an eloquent spoken writer.
Macagnone suffered from Myositis many years ago and spent three long weeks in a hospital, with a problem to which the conventional medicine yielded no solution. Prescription pills and physical therapy for subluxation provided him very little hope for a better quality of life.
He knew the answer was far away from the hospital corridors, and with the rigor of a scientist, through self-exploration, he began a lifetime of study: His journey took him to anatomy (of all species), philosophy, world religions, physics, he consumed the vast literature, and studied the inner workings of martial arts. His thorough, painstaking process resulted in the development of Alchemy in Movement.
What makes the method unique, is that it proposes a medium of movement that enabling the body to unwire the nervous system, disconnect the relationship between emotional patterns and motion patterns, allowing a rewiring into a better motor being.
This holistic approach is more engaging and explorative and less cognitive and confining.
This encourages a “thinking” session, a rethinking of words we thought we understood their meaning; concepts like ‘being asleep,’ or ‘attention,’ or ‘illusion,’ or ‘presence,’ or ‘grace.’
This is not the house of harder, stronger, faster, and fitter, but rather the deliberate, accurate, graceful, and compassionate. Rather than moving rigorously exclusively in horizontal and vertical lines, you are directed to let your flow lead.
Macagnone’s insight about the human body is incomparable.
His eyes like x-ray, afford him the ability to improve the well-being of countless people – musicians, dancers, people with injuries, muscular imbalances, dysfunctional postures, and people who suffer occupational wear-and-tear and want to restore their own instrument – their body.
If we are cellists to our bodies, it is here, through movement, that we “relearn” to use our bow arm again.
Awareness, to Macagnone, has special meaning. To him, we all fell asleep, and need to reawaken our awareness, cultivate it to knowledge and pass it on, back to the world. Since this awareness cannot be taught by lecture, it must experienced, just like every thought and emotion finds expression through movement.
Old habits of ineffective movement patterns are gradually supplemented with new, balanced ones, restoring mobility.
* * *
Fluidity is sacred to the success of Alchemy in movement.
Subtle movements initiate a session, and with delicacy, range of motion and complexity increase gradually; Blood, breath and water circulation converse, by reaching further, rotating longer, and rolling over.
When the movement is free flowing, fluids bathe the tissues, as the body recruits its parts into a flowing chorus.
The aim is to arrive from the effortless flow of fluid through the tissues and never from dryness, collapsed or pressured effort.
In the session there is a safe intimacy. A complete sharing and offering of the senses. Eyes, breath, and touch, all exchange energies, creating a momentary narrative, as each session encapsulates wisdom as cogent and sophisticated philosophy, delivered in warm and conversational tonality.
What I witness is nothing short of miraculous.
I lie down on my back while he slowly observes my alignment. This is followed by a gentle move, correcting me to my center. Then, little fragments of movements take place as he leads this mysterious dance with immense intelligent care, deliberateness and dexterity.
As he escorts me through the session, it becomes abundantly clear that movement issues arise from a lack of something that has very little to do with muscles. We lock ourselves using tension, unneeded effort and beliefs.
While not known as a fan of back-flips, I admire watching acrobats somersault effortlessly. Yet my self-perception of my ability to move remains in the “do whatever I can to keep my feet on the ground neighborhood!”
At times Macagnone would implement an abstract idea, philosophy, or a tilt of the head, and manipulate it like a Rubik’s cube, disassembling the idea to its smallest cells, then melding it with everyday life, as he encourages, and pleads to take me to a moment of revelation, undoing the physical havoc caused by suppression of my genuine self.
Soon I find out that movements that seemed familiar to me, like standing and lifting my knee to my chest or arching my back, are actually unfamiliar as my body abandoned its native intelligence and embraced habitual ones of my lived life.
He insists on doing it slowly, gently, and with grace. He rejects unnecessary effort, harmful movement and ungraceful performance.
He approaches movement with an innovative state-of-mind, proving time and again how our brain has the unique ability to quickly adapt, re-discover, recover lost functions, and eliminate superfluous exertion. The movement is one’s own testament of being.
When I attempt to rush to conquer a new movement, he calms me and indulges me to, “Take pleasure in the present.”
* * *
Life has it that internally we became ever more separated. We have not learned the right way to live within our bodies. When I tell him that I don’t need so much air, he insists this is what I lack and demonstrates it through breath-synchronized movements where each encourages the other.
Moments after I leave the studio the effect is immediate and unquestionable. I walk lighter, feel taller and loose, and the next time I hear my voice, it sounds utterly different. The deep breaths and lowering of my chin to my chest for the past hour has unlocked a path to my true vocal vibrations. The way in which I organize myself through this body has completely changed.
I have become an evidence of optimism about one of the greatest potentials of humanity. Regardless of our background or current personal circumstances, through movement, we achieve the ability to grow, improve and transform.
These changes affect the intellect, the body and the soul. Day follows day, week follows week, and this is how we transform.
* * *
In Alchemy in Movement, no session is like any other. There is always a new philosophy, a new realization, a new perspective.
The learning doesn’t begin and end within the session. For those who are open to absorb, Macagnone is a fountain of ideas and quotations, following-up by recommending further reading, watching a related video or listening to a song’s lyrics.
Getting a hold of one of his library books is a journey of its own. When he comes across a gem – Gurdjieff, Rumi, Colin Wilson, Sri Aurobindo, D.T. Suzuki, Carl Jung, and P.D. Ouspensky to name a few – he reads it not less than three times, annotating its margins.
Back to the back flip.
He demonstrates. He takes his time, showing me again, slowly, dissecting the movement down to little pieces. He asks me to swallow, breathe, and flip over. “Surrender to something unknown. Give something up. Let go of your conscious,” he cajoles me.
My body starts to “cry uncle,” sweating with fear; I am accompanied from start to finish by Daniel Giel and Macagnone’s son, Anthony Jr., (both phenomenally talented individuals in their own walks of life), and suddenly, I flip over, just like that!
It’s a huge moment. And I think how only a moment ago my notion of my ability to move dictated my inability to move; held me hostage to a notion nurtured in my head.
And yet, I had just overcome it. My world had turned upside down. Literally!
As soon as I recover from my first-time back flip, still not fully cognizant of what just happened, I am unable to ignore this rush of heat and energy running through every cell of my body. And so, just like that, I ask “One more time?”
The widest smile spreads across Macagnone’s cheeks, as what I just asked gives him sweet validation of one’s capacity to change, and he answers, “This is music to my ears.”
Are you ready to wake up?
Come. Join. Move, and be moved.
Movement Salon is open 7 days a week and offers private and group classes of Pilates, Gyrotonic, Mat meets Barre, Massage, and Reflexology.
Alchemy in Movement sessions are offered on an appointment basis and are private sessions.
Coming soon: Movement Salon Academy, with a comprehensive certification program, specialization workshops for clients and continuing education and mentorship for practitioners.
Movement Salon Website
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