Source

Synopsis

Lesson Outline

  1. Supine. Scan. Then sit. Feet soles facing each other but not touching; separate feet by about 8”. Now lie down on the back, with legs wide like that comfortably, like frog legs but separate the feet.

– Lift L knee as it is lying. Hold knee with R hand. Move leg and hand side to side, R and L. Roll a little across the midline. R foot can help, though it continues to lie on its outer edge.
– Make small movements, slow movements. Small and slow.
– Visualize vertebrae all along the length the spine. From the base of the spine to the base of the skull. The head, far away and long from the pelvis. Use the slight twist to feel your spine lengthening and increasing that distance.
– Free in the neck and breathing. Completely without power.
– Feel how each veterbra and rib junction yields to permit this slight twist. Use awareness as searchlight, to uncover where in the ribs you might be hanging on against the twist or resisting it.
– Move attention to shoulder blades. Use awareness here to unpack holding. Blades must slide freely over the ribs.
– Move attention to the rib joints into the sternum, at the front of the chest. Feel the fold and yielding.
– Make the movement continuous across the middle of the spine. And symmetrical, one side to the other.
– You may uncover resistant ribs behind. Use sense of rolling across the back to watch for whether the body needs to lift up, as if to pass over something like a small brick or stone. We’re trying to organize so this won’t happen. Use parts that move really well, without disturbance.
– “If you really do this with sincerity, you will find that there is only a small part of the movement, close to the middle, that is OK.”
2. As (1) other side. L hand holds R knee. Lift R knee as it is lying. Hold R knee with L hand. Move leg and hand side to side, R and L. Roll a little across the midline. L foot can help, lying along its outer edge.
– Look for places where you feel the spine clearly, and where less-clearly. Look for resistance or holding, and gradually yield with fine movements.
– As you cross midline, see whether you can find ribs that don’t surrender. Come to that place, and think of the length of the spine. No power, just think to permit lengthening instead of resistance.
3. The next variation could be interpreted to pull on your extended arm and stretch.
O A gentle stretch might feel good – do it for that purpose.
O But not to increase flexibility. Stretch has opposite effect. Stretch reflex causes muscles to snap back tighter after stretch. Rubber band recoil.
O Working like that can actually damage and tear the muscle fiber. Painful, useless, counter-productive.
O Rather, we want to lengthen. That calls for learning and neurological reorganization. Use sensation of slow ease, so new organization has a chance to be felt and explored.
O Ask: Instead of what you want to stretch, what could you move instead? What’s being left out of movement? Watch-word is “allow” movement.
O Use breath. Feel ribs expand with inhalation and yield to exhalation.
As (1). L knee with R hand. L arm extended above the head, L hand in a gentle fist, back of fist on the floor.
– Now do the same movement with leg, rolling side to side in small increments. Each time you roll side to side – especially the L side – picture that the long L arm is pulling on your shoulder blade and lengthening your spine. Not with power or stretch. With attention to spot resistance.
– Gradually watch to see whether more and more of the back becomes willing to lie back on the floor.
– Relax the L hipjoint. Don’t pull up on it.
– No effort. Think length. Spread your attention over the whole length of you, from the fist to the sacrum.
4. As (1). R knee with L hand. R arm extended above the head, R hand over head in a gentle fist, back of fist on the floor.
– Now do the same movement with leg, rolling side to side in small increments. Each time you roll side to side – especially the R side – picture that the long R arm is pulling on your shoulder blade and lengthening your spine. Not with power or stretch. With attention to spot resistance.
– Let breath run through every vertebra and rib joint.
– Stop effort in the chest. All effort skews and pulls on the effortful area and shortens the spine.
– Watch that shoulder blades slide and don’t disturb. Organize chest and breathing.
– Chest, vertebrae, whole spine: Look for additional freedom to move easily around the joints.
– Softer and softer, to become freer and more comfortable.
5. As (1). Reference movement: Lift L knee as it is lying. Hold knee with R hand. Move leg and hand side to side, R and L. Roll a little across the midline. R foot can help, though it continues to lie on its outer edge.
– Other side.
6. As (1). Extend L arm again. Hold L knee with R hand. No fist. Leave R knee out to side and up off the floor.
– Now make gentle fist and use knee movement to roll side to side.
7. As (1). R knee in L hand. R arm above head. No fist.
– Roll R and L, using knees.
– Make very tiny movement rolling R and L. Don’t use either knee movement. Concentrate on letting go in hip joints.
– Now make gentle fist and use knee movement to roll side to side.
8. As (1). L knee with R hand, extend L arm up, and now extend R leg down, with R ankle flexed and heel leading.
– Roll R and L.
– Go to R and R leg lengthens. Go to L and L arm lengthens.
– Extraneous effort in chest and back disappears. Don’t shorten, not arm, spine, legs.
– Free neck and soft chest.
– Don’t push past resistance, just think and breathe long.
9. Other side. As (1). R knee with L hand, extend R arm up, extend L leg down, with L ankle flexed and heel leading.
– Roll R and L.
– Go to L and L leg lengthens. Go to R and R arm lengthens.
– “Move slowly, so that the body understands what the floor demands of it.”
10. Bend R leg only, as frog. Make sure leg is to the same distance sideways (4” from midline). Both arms overhead. Extend L leg and flex L heel.
– Roll R and L.
– When roll to L, focus on long L axis. Everything touches along whole L side. Think length through L heel. Length through both arms.
– When passing to R, think of expanding distance through R arm especially.
11. Bend L leg only, as frog. Make sure leg is to the same distance sideways (4” from midline). Both arms overhead. Extend R leg and flex R heel.
– Roll R and L.
– When roll to R, focus on long R axis. Everything touches along whole R side. Think length through R heel. Length through both arms.
– When passing to L, think of expanding distance through L arm especially.
12. Stand both feet. Feel flattening along back.
~~Anita Schnee, 6.29.18

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