This lesson in side-lying relates and differentiates movement of the hip and shoulders.

Lesson Outline

  • Lie on R side, R arm under head; R leg bent and L leg long, with foot at right angle. L arm alongside, hand/wrist resting on hip. Lengthen foot away. (Knee stays straight throughout when taking the foot up and down or in circles.)
  • Same, bring foot towards.
  • Other side.
  • Lie on R side, R arm under head; R leg long and L leg bent at 90, foot at 90 too, arm alongside as above: take knee forwards. Take it back towards you. Join the movements to go forwards and backwards.
  • Lie on R side, R arm under head; R leg bent and L leg long, with foot at right angle, arm resting along your L side. Trace circle on floor with heel. Other direction.
  • Both those steps on the other side.
  • Lie on R side, R arm under head; R leg bent and L leg long, with foot at right angle, arm resting along your L side. Take both foot and shoulder in a straight line up and down, at the same time. And then take hip and shoulder in opposite directions.
  • Other side.
  • Lie on R side, R arm under head; R leg long and L leg bent at 90, foot at 90 too, arm alongside as above: take knee forwards, while taking your shoulder in the opposite direction.
  • Other side.

Focus of Mia’s Teaching

Softness of chest. There are variations in speed throughout that go with this softness in the chest.

Related ATMs


Pushing the heel, sidelying:

Hip and shoulder movements together on the side:

Cardinal directions of the hip:


Share Your Insights

Key Ideas, Principles, and Strategies

  • This lesson proceeds from undifferentiated movement of the hip to differentiated movement of the hip and shoulder on each side, in the forwards-backwards and up-down directions. Two weeks earlier, Mia taught a shoulder circles lesson, sidelying and lying face up.
  • I should put this in the discussion, because it’s all tentative, but try this on: Think of how someone shifts weight in standing: as you shift onto your R leg, your whole L side can drop away–L hip and shoulder lower. This would involve sort of scrunching into your R hip, getting shorter in your neck on the R. It related to an undifferentiated way of walking, each side (hip and shoulder together) dropping away and then lifting to take a step forwards. (This is all different from the kind of weight shift he would describe as “erecting yourself” over your R leg, which involves growing taller with the weight shift, and you need to take advantage of diagonals to accomplish.) Then you differentiate your shoulder in two directions: you can shift your strategy so the shoulders can stay level to the horizon as you continue your homolateral walking (shoulder goes up while hip goes down in frontal plane)…and then shift your strategy so the shoulders can be independent/go opposite to the hips (shoulder forwards and hip back in horizontal plane), and you are using diagonal relationships effectively. The classic side-lying lesson that goes from undifferentiated rolling forwards and backwards, and then differentiated shoulders and hips, doesn’t get into the detail this lesson does about the different strategies for homolateral walking (more lifting each side, more side-bending).
  • So is it like this: you’re starting with a piston-style walking. Foot straight up and down, light sidebending of ribs (but constrained by floor) to accomplish this. Very nice. You can walk like this if you like. But maybe your hip going forwards and backwards can help you. How? How much of that is twisting and how much flexion/extension? Draw a circle with your heel: do you feel the little flexion/extension of your low back to take your heel through the back half of this circle? Now see that your shoulder can follow your hip, or it can be free (go in the opposite direction, stay quiet) as your hip goes up and down. Now as your hip goes forwards and back, can your shoulder be free then? Does that clarify the hip goes backwards with a little twist and a little extension? And so…the proposal you take away after the lesson…how can you use your shoulders now as your hips take your legs for a walk, and how does that let your hips work better?
  • Side-lying, with the top arm resting alongside creates a different balance challenge–you can’t provide yourself balance by using your hand on the floor in front. Your arm lying alongside yourself on top is a bit of a cue to maintain your “erect” stance, relatively untwisted torso, while lying on your side. The various directions you go with your shoulder and hip stay closer to the frontal plane. This goes with the sense of this lesson as about standing upright that you get from your foot being at 90 degrees throughout as well.
  • That’s all musing about this lesson from – LynetteReid Mar 26, 2011. I think I should put this kind of thing in the discussion…not sure!

Typical Results

  • Softening the ribcage, releasing the neck, better use of diagonals in walking…”greased” hip joints.

Advice for Teaching or Turning into an FI

  • For some students it may be challenging at the outset to have the top leg extended and foot resting on the ground–cushions or flat foam can bring the ground up to them.

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