Your study guide for ATM lessons



Taking elbows and knees towards one another, and working through the relation with the breathing, the necessity of the extensors permitting the movement, and the effects of doing small rapid movements within the medium range.

Lesson Outline

  • Face up, bend knees feet to standing. Lift head. While breathing in. Out. Higher? Stay up and breathe out. Does the head go higher still? Touch with both hands on chest as you lift the head, to see that the chest flattens as you do so. Clarify how you open the elbows as head lies on floor and close them as you lift.
  • R hand behind head, L hand holds R knee (R foot lifted) below kneecap. Take elbow and knee towards one another, and clarify breathing. Do it faster and see what the breath does now: you don’t exhale each time deliberately, but hold the chest free so a little air escapes each time.
  • Same variant, but ask about what presses on the floor? [Will probably be mid or lower ribs on R side.]
  • L hand behind head, R hand below R kneecap (i.e. switch hands and nothing else). Lift knee to elbow. What contacts floor now? Change hands (R hand behind head, L hand below R kneecap), and see what touches floor now. Change hands again, what touches floor. Then bring L elbow and R knee towards one another, and stay there and bring together and apart: small, rhythmic, quick. As fast as possible. Then return to R hand behind head, L hand below R kneecap. Now do they touch easily?
  • Rest face up, legs long. Lift each leg–which one lifts more easily? Walk around.
  • Breaks for a talk about flexors and extensors.
  • Then a demo: if you lie face up, interlace fingers and lift head, something stops this at some point. Where? Why? The extensors.
  • R hand behind head, L hand below R knee. Stay with knee and elbow towards one another, not touching, and take them rapidly in a small range towards one another and apart, quickly, so they push and pull the breath.
  • Switch all: L hand behind head, R hand below L knee. Lift knee and elbow towards one another. Then stay and make a small movement of opening and closing from that position.
  • Then switch hands (R hand behind head and L hand below L knee) and lift. Something new pressing against floor? Stop in the medium position and take them towards and apart, small and rapid movements.
  • L hand behind head, R hand below R knee. Lift towards one another, then from a medium position make small, rapid movements towards and apart.
  • Both hands interlaced behind head: lift head, and move R knee once to each elbow; then quick repetition, bobbing. Shoulders/head stay in same direction: only the knee goes to one elbow then the other.
  • Non-habitual interlacing. Lift head. Different from usual? Tilt of head, of shoulders? Try with the R knee going to each elbow again, and compare with habitual and non-habitual interlacing. Then lift elbows and knees towards one another and see if it’s different.
  • Same (non-habitual) but take L knee to one elbow and the other. Then check with lifting elbows and knees towards one another.
  • Now to see what it is really like to lie with the small of the back really on the floor.” Lift bent knees from floor. Then lift head. Try to slide hand under back to check. Hold head up and straighten R leg, open to side, so small of back stays on floor. Same with L leg. Lower head; hold each knee with its hand, and take knees towards armpits. 12th rib makes it to floor now? Stay and lift head between knees. In middle? Mouth to R knee (moving head not knee; moving knee not head). Other side. What presses floor? Then both knees to the forehead (again distinguishing head to knees; knees to head). Then catch elbows between knees and squeeze; knees between elbows and squeeze.
  • End lesson–in getting up to stand, see how you are standing straight. Extensors activated by their lengthening.

Focus of Moshe’s Teaching

  • Breathing: coordinated with the action; starts when you place the head down; should be silent if you aren’t fighting against yourself; no correct way–only correct for what you are doing at the moment.
  • Flexors and extensors as antagonists.

Related ATMs

External Links

  • Recording at
    • But go back to the fourth bullet point in the outline above–I didn’t do that correctly, and it’s interesting in its correct sequence. (Even though I actually re-recorded it because I muffed it up even worse the first time. You can hear the tape editing and the laughter…)

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