• AY#333 The movement of opposition, Alexander Yanai Vol 7
  • Reel 23, Track 1, Lesson 1
  • Duration of the recording: 45 minutes


  • Clarification of some topics in Lesson 3 in ATM, “Fundamental Properties”
  • Lying face up, lift head (chin to neck, away from neck), R arm, R leg; all together. Focuses on the relationship between the spine moving backwards as any part is lifted forwards. Sitting, take head forwards and feel what goes backwards in the back, and how the abdomen contracts, to do this. Review the five cardinal lines and Standing, find the same principles, including the movement of the head as you lift the arm and leg (also taking the crown of the head backwards, feel how the spine moves forwards). Find the same principle with each step in walking. (Talks about how you can then go find this relationship in moving up and down stairs.) Lots of lecture:

Lesson Outline

  1. Lie face up, arms and legs extended; lift the head with chin towards the throat, away from the throat, backwards–what part of the back presses into the ground?
    • Extend R arm overhead, and lift it: part of the shoulder blade near the spine again does an opposite movement.
    • Lift R leg. Similarly the upper part of the pelvis, the small ribs move in the opposite direction, towards the floor.
    • Lift R arm, leg, head together. Lifting the head makes it easier, the whole spine glues to the floor: the spine must move L to lift all the R.
  2. Sit, however, and take the head forwards: the back must go backwards. (Needle image; contract the stomach muscles.) Take the back of the head backwards, and see how this pushes the spine forwards.
  3. Stand, monkey fashion. Take face, chin forwards (not head backwards). Stomach muscles contract, back goes backwards. Then imagine someone pulls you up by the hairs of the crown of your head; your hips go forwards.
  4. Long lecture/development of the five lines, lying face up.
    • Muscle attachments: back of the head so it doesn’t fall forwards. But then it pulls at the other end, or the neck or back. This is proportionate to weight, so the lighter head displaces more and the heavier back less.
  5. Lift the head.
    • More lecture: Now you have the muscles in front connected, somewhere, and the same principle: the stick (of the spine) must move backwards somewhere when you lift the head. But we don’t have a stick, we have a series of balls with little muscles between them (the spine) and so it doesn’t go as expected. The muscles around the spine must form it into something like a stick, in the right way, to organize the structure for the movement.
  6. Extend R arm overhead and lift: see, the arm is much lighter than the chest to which everything attaches, so this is relatively easy.
  7. Lift the R leg: now this is harder; the leg is heavy; the lordosis increases. So something must fix the chest to the pelvis to make the body heavier. Spine, chest, pelvis must press into floor.
  8. Extend R arm overhead and lift R arm, R leg, head. This large movement brings all these ideas together, and this is easy.
  9. Same thing in standing. Take R arm forward, R leg forward, and see if it doesn’t help to take the back backward.
  10. Try the opposite.
    • Then notice the head: face forward, lordosis smaller, limbs light to life forward.
    • Feel this with the hand on the stomach. Of course you can do the opposite, you can make movements that aren’t consistent with the action, like an actor lifting a piece of paper as though it weighed a ton.
  11. Rest on the floor.
  12. Standing, now lift the arm and leg and take a step (taking the whole body backwards to do this). Like sitting to walk. Talk about lightness, reversibility, a hunting dog, dancers…the beauty of a body we want to watch preforming.
    • Consider trying this going up and down the stairs. At first you exaggerate, but then you do it just as much as is needed and no more.

Focus of Moshe’s Teaching

  • “We do these things so as to understand a bit of the foundation of what we are doing, so that it will be possible to derive more benefit from the other lessons we are doing.”
  • When a muscle contracts, it pull the two attachments towards one another; the heavier will move less. So to lift a long and heavy leg (for example) you have to fix the pelvis to the chest so the leg lifts and not the lower back–the lower back moves opposite, towards the floor and away from the leg.
  • We start with the basic stick figure, but the spine is not a stick: it is more like a string of balls, and the muscles around the spine must fix these balls one to the other to make them like a stick in action. We will gradually make this picture more complex as we approximate the self-image to the real human body, but the idea of the muscles deep to the spine acting to make the spine like a stick is our first approximation.
  • Reversibility in walking.

Related ATMs




Fundamental Properties:



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