Amherst 2 – Week 1 – 10 June 1981, pm1 – On back flexing torso

Source

  • Amherst Year 2 (06/10/81)
  • The lesson is actually in the session (according to the content guide in the transcript and in the DVD) labelled “Rotating the shoulder” (starting at ~14 minutes in). The session that follows, which is called “On back flexing torso / Bell crawl” is a different lesson, the whole time on the stomach and performing a “Bell Crawl”.

Synopsis

  • On back, mostly with legs and arms long, very gently flexing torso to bring pelvis and shoulders closer, in various patterns/combinations.

Lesson Outline

  • Flex to lift shoulders
  • Flex to lift pelvis
  • Flex to simultaneously bring shoulders and pelvis towards each other
  • Press head (gently) and flex shoulders
  • Press heels and flex pelvis
  • Press right heel only, flexing diagonally (right hip and left shoulder coming closer)
  • Continue left diagonal flexion, but pressing head and heel only in imagination
  • Feet standing, flex torso
  • Left foot standing, right long, flexing torso, then both long again
  • Alternating diagonals, allowing head to participate, noticing breathing
  • Feet standing, diagonal felxion, comparing effort at right and left inguinal area

Focus of Moshe’s Teaching

  • Moshe’s first instruction is worth quoting: “Flex whatever you like provided both shoulders make the smallest movement to be lifted together, the whole thing from the floor, but not the head, the shoulder girdle.”
  • This is a lesson about moving from the proximal, using the muscles somewhere between the pelvis and the shoulders and finding a way to allow the extensors to relax and the back to lengthen
  • Moshe notes that the pressing of the head and heels are extension and uses this to promote awareness of that effort to encourage an experience of ‘pure’ flexion through the torso
  • He also brings awareness to the postural muscles and how they have to relax to support flexion of the torso, using the floor as a mirror to residual effort in parts of the thoracic and lumbar spine

Related ATMs

Resources

Share Your Insights (ideas, principles, strategies, experiences, …)

  • Moshe also tells a joke (#21) part way through to encourage a sense of playfulness appropriate to learning. I think this is quite important in this lesson. Even though I did mention this, I got feedback from one student about how the lesson invited a sort of intense introspection.
  • This lesson comes in the middle of the bell hand sequence and I wasn’t sure how it would go to pull it out of context, but I did get some nice feedback.
  • I brought them to standing at the end and had them repeat the flexion movement to feel how this affected their weight on their feet. I have found this to be a profound lesson for becoming aware of the ability to subtly alter my posture.
  • Have tried to keep the outline very brief; listening to Amherst is strongly encouraged.

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