This lesson prepares for the Bridge theme by working face up, legs long, flexing feet to move the spine from the heels, primarily on the right side; you also “help” find this organization up the spine with the right arm. At the end, you start the bridge on the right side and take your head back under the right arm.

Lesson Outline

  • Long scan, particular attention to spine, and to the head/neck/shoulderblade on each side.
  • Face up, both heels pinned to floor: flex and extend feet. Help with hands to transmit force. Faster: jell-o pudding.
  • Just the R foot.
    • Help with R hand.
    • Use just the R hand. Try variations with the position of the hand, elbow (farther from body, locked: find something in between).
    • Use just the R heel.
    • Hand and heel: feel what happens in chest/spine.
  • R hand overhead; just the R foot: back of hand crawls up on floor?
    • Bring arm down slowly, and do the R heel and R hand again;
    • then pull with hand and push with leg;
    • reverse;
    • then together as before.
    • Then R arm overhead again to check changes.
  • Stand and walk.
  • Face down, head in centre lifted so nose does not rub, elbows standing over hands: plant both toes under and push to lift knees and transmit force. Help with hands; elbows move as much as heels.
  • R foot only, head turned to face R, R hand standing and L arm alongside. Push with R foot and help with R arm. (Which part of foot/toes?)
    • Extend R arm overhead on floor, and look towards your hand as it lengthens on the floor.
  • Face up, move with R heel.
  • R foot standing, R hand standing (as in bridge position, hand next to ear, fingers pointing towards feet).
    • Lift R side pelvis to roll L;
    • lift R shoulder to roll L;
    • lift hip again. Move back of head under bridge.
    • Alternate, leaving head normally on floor.
    • Then together and drop them to “bang” at same time.

Focus of Moshe’s Teaching

There is emphasis on the way that this lesson affects the lower ribs (in the front, in the back) and how the shoulder blades lie differently on the floor, particularly as a result of the way you use your hand to help the transmission of the force upwards.

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Typical Results

  • Moshe says in Body & Mature Behaviour:
    • “The pelvis is articulated on the femurs by ball and socket joints that are free to move in all directions. These joints alternately support the full weight of the body. The necessary rigidity is obtained in these joints solely by muscular support. The pelvis on which the spine rests is therefore a link of major importance in locomotion. If the top of it is tilted forward, the lumbar curvature is increased and the centre of gravity is lowered. [The main topic of the chapter is how maintaining a high centre of gravity enables effortless movement in all directions.] This tilting forward of the upper end of the pelvis is made possible by lengthening the extensors of the hip joints and the deep muscles of the lower abdomen. The lumbar curvature is further increased by the thorax being tilted backwards to compensate for the mass moved forward by the pelvic tilt. In order to maintain the head in its habitual relation to space, the thoracic flexion must be further increased. The important thing is that a complex redistribution of muscular contraction is necessary to produce the tilt forward of the upper end of the pelvis or the head…” (P. 74) He goes on to describe how rotary movement, and translation forward, are both made much more difficult…try for yourself walking forwards with your pelvis tilting forwards, and with your pelvis more upright. In the latter situation, each foot springs forward in turn.
  • In this lesson: when you’re face up and your right hand is helping:
    • “Note: small of back tends to touch, shoulder blade tends to come up, chest widens on floor, floating ribs come down. Something changes in the brain to produce that–it’s a new pattern not used before.” (p. 25)
  • In this lesson: when you’re face down and your right hand is stretched overhead on the floor:
    • “Slowly, observe that something changes in the chest–lower ribs protrude with most people unnecessarily, and you can observe the difference, see from one side to the other.” (p. 27)
    • We have the following habitual organization: forward tilt of the pelvis -> shortening of the lower-to-mid back -> lifting of low ribs hence flexion of upper chest in front -> which limits extension of the arms.
  • The “bridge” or “wheel” position challenges that directly. Yes, to do the bridge or wheel you extend the back: but if you don’t open in the hips and shoulders, you’ll only “achieve the position” at a cost to your lumbar spine. Basically, several elements of achieving the bridge are already “maxed out” in our habitual posture: extension in the low back, in the neck. We try to do the bridge cold–we just try to over-recruit what we’re already doing too much of. In this lesson, you lower the low back and ribs to the floor (extinguishing the habitual excessive arch/tightness of the low- to mid-back), and differentiate the hips and shoulders lightly, so that you can then move towards the bridge with the forces from your foot and from your hand transmitting more directly to the lower thoracic spine–the force doesn’t get lost in residual flexion in the hip and shoulder, and the extension is more distributed throughout the spine, including crucially where the floating ribs can open and give you a great deal of strong, lengthening (rather than shortening) extension.
  • Since doing a bridge is not really very interesting for life, for the most part, the importance of what you get out of this kind of lesson shows itself in other functions. Reorganization of the chest and shoulders are profound. The arms rest on and use the chest and spine more clearly, supported by the refined organization of the pelvis, rather than being held up from the neck. E.g., in sitting and typing, there’s no longer any felt need to rest the wrists on the desk. Walking moves closer to gliding (as described in B&MB). LynetteReid LynetteReid May 15, 2011

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