- ATM Book Lesson #1
Move from sitting on a chair to standing with ease and without falling (as measured by scales at your feet).
The key movements in this ATM are:
- Swinging while standing: swing your body side to side, forward and back, and in a circle like a tree in the wind.
- Swinging while seated: move your trunk side to side, forward and back, and in a cirlce.
- While seated: place (imaginary) bathroom scale at your feet and stand while noticing what happens to the scales at your feet. “If the movement is now efficient, you will find that the pointer moves gradually, parallel to your rising, and no longer swings past the correct figure for you weight.”
Getting up from a chair:
Andrew Gibbons created two fantastic videos about this ATM.
- For most people the “feet press down on the floor in a voluntary movement before the body’s center of gravity has moved forward over the soles of the feet. When the center of gravity has really moved over the feet a reflex movement will originate in the old nervous system and straighten the legs; this automatic movement will not be felt as an effort at all.” in the ATM Book section “The dynamic link between standing and sitting”
- One key to this ATM is noticing what your knees do when you move from sitting to standing. If the knees move forward, then your weight is dropping and you will go beyond your body weight on the imagined scales. If instead the knees stay still, then the legs will fold up and into you and there is no falling weight to catch. It is often thought that moving from sitting to standing involves the patellar tendon response. Weight against the patellar tendon elicits the reflexive action of shortening the quads. With Moshe’s knees as bad as they wore he could not afford this action. He had to evolve another way of standing that did not stress his knees.
- This ATM highlights the principles:
- Purpose of skeleton is to be weightless.
- Maximize skeletal support.
- Dynamics of equilibrium.
- Gravity and ground forces.
- Forces working at an angle cause pain.
- When Jeff Haller taught this ATM in the Victoria II training, he said that the key was to “lift your leg as if to stand.” In order to lift your leg as if to stand, you have to connect your leg into your torso. If you lift both legs in this way, you are then primed to bring them down and pop out of your chair having your legs unfold up and into you.
- Rocking forward: Moshe gives the instruction to rock forward and back in the chair. There are two common ways to rock forward. With the first, one leans forward and the knees move forward — which is problematic as described above. The second way is to move the body forward as the sits bones move backwards counter-balancing the movement — and thus allows a person to stand without moving the scales to register a weight beyond their body weight.
- Position of the knees: As your head moves up and over your knees, your knees unfold. For the knees to not move forward, it is helpful if the knees start out bent at less than 90 degrees.
- Support from the ground: As with most movements, the support you get from the ground is key. Jeff taught Edges of the Feet AY(433) as a way to help us stand on the parts of the feet meant to bear the weight.
- Femur in the hip joint: For stability and power, you need to find the spiral movement that bring the head of the femur into the hip joint. See Amherst Head through the gap lying on your back.
- Bearing weight: Interestingly, whether you are going from sitting to standing or from standing to sitting, you are weight bearing. So, the spiral movement that brings the head of the femur into the hip joint is required in both directions.
- Lengthening the spine: It is important to be able to breathe into the back (3 dimensional breathing) throughout the movement (i.e. not to either flex or extend during the movement). See Breathing into all 6 dimensions.
- This lesson is a perfect way to begin and end a lesson and can be built over a series of lessons.
- I find you can spend 10-15 minutes on the tail end of your lesson teaching these principles and actions as a person get up from the table. IT serves as good “homework” for people to take with them as the constraints are very easy to understand and can be usually remembered by people.
- You can really ‘spice’ up this lesson by taking it in multi-directional quadrants, i.e., how can you turn the pelvis and get up more to the left or right, and then all the in between’s. It can quite easily meld with a pelvic clock such that you sense all the inter-relationship between the pelvic, hip joints, position of ribs, sternum, head etc etc. Then of course, you make even more complex by differentiating parts of the body to increase coordination amongst the system. For example, getting up to the right while directing your gaze and head to the left, or to the front etc.
- Jeff Haller taught in the Victoria training that to help a student feel their sitting bones, you can have them roll forward and back on a hard roller. In addition, have them notice how they roll. There are three options: They can roll so that their shoulders and hips move forward and back together, they can roll so that they flex and extend their lower back, or they can roll so that as their head goes forward as sitting bones go back while keeping the length in your spine. This third movement is key to efficiently going from sitting to standing. – yedwab Jul 10, 2011
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