Remembering the structure of a lesson

It’s interesting to notice what sticks with you about a lesson and what didn’t.

If I sum up the Sidelying, sliding hands and knees lesson from my own memory (almost a week after teaching it), here is the “skeleton outline” I would make of it.

  • Scanning: weight/quality of resting of the body on the floor; rolling the head left and right with attention to the quality of the neck muscles.
  • Lying on the side, arms extended in front and palms together; legs together and knees bent up at a right angle, more or less. Slide the top hand forwards and back to starting place (we returned to this as a reference movement several times in the lesson). Rest. Slide the top hand backwards (keep elbow straight) and back to starting place. Rest. Slide forwards and backwards.
  • Rest face up & scan.
  • Same position, on the side, same sequence with sliding the top knee.
  • Rest face up & scan.
  • Same position: slide both hand and knee forwards and backwards.
  • Same position: slide hand forwards and knee backwards and vice versa
  • Then all together forwards and backwards again.
  • Rest face up & scan.

For myself, remembering this sequence is less a test in the academic sense and more another chance to notice how my “nervous system” took in the lesson. As I wrote it out, I forgot the use of the reference movement and I went back to add that in after finishing the skeleton, and I don’t recall clearly when we repeated the reference. You probably notice that some things that stood out in your memory are absent from my account.

The most important missing stuff in this skeleton is where I directed your attention during these movements (and where you took your own attention when you taught yourself). It’s pretty essential to the lesson that I brought your awareness to your head participating or not in the movement. Or that I encouraged a spreading of your awareness to take in your back, your spine, your chest, your belly. Or that I brought your awareness to the balance of how far you moved forwards in comparison to backwards, or to how far you moved your shoulders in comparison to how far you moved your hips.

(Can you relate any of those points to the “principles” we discussed?)

The same sequence of movements can be a completely different lesson depending on where the person teaching (someone else or yourself) leads your awareness or refines that feedback loop of how you adjust and “correct” your actions in relation to your intention.

Do you recognize some of these elements as things you left out when you taught yourself? Do you remember some things that I’ve left out?