Distributing the work: finding your healthy spine – December 2009

Do you have a “problem spot” in your back or neck? Both under-using and over-using various parts of yourself can result in the perception of a problem in a given location. Using clever and subtle techniques, we can make small adjustments in our habitual patterns of over- and under-use, with the potential to offer significant release of old aches and pains. In this month’s series of Feldenkrais lessons, you’ll become acquainted with vertebrae you didn’t know you have, and learn to perceive your spine in 360 degrees.

  1. AY 177: Making the Spine Flexible and Integrating It
  2. AY 217: On the side, the sternum becoming flexible
  3. AY 218: On the side, bending and twisting the chest and spine
  4. AY 85: Tilting the ear to the shoulder

On the side, the sternum becoming flexible

The spine will only be as flexible as the ribs attached and the sternum allow it to be–and those will only move if they can see themselves moving relative to the pelvis. This lesson addresses that whole relationship.

We had a lively discussion of this lesson on the Feldenkrais practitioners mailing list one day, and so I post my analysis too: Analysis of AY 217, On the side, the sternum becoming flexible. It offers a window into some of the underlying neurological themes that take a Feldenkrais lesson beyond being a matter of just playing with variations.

Making the spine flexible and integrating it

Albinus_t03Chronic tension of the lumbar and neck extensors is a fundamental pattern of limitation. This lesson addresses these areas actively and passively, with ingenious variations that address some key “hidden spots,” particularly in the upper back and neck.

The image from Albinus may help you visualize the bodies and spinous processes of the vertebrae.

You can read a discussion of some passages in Moshe’s books that relate to this lesson here: Commentary on AY 177: Making the spine flexible and integrating it.