Lifting a long leg

This is the first of two lessons in the January 15 Workshop: Weight and Weightlessness, 2011. We’re in sidelying, finding how to manage the weight of the long leg in various directions/configurations.

It’s a mash-up of Mia & Gaby’s lesson (1977 #9) and Moshe’s AY #232 (minimal movements lying on the side, for those following along at home.

The second lesson is Walking Backward–or in a recording from a couple of years ago, Walking backward.

On the right side, head and knee under the frame of the left arm

When we fold forwards (flex) we think of this as shortening. But every shortening involves lengthening. You can lie on your back and take your knee and elbow towards one another–and that involves a certain level of challenge in lifting lefts and head. This lesson takes a familiar idea and does it in a different Vary the lesson: orientation, manipulation, timing orientation¬†— sidelying — and in this very low-effort environment, more refinement is possible.

This is the second lesson in the April 2010 month of lengthening lessons.

Lengthening Heels and Arms

The theme this month is “Finding Length.” Here’s a suggestion for working with this lesson. You might do it first in a very casual way where you pay attention only to getting comfortable with lying on your side with your legs in the positions described. Don’t make too much effort with the arm/chest/chin directions on your first go through. Come back a day or two later, and do it again (fog horn comments and all), and now that you’re not so much occupied with your balance on your side and your leg arrangement, you can play with the lengthening movements and the arms/chest/chin in a lighter and more refined way.

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.

Circles with the heel

Watching the local students do this lesson this week was really a treat. It’s like watching a room of people giving themselves FI lessons (one-on-one hands-on Feldenkrais).

The work becomes most powerful when you can approach it with a very conscientious attention to the instructions (in this case, making a circle), while at the same having that attitude Moshe calls “wasting time.” It absolutely matters not at all whether you can draw a circle with the heel–so leave behind all the effort and trying you put into what you do every day–while at the same time, if you can even out, smooth out the circle even one little bit, you will find remarkable transformations in the length of your spine, in how you stand over your feet, in how you carry your head.

In FI one can spend a lot of time on this line through the skeleton from the heel (or just ahead of the heel) to find how every inch of the spine can be part of this foundation for action that is being upright in gravity; in this lesson you can work with it yourself.

Extending arms and knees

What could he be thinking? How did anyone ever come up with the idea that you could lie on your side, top knee in front on the floor, turn your face and shoulders towards the ceiling, and tap your shoulder blades on the ground? It feels impossible – in an entirely unique way for each shoulder!

How about if you stop the recording whenever you find yourself pushing for the achievement, and invent a variation or exploration that’s easier than what you’re doing now? Each of these explorations can be a whole lesson in itself. And then when you come back to the recorded lesson, all sorts of surprising possibilities may emerge.