Lesson of the Month #1

For safety and best results, read instructions before doing lessons!

Gentle Twist

Differential rotation of spine. Counter-rotation of hips, shoulders, neck.

Works with:
Hips, waist, shoulders, spine, ribs, neck.

1. Find a comfortable space where you can lie down on the floor, on a carpet or folded blanket. Take a moment to scan the feelings and sensations in your body. Notice areas of comfort and discomfort. Notice differences between your right and left sides. Remember how you feel, so you can observe changes that occur during the course of the lesson.

2. Bend your knees so your feet are standing comfortably, about shoulder width. Notice if it takes effort to keep your knees from falling inward or outward...where is the most stable position for your feet?...then let go of that and imagine that the ball of your right foot is pinned to the floor, and repeat several times a gentle movement of sliding your right heel right and left... which way does your knee move?...then imagine your right heel is pinned and slide the ball of your foot right and left several times... which way does your knee move?...then stretch out your legs and rest.

3. Bend your knees and repeat #2 with your left foot.

4. Bend your knees as before. Hold your right knee in both hands over your body. Several times bring your knee closer to and then further from your chest...then hold your knee still in space, and lift your right foot up and down several times, partially straightening and bending the leg...then repeat bringing the knee toward the chest...easier?
Now take your knee a little right and left several times...is your foot going right and left with the knee? Following? Leading? Do the movement several times with the foot going right and left with the knee, and then several times with foot staying more or less fixed in space as the knee moves...then make circles in space with the knee, first clockwise, then counterclockwise...then stretch out and rest. Compare your legs, and note and differences.

5. Repeat #4 with the left knee.

6. Hold both knees over your chest, one in each hand. Open and close the knees several times...do it a few times with the feet opening wide with the knees, and then a few times with the feet staying close together as the knees separate....Rest.

7. Bend your knees, feet standing as in #2...leave your arms on the floor out to the sides. Gently take your knees left and right several times. Begin with a small movement, and gradually make the movement larger, but not faster, each time...allow your pelvis to roll...allow your waist to turn...let your ribs be soft...don't "flop" your knees, but keep the movement reversible...Does your head want to turn? Rest.

8. Bend knees. Gently rock your pelvis up and down a few times, so your waist alternately lifts and then presses the floor...then next time your tailbone lifts, lift your pelvis away from the floor, feeling your weight roll up your spine, one vertebra at a time...then let yourself down one vertebra at a time. Repeat it several times. Let it go and rest.

9. Bend your knees. Put one hand on each opposite elbow, and hold the box so formed over your chest...then take your elbows alternately right and left several times...let your head and eyes follow your wrists...then let your arms down and rest.

10. Roll your head and neck slowly and easily right and left several times. Feel your chest move right and left with your head movement.

11. Bend your knees. Hold elbows as in #9. Roll entire body to the right; knees, chest, elbows, head, and eyes...then all to left...this is the undifferentiated movement of rotating the spine.

12. Same as #11, except now when your knees go right, your elbows and head go left, and vice versa. Repeat it several times. Go slowly. Feel what this asks of you back...your ribs...let it go and rest.

13. Take knees right and left, in opposition to elbows going left and right, but this time your head and eyes go with your knees, not your elbows.

14. Repeat #11.

15. Bend your knees. Hold your right knee over your body in both hands, and bring the knee toward the chest several times...each time press the floor with your left foot and lift your tailbone a little off the floor...repeat with the left knee...Then hold both knees over your body, one in each hand...open and close the knees a few times...then take the knees right and left a few times, rolling a little right and left with the knees...then stretch out and rest.

16. Scan your body. Notice differences from when you began the lesson. Notice your breathing... the way you lie against the floor...your sense of well-being...then slowly roll to your side and sit up. When you are oriented, stand up, and gently walk around, observing differences.