Lesson of the Month #10 (5/97)

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


Standing and reaching, screwing in light bulbs, walking, overall balancing the relationship between muscles of the front and back of the body.

Works with:
lengthening along diagonals from each foot across and through the trunk to the opposite hand. Connects the arms and legs to each other by linking them functionally to the strong muscles of the trunk.

1. Lie on your back. Notice the feelings and sensations in your body...how do your arms and legs feel against the floor? Feel the quality of your breathing. How connected are your arms and legs? Where is the place, exactly that is the dividing line between your arms and legs and your hips, or shoulders, or back?

2. Lie with your legs extended, and comfortably apart. Have your arms somewhere on the floor away from your body. Now , keeping your right leg relatively straight, repeat a number of times a small movement of extending your right heel away from you on the floor, and letting it come back. It's not bending the knee, and it's not flexing the ankle...you have to extend the leg by moving your hip...feel what your spine, ribs, chest, neck, and head have to do to make the movement easy...where do you initiate the movement?...let the movement stop and rest.

3. Repeat #2, but this time use your hip to slide the heel toward your hip...the knee does not bend, you are using your body to pull the right side of your pelvis toward you...and then combine the movements, pushing the heel away and then pulling it toward you on the floor...your pelvis "yaws" from side to side...and let it go and rest.

4. Repeat #2 and #3 with the left leg.

5. Bring your attention to your left arm...roll the arm so your palm faces the ceiling, and slowly slide your arm away from your body as if to slide it over your head on the floor...don't force it, only what's easy and comfortable...stay within easy limits...then roll the arm palm down, and slide it back alongside...repeat the cycle several times...then let it go and rest.

6. Slide your left arm overhead as in #5 and leave it there. Only go so far as your arm is relatively straight and comfortable, resting on the floor. Now, keeping the arm relatively straight, extend the arm so the back of your hand slides up and away from your body along the axis of your arm...you don't bend the elbow, you are doing something with your whole shoulder, and the rest of your body...it might be a small movement...if you feel even the slightest discomfort or strain, make the movement smaller until it is comfortable...just explore it a number of times...then carefully slide your arm back down and rest.

7. Same as #6, but this time alternate the movement with extending your right heel down and away...first you extend the left arm overhead, then you extend the right heel downward...it's as if someone was pulling your right leg, and then someone else pulled your left arm, back and forth along the same diagonal...feel the connection through your body, so that they become opposite ends of the same movement through your body...then carefully slide your arm back down and rest.

8. Same as #7, but now each time your left arm reaches upward let your head roll so you look toward your left arm or shoulder, and back to center as the leg reaches down...then reverse it so you look toward the left shoulder while the leg extends downward...which is more comfortable?...Carefully slide your arm back down and rest.

9. Repeat #5, #6, #7,and #8 on the opposite sides.

10. Carefully slide both arms along the floor till they are more or less straight, and more or less overhead, with the condition that both arms be completely comfortable on the floor. Have your legs comfortably apart, maybe a foot or two...then combine the previous movements, extending first one leg, while shortening the opposite arm, and then the other diagonal, as if four people held you like a big letter X,...when your right leg is pulled, your left arm is pulled in the same direction, and so forth... where on your back do the diagonals cross?...repeat it a number of times...then try it a few times keeping your pelvis from moving...notice how inhibiting that is...and let it move again (big relief, huh?)...and rest.

11. Same as first part of #10, but this time change it so when the left leg extends, the right arm also extends, so the foot and hand get further apart...and then closer together...lengthening and shortening the diagonal..then the same on the other diagonal...and then go back to the original movement a few times as in #10, with hip and opposite shoulder moving in same direction on each diagonal...and then make the movement fast and light several times...and rest.

12. Roll onto your stomach. Have your hands on the floor near your face, and roll your face to the more comfortable side. What makes this side more comfortable? Then begin a movement of extending the hand you are facing up and away from you on the floor, keeping the arm relatively straight, and extending the arm from the shoulder and trunk...and then drawing it back... explore it gently a number of times...and rest.

13. Same as #12, but now alternate the arm movement with an extension of the opposite leg...the hand slides up and then the foot slides down...then turn the toes of that foot under and continue...easier? Feel the connection between hand and foot...when one moves, the other moves in the same direction...let it go and rest.

14. Repeat #12 and #13 on the other side.

15. Turn your face back to the more comfortable side, or face the floor with your nose or forehead on the floor (not your chin), turn both toes under, and gently alternate diagonals...then roll onto your back and rest.

16. Bend your knees so your feet are standing, and interlace your fingers behind your head...as in a previous lesson, fold yourself in the middle and bring both knees toward both elbows a few times...notice how your back pushes into the floor...is it anywhere near where the diagonals cross?...stretch out arms and legs like an X, and lift your right arm and left leg together a few times...then left arm and right leg...then both arms and both legs...and let it all go, slide your arms carefully back to your sides, and rest. Notice how you feel. What is different?...then roll to your side, stand up, and walk around. Observe changes over the next few days.