Lesson of the Month #22 (10/98)

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

Soles together

Integrating hip joints, pelvis, and lower back into movements of twisting, bending, and stretching.

Works with:
Opening hip joints, increasing flexibility of lower back, spinal rotation.

1. Lie down on your back on the floor, legs stretched out, arms comfortably near your sides on the floor, and check in with yourself today...notice how your body feels against the floor...pay particular attention to your legs, hips, and shoulders...how wide does your back feel?...remember the sensations, and rest.

2. Bend your knees so your feet are standing, shoulder width apart...explore a slow and deliberate movement of tilting your pelvis up and down...if your pelvis were lying on the face of a clock, with 12 under your waist and 6 under your tail bone, you alternately press your waist into the floor at 12 and then press your tail bone at 6...how is your spine involved?...repeat it a number of times...and stretch out your legs and rest.

3. Draw your knees out to the side and place the soles of your feet together, the outside edges of both feet resting on the floor fairly close to your pelvis...from this position, again slowly rock your pelvis between 12 and 6 o'clock...how is it in this position?...is it easier, or more difficult than with your feet standing?...and stretch out and rest.

4. Same position as #3, but extend your arms out to the sides on the floor...this time roll your pelvis to the right so your right knee comes to touch the floor on the right...your left knee can come up over your left foot, more or less...and return...explore it several times...let your head roll in the opposite direction from your hips...your right knee goes to the right, and a little down away from your face to touch the floor...are your palms up or down?...which is easier, for which arm, in which part of the movement?...and let it go and rest.

5. Repeat #4 on the other side.

6. Soles together as before...explore a movement of lifting your knees away from the floor, and closer to each other, and then relaxing and letting them drop to the floor...let your pelvis move...it tilts more toward 12 as your knees lift, and more toward 6 as the knees open...explore it gently a number of times...what does your back do?...your chest?...your head?...and rest.

7. Again soles together...this time rest the outer edge of the right foot on top of the left ankle or instep...from there, explore lifting both knees, and letting the pelvis move...and just the right knee...and just the left knee...and again both knees...and leave your soles together, and just rest for a bit like that...feel how the weight of your legs asks your hip joints to open just a little bit more...and therefore, also asks your pelvis to tilt a little more toward 6...and stretch out your legs and rest.

8. Repeat #7 on the other side.

9. Repeat #3.

10. Again soles of the feet together near your pelvis, arms extended out to the sides...tilt your pelvis to press your waist into the floor at 12 o'clock, and stay there...then roll your pelvis to the right, right knee and lower leg to the floor...the weight of your pelvis moves around the clock from 12 to 10 to 9 to around 8....extend your left arm to the left with the palm up, and roll your face to look at your left hand...your back stretches under your shoulder blade...and maybe roll your right arm palm down at the same time....repeat the sequence many times...your back arches and you feel a gentle stretch across your back from right knee to left arm, and from right hand to left hand...don't struggle...take your time, and it feels good...and rest.

11. Repeat #10 on the other side, your weight rolling from 12 to 3 to 4 or so as the left knee and lower leg come to the floor, and then back to 12... is this side easier or more difficult somehow?...and then go from side to side...first one knee to the floor and then the other...first you look toward one hand as it stretches away from you, and then the other...do it several times...and rest.

12. Again soles of the feet together...interlace your fingers behind your head...and roll the pelvis right, taking the right knee and lower leg to the floor, while your bend your upper body to the left...your face stays oriented to the ceiling, but your head and hands and shoulders slide to the left...and then take the left knee to the floor, while bending to the right...first one knee and then the other comes to the floor, while sliding the head and torso in the opposite direction...go back and forth...and then rest.

13. Repeat #12, but this time leave your arms on the floor overhead...as the right knee comes to the floor on the right, extend your right arm upward on the floor...as left knee comes to floor , extend left arm...attend carefully to what happens in your shoulders, neck, and the large vertebrae between your shoulder blades...go back and forth...explore it mindfully...maybe there's even a way you could slide the upper body and arms from side to side with the movement, as in #12?...and let it all go, stretch out, and rest. 14. Notice what is different in your body...come to standing...and walk around the room and observe differences.