Lesson of the Month #23 (12/98)

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

Twisting and Lengthening

In a twisting movement, alternately one diagonal and then the other gets longer; this lesson explores how this combination of twisting and lengthening links the whole body together.

Works with:
Whole body, from feet to head, and from fingertips to toes.

1. Lie down on the floor on your back...notice how you feel against the floor today...take a moment to disengage from the outside world and focus inward on the feelings and sensations in your body.

2. Bend your knees so your feet are standing about a foot and a half apart, with the knees more or less over the feet...have your arms on the floor out to the sides...and from this position explore a movement of sliding your right heel right and left...it pivots around the ball of the foot, as if there were a pin through it into the floor...your knee moves in space opposite your heel...and let it go and rest.

3. Same position as #2...explore a slow movement of taking your right knee to the left, so it moves more or less toward your left foot, and back...now, imagine your pelvis is lying on the face of a big clock, with 12 under your waist, 6 under your tail, 3 under your left hip, and 9 under your right hip...and continue the same movement, taking the right knee to the left, but now notice which part of the clock your pelvis rolls over...and then do it so that you start with your waist pressed into the floor at 12, and the pressure of your weight moves from 12 to 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 or 5 as your right knee goes to the left...and come back the same way...repeat it a number of times...and rest.

4. Repeat #2 and #3 on the other side, rolling over the right side of the pelvis from 12 to 11 to 10 to 9 to 8 or 7 o'clock and back as the left knee moves right...and rest.

5. Lie as before with your feet standing, arms out to the sides...take your knees from side to side, across the top of the clock...when you go left your weight goes from 12 to the left down to 4...when you go right it goes from 12 down to 8, always across the top of the clock...go back and forth several times...then continue but now roll your face and neck oposite your knees and look toward the opposite hand before returning...and let it go and rest.

6. Same position, again take knees to the right as in #5, and stay there like that, with your face to the left and arms outstretched, the left palm up and the right palm down...from this position, roll your head slowly to the right while you roll your left arm palm down and your right arm palm up...and roll the head back to the left while you change the arms...go back and forth like that a number of times...then bring your knees back to the center, stretch out and rest for a moment.

7. Do #6 on the other side.

8. Take knees to right and stay there, facing left hand, as in #6...from this position, repeat slowly a movement of thrusting your pelvis forward a little, in the direction it is facing, while you arch your back a little and maybe roll your face a little more to the left, gently increasing the twist in your body...and return and repeat it a number of times...and come back to the center and rest.

9. Repeat #8 on the other side.

10. As in #6, knees right and stay there...face is left, facing left hand...now slowly slide your left arm up over your head on the floor, and follow it with your head and eyes...and come back...do it several times...gradually make it bigger so you take the left arm over your head on the floor and can roll into a fetal position on your right side with both hands in front of you...then extend the left arm out onto the floor in front of you, and slide it up over your head, lengthening your body, following your hand with your head and eyes...somewhere in the movement you thrust your pelvis forward, arching your lower back, lengthening as your upper body rolls onto your back...the knees stay more or less to the right...repeat that several times...your arm sweeps a big arc around you each time...and rest.

11. Repeat #10 on the other side.

12. Repeat #10 and stay on your right side...extend your left arm palm down on the floor in front of you, and move your whole body as if your left hand were on top of a pencil and you were rolling the pencil toward you and away from you on the floor...try it several times so your hips, torso, and head all roll together in the same direction...then change it so your hips stay more or less on your side, and your torso and head and shoulders do all the movement...and then repeat the movement of #6, reaching up over your head on the floor as far as you can, arching your back and lifting your waist away from the floor, rolling your upper body onto your back, and following the hand with your head and eyes...your body lengthens so you can reach further...and rest.

13. Repeat #12 on the other side.

14. Lie on your back and rest...scan your body to see what has changed since the beginning of the lesson...then bend your knees, and repeat the whole sequence from side to side; your knees go right across 12 o'clock...you face your left hand out to the left...you slide the left arm overhead, arch your back and lengthen to come over onto your right side...then you go all the way back onto your back, across 12 o'clock in the middle, and onto the other side...go back and forth like that a number of times...and stretch out on your back and rest....notice how this lesson affects your walking over the next few minutes, hours, and days.