Lesson of the Month #28 (9/99)

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

Rolling from Back to Sitting

Rolling, twisting, and turning; coordinating flexors and extensors;establishing comfortable mobility on the floor.

Works with:
Flexibility and organization of trunk and spine, and relationships with arms, legs, and head.

Part I: Rolling from Back to Side

1. Begin by just standing, and noticing how it feels...turn right a few times...and left a few times...see how that is...then lie down on your back on the floor with legs stretched out, arms comfortably on floor ...take a full minute or two just to lie here and observe your symmetry, or lack of it, without correcting anything...compare your two sides against the floor, from feet to head...and rest.

2. Drag your right foot up to standing, more or less under the knee...do it by rolling the leg to the right, bending the knee out to the side near the floor, dragging the foot on the floor toward your hip, and then swinging the knee up over the foot...then open the knee out to the right, and slide the foot back down...repeat it several times, letting your pelvis roll with the movements...and let it go and rest.

3. Repeat #2 on the left side.

4. Combine the movements by rolling the pelvis to the right and dragging the right foot up to stand as in #2...and with the right foot standing, roll the pelvis to the left and drag the left foot up to standing...the left knee goes out to the left near the floor as you bend it, before you lift it up over the foot...then roll the pelvis to the right, open the right knee to the right, and slide the right foot down...then roll left and slide the left foot down...repeat that cycle again, beginning now with the left foot...and continue like that, rolling the pelvis from side to side, dragging first one foot and then the other to stand, and then opening one knee and then the other and sliding the foot down...notice as you do it how your trunk, spine, ribs, shoulders, and head participate in the movements...and let it go and rest.

5. Bring both knees to standing, as before, and stay there...lift your right knee over your chest, and hold it in both hands...explore the range of movement of the knee in space, toward you, away from you, right, and left...let your pelvis roll freely...begin with very small movements, and gradually make them bigger...let your back and chest be soft...as the movement gets larger, you could maybe roll all the way onto each side, if it feels very easy...don't force it, you're just exploring the directions...and let it go and rest.

6. Repeat #5 holding the left knee.

7. Hold right knee over body in left hand only, right arm on floor out to side...slowly take the knee from side to side...your hip opens as you roll right, and your pelvis rolls left going left...repeat it many times...and rest.

8. Hold left knee in right hand only, and repeat #7 on the other side.

9. Hold one knee over your body in each hand, and explore rolling right and left...start small and gradually make it larger until you roll onto each side with your face rolling toward the floor somewhat...do it so your knees stay wide apart in middle, and then come together one on top of the other on the side...from the side, begin the return movement by moving your visual intention first, and then bring the knee on top a little toward your chest as you begin the roll...when the knees are far apart, begin the movement of the other knee also by drawing it toward your chest a little...go from side to side like that many times, gently...and stretch out and rest on your back.

10. Bend your knees so both feet are standing...hold each opposite elbow over your chest...then lift your pelvis into the air while you lower your arms to floor and extend them overhead...then slowly lower your pelvis while dragging elbows down to the sides and your hands return to holding each opposite elbow across your chest...repeat it a number of times...like taking off a sweater...you lift the pelvis each time the arms drop overhead to the floor...your arms gradually feel more comfortable overhead as your chest opens...then, after you have done that several times, stay there with your pelvis in the air, and your arms outstretched overhead on the floor...and from that position, slowly explore a movement of extending your left arm overhead while you roll your head right...and extend the right arm while head rolls left...and back and forth like that, stretching each side...as you continue you might find your upper body and arms sliding a little from side to side as you do it...and let it all go and rest.

11. Place your arms overhead on floor, knees over chest...open right knee to right, roll pelvis right...left shoulder lifts...look up at hands as upper body and head roll right...and return and repeat...gradually make it bigger until you roll onto right side with head rolled onto right upper arm...left arm comes all the way around, elbow bends, arm rests in front of you on floor...rest here a moment...then extend left arm overhead, following it with head and eyes, and reverse the movement, rolling onto back with arms overhead...repeat many times...and rest.

12. Repeat #11 on the other side.

13. Combine #11 and #12, rolling all the way from side to side...go slowly...let your body lengthen and soften like a string of bread dough with each roll...explore different trajectories for your arms, finding the ones that are most comfortable for you...and let it go and rest on your back.

Part II: Rolling from Back to Sitting

14. Come to sit on the floor with your knees right, feet left...right sole is near your left knee, left foot behind left hip, more or less...put hands on floor on right side...gradually slide right hand on floor out to right...upper body moves toward floor...left leg extends to counterbalance...left hand and muscles of trunk support weight...and come back...go in stages, a little at a time...learn how to engage muscles of left side to come up to sitting...repeat many times...you learn to use the strong muscles of your trunk...you neck and arms do very little work...gradually go all the way to your side on the floor, and repeat it several times...then bend your left knee, draw it up toward your chest, open your knees, and roll onto back as in Part I...repeat that cycle many times, going from back to sitting to back...and rest.

15. Repeat #14 on the other side.

16.Begin on your back, knees over chest, arms overhead on floor...roll right onto right side, swinging left arm overhead, arching back enough to follow it with head and eyes...left hand comes to rest on floor in front of you near knees...head rests on left arm, face somewhat toward floor...and continue up to sitting, as in #14...then reverse it and go back down onto back with knees over chest...repeat the cycle many times...go slowly, melting your body through the movements...and rest.

17. Repeat #16 to the other side.

18. Combine #16 and #17, rolling up to sitting first to right, then left, back and forth across your back...go from side to side like that many times...and rest.

19. Come to sit and stay there, knees right, feet left, hands to right side...turn upper body, head and eyes to look over right shoulder...then come back to center, bring left hand to left side, and with hand on floor on either side, lift knees and swing them to left...bring right hand to left side, and turn body, head and eyes to look over left shoulder...go from side to side like that, twisting to look over each shoulder, swinging the knees over each time...don't use effort, use intelligence and softness...take your time...and rest.

20. Now put it all together and go all the way around in a circle...from sitting, extend arm and roll down to back...roll across your back and up to sit on the other side...swing upper body, arms, and knees around in sitting, and go down on the other side to roll onto back...and keep going...go around several times....and change directions, and do that several times...and rest on your back. Notice how you feel against the floor...once more come to sit, stand up, walk around, noticing differences.