Feldenkrais Lesson of the Month # 33 (4/00)

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

Trunk Twist

Bending, twisting, turning, coordinating flexors and extensors

Works with:
Twisting and turning of the spine and trunk.

   1. Begin by just standing...then step out with one foot and stand like that...shift weight forward and back from one foot to the other, and notice how you do that, how it feels...change feet and repeat it on the other side...compare the two sides...are there differences?...which side feels easier?...and just stand and rest.

2. Again stand with one foot forward a small step...interlace fingers behind head, and repeat the movement of shifting weight from foot to foot...how is that?...and change it so you turn your head and upper body look up at one elbow as you step forward each time...let your hands slide over the back of your head as your head turns...which elbow is easier to look at this way?...and go back to neutral each time...repeat it a number of times...and rest.

3. Repeat #2 on the other side...then lie down on your back on the floor, and check in with yourself...scan your body and see what your body is saying about life today...and rest.

4.Roll onto your stomach, with your forehead on the floor, and hands as if to do a pushup (elbows in the air, palms on the floor near shoulders), legs stretched out and comfortably apart...from this position, explore a small movement of rolling your entire body a little to the left and back to neutral...it's as if your spine were one inarticulatable (is that a word?) unit, so all the vertebrae move together (don't hold yourself rigid)...your hips, spine, neck, and head all roll the same amount at the same time, more or less...let your legs roll, so the inside of the right foot comes toward the floor each time...repeat that a number of times...it's not a big movement...just see how it is to organize yourself so that everything moves together...and rest.

5. Beginning again with your forehead on the floor, repeat #4, rolling left...your right shoulder lifts away from the floor, and your left ear comes near the floor...let your spine articulate however is most comfortable...let your right leg roll and your right knee bend each time you roll left, so the inside of the right foot comes toward the floor...do that a number of times...then, as the movement gets more familiar, turn your head and lift your face away from the floor each time you roll, and look down at your right knee through the space under your right side, which is lifting away from the floor as you roll to the left...and return to neutral...repeat it several times...and rest.

6.Repeat #4 and #5 on the other side.

7. Combine the movements of #4 - #6 and roll from side to side, bending first one knee to the side and then the other, and looking down at it under your body...your head stays off the floor through the entire sequence...your chin is away from your chest and you look at the wall in front of you as you go through the middle...notice how the front of your body interacts with the floor throughout the movement...repeat it many times...and rest.

8. Lie on your stomach and lift yourself up so you rest on your forearms and elbows, with the elbows more or less under your shoulders and the forearms more or less pointing in the direction you are facing...your legs are stretched out, comfortably apart...(further apart is easier)...note: if this position is at all uncomfortable, expecially for your lower back, you might try lifting your pelvis a little higher by placing a folded blanket under it; if still uncomfortable, stop here for today, and try again another time; eventually the first sequences will make this position available to you--be patient!)...from this position, roll your pelvis to the left, bending the right knee and letting the right heel roll left toward the floor...at the same time let your left shoulder come forward, your right shoulder come back, and turn to look over your right shoulder toward your right knee, which is sliding out to the right side some amount that feels comfortable, smooth, and easy...and return to neutral...repeat it many times, slowly and mindfully...and rest.

9. Same position as #8, but this time begin with your knees bent so your lower legs are perpendicular to the floor, and the soles of your feet face the ceiling (again, it is easier if knees are wider apart)...tilt your pelvis to the left so the feet swing to the left...as before let the right knee come out to the side...at the same time turn your head and eyes and shoulders to the right to look over your right shoulder toward your right knee...and return...repeat it several times...and rest.

10. Repeat #8 and #9 on the other side.

11. Same position as #9, resting on elbows and forearms, feet in the air...repeat same movement as #9, but now go from side to side, first looking over one shoulder and then the other...look at the wall in front of you as you go through the middle each time...your feet go right and you look over the left shoulder...your feet go left and your look over the right shoulder...repeat it languidly a number of times.. and rest.

12. Repeat #11...but now as your feet and lower body go from side to side, keep your head and eyes oriented to the front...go slowly...you keep facing forward as your feet go from side to side...let your upper body swing right and left to accommodate the movement of the pelvis...your trunk has to twist...your head and shoulders will be carried from side to side, but you keep your face oriented forward, as if crawling toward a goal...give yourself some time to sort out the most comfortable way to do this...and rest.

13. Repeat #12 from the same position, but now keeping your head and eyes oriented the right through the whole movement...go slowly...do it a number of times...and then change it so your head and eyes are oriented to the left throughout the movements...how is this for you?...and rest.

14. Repeat #11, going from side to side, and looking over each shoulder toward the knee which is sliding out...and then roll onto your back and rest.

14. Observe your contact with the floor...is the space under your lower back different from usual?...bring your knees over your chest and hold one knee in each hand...just stay there for a moment...and then slowly massage your lower back by taking the knees from side to side...then roll to your side, bring yourself to standing and repeat #1 and #2...is it easier now?