Feldenkrais Lesson of the Month #37 (10/00)

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

Softening the Trunk

Standing balance; easing the breath; freedom of chest, ribs, and shoulders

Works with:
Trunk, chest, ribs, spine, shoulders, breath

   1. Lie down on your back on the floor, on a carpet or firm pad...check in with yourself...attend to how your body makes contact with the floor, and to the many feelings and sensations in your body today...compare right and left sides, and notice what parts of you are more comfortable and which are less comfortable...remember so you can compare with how you feel after the lesson.

2. Come to a sitting position on the floor...look up several times...then fold and unfold your hands together several times, and look up again...fold and unfold them the nonhabitual way several times, and again look up...anything change?...and lie on your back and rest.

3. On back, arms on floor at about 45 degrees from body...bring left foot to standing more or less under left knee...explore a movement of taking left knee to the right, and back to center...do it several times...let pelvis roll to the right each time as movement gets larger...what happens to your right leg?...several times let right leg roll right with the left knee and the pelvis...then several times roll the right leg left, opposite the movement of the left knee and pelvis...then, letting the right leg participate (or not) as it would like, change the movement so that each time the left knee moves to right, your right arm rolls palm up on the floor from the shoulder...does head move?...repeat many times...and rest.

4. Change legs so right foot stands, left leg extended...take right knee to left several times...let left leg roll in same direction...and in opposite direction...and let right hip lift away from the floor each time...you take right knee to the left, and your pelvis rolls to the left...then change it so when the knee goes left the right arm rolls palm down on the floor from the shoulder each time the knee moves to the left...do it many times...how do your head and neck participate?...and rest.

5. Repeat #3, but this time let right arm roll palm down from the shoulder each time left knee moves to right...this is different across your shoulders and back...and rest.

6. Repeat #4, but this time let right arm roll palm upward from the shoulder each time right knee moves to left...and rest.

7. Left foot stands, right leg stretched out...take left knee to right (hip lifts) and stay there...place your left hand behind your head, and lift head slightly away from floor, and bend your body to carry your head from side to side over the floor...your face stays oriented toward the ceiling...do it several times, and then let it go and rest.

8. Right foot stands, left leg stretched out...take right knee to the left (hip lifts) and stay there...repeat #7 from this position (left hand still behind head)...and rest.

9. Left knee to right and stay...right arm rolled palm down...flex and extend right foot many times...(can be quickly but lightly)...face stays in center, chin is rocked up and down...observe contact of floor moving across back...and rest.

10. Right knee to left and stay, right arm again turned in...left leg extended...flex and extend left foot many times, lightly, quickly, so chin rocks up and down...observe contact of floor moving across back...and stretch out legs and rest.

11. Observe changes from beginning of lesson...come to sitting...repeat #2...any different? Stand up...feel yourself in gravity...walk around and see what feels different.

12. If you are really ambitious, repeat entire lesson on other side (essentially working with the left arm rolling palm up and palm down on the floor in #3-#6, and the right hand behind the head on #7 and #8.)