Lesson of the Month #4 (10/96)

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

Flower Opening, Rolling Side to Side

This is really about flexion, but in a way that develops movement possibilities in the rib cage for flexion, extension, and rotation.

Works with:
Opening the chest, coordination of the limbs, and coordinated rotation of spinal elements.

1. Lie down on the floor on your back. How does your body feel today?

2. Bend your knees so your feet are standing. Interlace your fingers behind your head. Now lift your head away from the floor several times, as if to look at your knees, and set it down again...then lift your pelvis away from the floor several times and set it down...then go back and forth, first lifting your head, and then your pelvis, and set down your pelvis, and then your head. Do it several times...and let the movement stop and rest.

3. Now again with your feet standing, extend your arms toward the ceiling and hold them there...and then lift your pelvis a little off the floor, and as you do that, lower your arms toward the floor above your head...and lower the pelvis, and bring your arms back to vertical...repeat it several times...until you can lower your pelvis while comfortably leaving your arms on the floor more or less overhead...then slide your arms back to your sides, stretch out your legs, and rest.

4. Slide your arms overhead on the floor, and have your legs comfortably apart. Become aware of the movement of your chest as you breathe...feel the rise and fall of both your belly and your chest...then exaggerate the movement of your chest slightly on the inhalation...feel the sensation of inflation in your chest...do it several times and rest.

5. Now, beginning with a very small movement, rotate your right leg outward, so the little toe moves toward the floor...and make the movement a little bigger, bending your knee out to the right side, and dragging the foot, lying on its outside edge, toward your right buttock several times...after doing just the leg several times, then each time you slide the knee out to the right, slide your right elbow on the floor down toward yout right knee...the elbow slides downward, dragging the wrist and hand passively along for the ride...gradually make the whole movement bigger until both the knee and the elbow come close together on the floor, and lift off the floor out to the side, in arcs that bring the elbow and knee over your body near each other, oriented toward the ceiling, with the foot dangling down and the right hand hanging down near your face. Repeat that many times, beginning with a slight movement of arching your chest... and let it go, slide your arms to your sides, and rest.

6. Repeat #5 on the left side.

7. Combine #5 and #6 so that you begin with a slight arching of the chest, and draw both knees toward respective elbows out to the sides, and gather elbows and knees close together over your body, with hands and feet dangling loosely. And then return by letting knees and elbows float to the sides and meet the floor where they left it, and slide back to the original position. You gather yourself together like a flower closing, and you return like a flower opening. Rest.

8. Bend your knees so feet are standing, feet comfortably apart, and interlace your fingers behind your head...Bring your right knee over your chest...and then extend your right leg downward, away from your face, at about forty five degrees from the floor, while you lift your head away from the floor...feel your back lengthen against the floor. Do it several times, and hold it for several seconds each time....then repeat the movements on the other side... rest.

9. Stretch out as in #4...and gather your limbs over yourself as in #7...then from that position, roll your head and eyes slowly to the right, while letting your right elbow and right knee drop toward the floor on the right...let yourself roll like that all the way over to your right side, with knee on knee and elbow on elbow....come back by being curious about looking left...turn your head and eyes gently left...let the movement pick up your left elbow as you roll left...then your left knee wants to move, so help it by drawing it slightly toward your chest as you continue to roll left...then as your knees get far apart your right knee wants to follow, so help it along by drawing it toward your chest a little as you roll...and then as you come onto your back, your right elbow lifts, and you are again on your back with elbows and knees over you. ..Repeat it several times...

10. Same movements to left side.

11. Go gently from side to side...attend to the sequencing of the movements, connected like a string of pearls, or cars on a train, or links on a chain...first one part moves, and then a space, and then another joins the movement...and in the space, your spine and ribs and torso are always rolling, first one way and then the other...and let it go, bring your arms to your sides, and rest.

12. Scan your body. Notice the ways in which you feel different from when you started, physically, emotionally, or energetically...then roll to your side, stand up slowly, and notice any differences in standing, walking, or turning.