Feldenkrais Lesson of the Month #48 (6/02)

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

Turning the waist

Nearly every full-bodied movement requires the coordinated counter-rotation of hips and shoulders, while at the same time maintaining balance and keeping the head free to orient in many directions. This lesson coordinates the movements of the pelvis, shoulders, and chest through a range of flexion, extension, and rotational movements.

Works with:
Hips, shoulders, chest, spine

   1. Lie on your back..scan your body...how does everything feel today?

2. Roll onto right side…rest head on right arm or on low firm support...knees together and feet together...left hand on floor in front…fingers point upward (direction of head) or inward (toward chest) on floor…roll body slowly forward and back so left shoulder and left hip move forward and back about the same amount at the same time (like a log)...do it mindfully a number of times...the points of contact of your body with the floor move and change...can you keep the contact points soft?…and let it go and rest.

3. Extend left arm overhead toward floor above your head, and left leg downward away from head, with foot bent as if standing flat-footed on an imaginary floor, and repeat rolling forward and back from this position…notice how leg rotates, heel more toward floor, then big toe more toward the floor...what is different about rolling in this position?...and rest.

4. Knees drawn up on top of each other again as in #2...again roll your whole torso as a unit so left shoulder and left knee go forward and back together…do it many times, and then hold shoulders fixed, and just roll hip forward and back a number of times...take time to learn to make it smooth…then hold hips fixed in space and just roll shoulder forward and back…and then roll hip forward and shoulder back...and then opposite, hip back and shoulder forward...and let it go and rest.

5. Same position…move left shoulder and left hip up toward left ear and down away from left ear together…as they lift, right side gets longer and waist presses into floor…as they go down, right side gets shorter, and waist lifts away from floor…and rest.

6. Same position…similar movement, but this time move left shoulder and left hip opposite each other…as shoulder lifts toward head, hip moves down away from head…does waist lift or press?...do it softly a number of times...what does your head want to do?...and let it go and rest.

7. Extend left arm overhead and left leg below…explore a movement of lengthening body so hand and foot get further from each other, then closer…what does waist do?...and rest.

8. Knees together on side as in #2…put left hand over top of (not behind) head near right ear…lift and lower head from floor several times…hip moves a little toward head each time you lift…you use your whole side to lift the head, not just your neck...your waist presses into the floor each time to help make it easier…do it a number of times...and rest.

9. Same position as #8…this time use your hand and arm to help lift your head away from the floor, and stay there…from this position, roll entire body forward and back…let head and eyes turn comfortably with the movement, looking a little over one shoulder and then the other…and rest.

10. Original position on right side, left hand on floor, knees together and feet together…now explore gently moving left hip and shoulder in parallel circles…do it many times...and change directions and continue….then, beginning with hip up toward head and shoulder down away from head, explore making "lagged" circles with shoulder and hip...they begin far apart, roll forward and come toward each other...and roll back and get far apart again...explore that a number of times...and change directions...and finally, bring left shoulder forward, and draw left hip back...from there, take hip and shoulder in opposite directions...go slowly, it may be confusing...and let it all go, roll onto your back, and rest. Notice the many differences between the two sides.

11. Repeat #2 through #10 on other side.