Feldenkrais Lesson of the Month #55 (10/03)

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

Fat Tire

Opening ribs and chest, softening the trunk, gradual distribution of rolling movement through the body, reaching

Works with:
Spinal rotation, turning intention to action

   1. From a standing position, explore a movement of reaching up toward the ceiling with the right hand and looking at it...notice what is easy and difficult about it...and then reach up with the left hand, and look at it, and compare the two sides...remember how it feels now, and check again at the end of the lesson...then lie down on your back on the floor…take time to scan how you inhabit your body…are “you” equally in all of it, or more in some places than others?...just take time to explore this concept in your whole body, and notice the different qualities you can feel in different parts of yourself…notice especially the lying points where your body meets the floor…are these points small and hard and tight, or wide and soft and loose?...notice the different qualities in different places…and remember what this feels like so you can compare for changes at the end of the lesson.

2. Roll onto your right side…lie with your knees bent at 90º…with left leg, knee, and foot on top of right…extend your right arm on the floor above your head and rest your right cheek against the upper arm…(if this is uncomfortable, it’s okay to rest on your back as necessary, or to bend the right arm and rest your head in the right hand)…place your left hand on the floor in front of your chest wherever it is most comfortable…and just lie here for a bit…again study the contact you make with the floor…observe the different qualities in the lying points, the places where your weight is supported by the floor, and notice your willingness to surrender your weight to the floor in this position…and rest.

3. Imagine rolling your entire body a little bit forward…and returning…don’t actually do it, just imagine it…especially notice all the little preparations you make in different parts of your body before you actually initiate the movement…you have to slow the process way down…notice what you do with your breath, where the first muscles begin to tense, all the little things that happen before you can actually initiate the rolling movement…and then go ahead and roll maybe a half inch forward and return…a very small movement, small and slow and reversible…repeat it many times, coming to a complete rest before each initiation…notice how you breathe, and notice the path the intention to move takes through your body…what moves first?...shoulder, head, elbow, hip, knee?...and let it go and rest.

4. Continue #3…study the sequence of rolling your whole body a half inch forward and returning…what is the first part that tenses?...what is the first part that moves?...and the second?...and so on…can you find a way to roll everything together a little forward like that?...or is there always a sequence of some kind?...explore it many times, with attention on softening and expanding the lying surfaces of arm, ribs, pelvis, and leg against the floor as you make this tiny movement…and then gradually make it bigger, so you roll an inch or two forward…and you look for ways to soften the lying points against the floor, as if your body were rolling slowly like a large underinflated tire or inner tube…and return to the starting position…what does your head do?...your eyes?...do it many times so that your head and eyes roll in the same direction as the rolling…and then a number of times so you lift your head slightly and keep your face and eyes oriented straight ahead...your head and neck are carried forward and back by the rolling...and then a few more times head and eyes with whole body...and let it go and rest.

5. Same position…repeat #3 imagining rolling backward a tiny amount…and actually do it a number of times…a very small movement, maybe a half-inch…and then gradually larger…notice the sequence of initiation and movement…soften the lying points as they roll against the floor…your head and eyes roll in the same direction…and rest.

6. Same position…now roll a little forward and a little back…go slowly, attending to keeping the lying surfaces soft and alive…let the head and eyes roll in the same direction as the rest of the body…do it a number of times…and rest.

7. Same position…again roll forward and back a comfortable amount, this time deliberately intiating the movement by rolling the pelvis…your pelvis rolls forward and the left knee slides in front of the left…the pelvis rolls a little back and the left knee slides a little behind the right…where do you intiate the movement?...which surfaces press into the floor to start the pelvis rolling?...let the rest of your body participate a number of times, and then do something to keep your upper body and head from moving as the pelvis rolls forward and back, and do it that way a number of times…and then return to letting the upper body participate and see if that is now different somehow…and let it go and rest.

8. Same position…now initiate the movement from the arm and shoulder…the left elbow and shoulder move slowly forward and back…the rest of the body participates…the hips and the head move in the same direction as the left shoulder…the face and eyes roll toward the floor as the shoulder moves forward, and toward the ceiling as the shoulder rolls back…which surfaces press into the floor to initiate the movement in the arms and shoulders?...only do what is very easy, soft, and smooth…how do you make use of the lying points to help the movement?...can you keep them soft as you move?...and rest.

9. Same position…this time lay your left arm along your left side, and bend your right arm so you cradle your head in your right hand…from this position let the whole body roll softly and smoothly forward and backward…you can use the hand to support your head as your body rolls back and forth...your head and eyes move in the same direction as trunk...face looks over each shoulder at the extremes of the movement...do that many times…and then stop with the face looking forward (toward the wall in front of you), and from that position, move just the left shoulder slowly forward and back a number of times…find a way to do it without tensing elsewhere...and then again several times roll the whole body forward and back as far as is easy and comfortable...let all of yourself participate as it would like…and rest.

10. Same position as #9…lift head slightly with right hand to look toward left hip, and stay there…from that position, slowly move the left shoulder forward and back a number of times…and then change it and roll the whole body together with the shoulder, head, and eyes forward and back a number of times, very slowly and softly, like a big soft tire...your face and eyes roll toward the floor as you roll forward each time...and toward the ceiling as you roll back...do it a number of times...and rest.

11. Same position as #10…keeping your thighs and knees together and your right leg and foot on the floor, find a way to lift your left foot away from the right…you have to rotate the left thigh inward to lift the foot...keep your right hip and thigh soft on the floor…your pelvis rolls forward and a bit up toward your head as you lift the foot, and your trunk and head and neck do something to accommodate the movement…do it a number of times…and then, change it so that each time you lift the foot, also lift your head away from the floor in your right hand, and look toward your left hip…and then lower the foot, and roll the body forward as if to look at the floor near the right armpit...and repeat the cycle a number of times, keeping the lying surfaces soft and warm and alive, with a quality like a large underinflated tire…and let it go and rest.

12. Same position as #12…again roll the pelvis forward…but this time, imagine the legs tied together at the ankles and knees...you have to roll your pelvis and turn your waist to lift the legs like this...and let the body roll forward as if to roll onto the stomach as you lift the feet…at the same time lift the head (supported by right hand) away from the floor and look up toward the wall above your head…your back arches as you roll toward your stomach and look up toward the wall…it’s a pleasant stretch…and reverse it and come back to neutral...keep the lying surfaces soft…repeat it many times…and rest.

13. Same position…now repeat again the movement of rolling the whole body forward and backward together…let the lying surfaces stay soft and alive…notice the improvement since the beginning…roll onto your back and rest…compare the two sides and notice the changes since the beginning of the lesson…notice the quality of your breathing on each side…come up to sitting…stand up and reach first the right arm toward the ceiling and look at it and then the left...is it easier than at the beginning?...and walk around for awhile, noticing if anything is different in your walk.

14. You can stop here for today, or you can repeat #1-#13 on the other side.