Feldenkrais Lesson of the Month #57 (7/04)

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

Halo Arms

Flexibility of the torso, shoulder girdle, waist, ribs

Works with:
Shoulders, spine, ribs, sides

   1. Lie on your back on the floor…check in with yourself, and notice how your body meets the floor…how does the quality of contact vary from place to place?...then bring right foot to standing, left leg stretched out…and explore several times a movement of rolling left leg outward, bending the knee, and dragging the left foot on its side toward the right foot, and then to slide the left foot under the arch of the right knee…and then return…do it a few times to see how you use yourself to do this, and how much effort it takes... and then repeat the same movement on other side and see if it is easier or more difficult...and stretch out and rest.

2. Bend knees, so feet are standing on the floor...interlace your fingers and put your hands on the floor above your head so arms form a circle above your head (not touching head)...and from there explore a movement of lifting your right elbow a little away from the floor, forward towards the ceiling…and let it come back...do it slowly and tentatively...what is the easiest trajectory?...how can you make it easier?...let your wrist be soft, and even imagine that you are initiating the movement from your wrist, and see if that changes the sense of effort at all...and rest.

3. Repeat the same exploration with your left elbow...and then slowly lift both elbows from the floor together...and let them come back, gently and easily...be mindful of your wrists and how they rotate in space...do it a number of times...and slide your arms to your sides, stretch out and rest.

4. Same position, feet standing, hands interlaced on floor overhead...keeping fingers interlaced, slowly slide your arms to the right on the floor and bring them back...your left arm goes towards your left ear, right arm away from right ear…notice what is demanded of your upper back...your head stays relatively stationary... you slide your arms to the right and back...where is the hinge of the movement?...and then slide the hoop of the arms to the left and back...which direction is easier?...try to make this movement smooth and flowing...and then combine the movements so you slide your arms to the left and then to the right…slowly from side to side, noticing how your spine, ribs, hips, and breath are involved...and let go of the movement, and rest, arms alongside your body.

5. Same position, feet standing, fingers interlaced overhead on floor...imagine your head and arms are a unit, so must move together...and then slide your head and your arms together to the right...head doesn’t roll, it slides…how do you initiate the movement?...do it a number of times...and rest.

6. Same movement to other side...do it many times...and then combine the movements, and slide the head and arms together from side to side...notice the differences in initiation and ease on the two sides... and let head rest in middle and just move arms side to side as in #4…easier now?...and rest, arms at sides...notice how contact with floor is changing.

7. Same position, feet standing, arms around head...slowly slide the circle of your arms to the right, so left upper arm near left ear and stay there…from that position, slide your head side to side on floor...be gentle...study how you do it, and how you make it easier...your arms are off-center, and you slide your head side to side...and then change it, so instead of sliding the head, your roll it comfortably and slowly from side to side...and rest.

8. Same as #7...arms toward right, head turned right...explore a small movement of tilting your head up and down, so first your chin tilts down toward your right shoulder, and then the back of your head toward tilts toward your left shoulder...you face to the right and look up and down, very gently, delicately...what does this ask of your upper back and spine and shoulders?...and rest.

9. Repeat #7 and #8 on the other side...and then return to neutral, head in middle, and slide the circle of your arms from side to side as at beginning...easier?...and rest.

10. Original position...this time stay with your face forward, nose pointing toward the ceiling...and slide head to the right while sliding hoop of arms to the left... and opposite, slide head to the left and arms to the right...repeat it many times, easily and comfortably...and rest.

11. Same movement as #10 but now turn your head towards the arm that's coming towards your head...you slide your arms to the right and turn your head to the left and slide your arms to the left and turn your head to the right...explore till you find an easy rhythm, till you learn the pattern...and then change it so when you slide your arms to the right you also look to the right, looking now towards the right arm moving away from you...and when you slide your arms to the left, you look to the left...take your time with it till you learn the pattern...and let it go and rest.

12. Original position...repeat original movement, sliding arms side to side....easier? ...what is different?...and now bring the soles of your feet together...your knees are out to the sides, frog-like...from there, find a movement that slides your legs to the right, and come back to center...what happens in your hips, waist, and chest?...does your head move between your arms?...arms move?...and then slide your legs to the left, and see how that is... do it a number of times... . is there a difference?...is one side easier?...and then slide your legs from side to side...making it light and smooth...notice what parts of you are involved in the movement.....and rest.

13. Same position…now explore sliding both the hoop of your arms and the hoop of your legs to the right at same time, so right knee and right elbow get a little closer together, and then come back to neutral...find an easy way to do it...and then explore the other direction...slide your arms and legs to the left together and back to neutral...head move?...and then combine the movements, so you slide both your arms and legs to the right, and then to the left… try it with head still, arms moving around it...and then let head move with arms but opposite knees...and then head with knees, opposite arms...and rest.

14. Same position as #13, arms and legs make hoops...Come back to the same position, hands joined and feet joined...and let’s explore some additional options...try bringing your arms to the right while you bring your legs opposite, to the left...and then bring your arms to the left and your legs to the right...and go side to side like that, arms and legs opposite...where does your head want to go?...what are the possibilities?...first, try holding your head relatively still in the middle...so the arms move side to side around it, opposite the legs …and then change it so you move your arms and your head together, opposite legs…and then a few times move your head opposite your arms, with your knees, so head toward the knee that's coming up...and rest on your back, arms at sides.

15. Bend your knees with your feet standing, and bring your arms overhead, and repeat original movement sliding arms left and right…easier?...more fluid?...repeat #1, sliding each foot under the arch of the opposite knee…is it easier now than at the beginning?...notice what has changed since beginning in your sense of yourself...bring yourself to standing, and walk around, observing changes.