Lesson of the Month #7 (1/97)

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


This lesson works with extension themes like looking up and bending backward, but also explores how these themes are related to several fundamental aspects of standing upright and walking.

Works with:
Hip joints, lower back, spinal rotation and extension, middle and upper back, neck rotation, and head carriage. Just about everything!

How to do these lessons.

1. Lie on your back. See how this is for you today. Notice the contact of the floor with your lower back. Bend your knees so your feet are standing. How does this change the way your back meets the floor?

2. Roll onto your stomach. Have your hands near your head on the floor, and your feet apart, heels out, toes in. On which side is your head more comfortable? Notice how your body meets the contact of the floor.

3. Put your face in the middle. How is this for you? Is your forehead down or chin down? Place your forehead down. Press your pelvis into the floor several times so you feel the pubic bone press into the floor...how does this affect your neck and the comfort of your head? Turn your face to one side and rest.

4. Again forehead down. Roll your head slowly and carefully from side to side several times, like a ball...notice that this ball is connected to your body through your spine, and let the needs of the rest of your body help the movement...what happens in your shoulders, back, ribs, and pelvis? Rest.

5. Put your right hand behind your head, your left arm alongside your body. Roll your head left with your hand...the left ear goes toward the floor...and each time you roll left, bend your right knee, and lift your right foot into the air, and drop it toward the left as your head turns...your knee stays on the floor, and your whole body rolls a little left. Rest.

6. Repeat #5 on the other side, left hand behind head.

7. Roll onto your back. Bend your knees and bring them over your chest. Then let the knees come out to the sides and rest each knee in the support of your hands, resting the elbows on the floor...bring your awareness to your eyes and slowly look a little to the left and to the right, noticing the movement this invites in your head and neck. Then let in go and roll onto your stomach.

8. Rest your left cheek on the floor, left arm alongside, right hand placed as if to do a pushup. Bend your knees, feet in the air, and slowly drop the feet to the left several times...what limits the movement?

9. Same as #8, but now each time you roll your pelvis left, bend your right knee, and let it slide a little up toward your right hand...and at the same time lift your ear away from the floor and let your upper body roll a little further toward your left shoulder...let it go and rest.

10. Repeat #8 and #9 on the other side.

11. Rest on your back, your knees bent, feet standing. Feel your lower back against the floor...roll your head gently from side to side...what do your eyes do? Place your palms over your eyes, blocking out any light...your fingers are over your hairline, your thumbs near your temples, hands slightly crossed. Rest your eyes into blackness. Take a minute or two for this. Then allow your hands tiny movements exploring how the skin under your hands moves in different directions, a little up a little down, a little right or left. Notice that some directions are easier than others, and that all get easier as you do this... then let it go and rest.

12. Roll onto your stomach. Knees bent, feet in the air, knees wide apart, hands on the floor as if to do pushup, or even wider apart, face in the middle. Feet drop right, head rolls right, whole body rolls right...then to the left...go from side to side...push gently with each hand to help your upper body roll...let your knee slide up on either side a little if that makes the movement easier...repeat it several times...rest.

13. Same as #12, except this time right ear toward floor as feet drop left, and vice versa...head rolls opposite the pelvis... take it easy here, and find an easy stretch across your back. Rest, and then repeat it again several times... it has something to do with walking... then let it go, and put your face down in the middle repeat #3.

14. Come onto your hands and knees. Draw in your belly and let your head drop, arching your back, like a cat, and then let that go while you sit back toward your heels, keeping your eyes looking toward your hands on the floor...repeat it several times...then return to all fours, hands on the floor under your shoulders, and find a movement of letting your spine sink between your shoulder blades, and then rise back up again...your shoulders, neck, and back all have to cooperate, but your arms don't bend...take your time with it...then let it go and rest.

15. Lie again on your stomach, and lift yourself up to rest on your elbows and forearms...is this okay for you? You are looking up across the floor, your elbows are under your shoulders, and your hands and forearms rest on the floor parallel to each other, and your knees are bent with the feet in the air. If there is any discomfort or strain, skip to #19 now, and postpone this part of the lesson until it is comfortable. From this position, lean your right shoulder forward a little, your left shoulder back, and let your head turn a little left, your right ear moving a little toward the floor...while you do that your feet drop to the right. Repeat it many times...and then let the knee slide out to the left as the feet drop right each time, and you turn to look toward the knee... and then let yourself down and rest.

16. Repeat #15 on the opposite side.

17. Same position, this time going from side to side...you look right toward your right knee as the feet drop left, and look left toward your left knee as the feet drop right. From side to side, like some lumbering, crawling creature. Maybe you could crawl this way?...rest.

18. Same as #17, but this time keep looking forward, as if intent on where you are going, perhaps looking at food, or predators, or safety... what does this organization demand of yourself? Can you make yourself soft? Let everything move in relation to everything else...find the combinations that integrate all of you into this movement...then let it go and come onto your back, and rest with your knees bent, feet standing.

19. Lift your knees over your chest, one in each hand...rest like that...and rock a little in many directions...and return your feet to standing. Roll your head a little from side to side...then roll to your side and mindfully get up and walk around, seeing how this is for you.