2018 Fall - Sit with Ease

Class 10 - Steady on Ice, Part 3: Heels and Feet

Class 10: Steady on Ice, Part 3:  Heels and Feet

"From the Impossible to the Possible, from the Possible to the Easy,
and from the Easy, to the Elegant".

 

Class 10 Like the other longer class, Class 10 had two parts.

Part 1 continued the exploration of dynamic balance when a foot moves. The moving foot was a sliding of the heel outward.  What you found was that your balance increased as you explored the options. We finished off the idea with using the heel turning to help bring the knee to the floor -- in other words, controlled falling.

Part 2 started very differently -- sitting, holding a foot. You took your foot in a circle, following the outside of a clock, in a plane in front of you. Then you discovered that another clock was possible, on the floor (horizontal plane). Finally, you discovered a third clock that was called the "water wheel" -- vertical, that divides the body in half. When standing, you were more stable - in other words, through doing these circles while sitting, you gained a new sense of the connection between the foot and your pelvis; further, by allowing changes to the shape of your back and ribs while making the shapes, you freed the trunk in vital aspects of balance. Thus, your feet were lighter, stepping was easier, and, in the unlikely possibility that your foot were to slide unexpectedly on ice, you would instinctively know how to regain balance. Just like in the image of the person walking on ice.

 

 

Recording.

Can be found in the regular Dropbox folder.

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Class 9 - Steady on Ice Part 2: Controlled Falling

Class 9: Steady on Ice, Part 2.

"From the Impossible to the Possible, from the Possible to the Easy,
and from the Easy, to the Elegant".

This class has three parts (which you can do separately, if you wish)

Part 1: Rekindling the challenge from last week, (a) sliding the heel to the outside while standing (the toes stay in place), and

(b) holding onto the sides of the seat of a chair and, using the heel turning to the outside, starting to bring the knee towards the floor

Part 2. On the back. (a) Returning to this difficult idea of pushing the guts (with exhale);

(b) Knees bent in the air, finding a way for the rolling to the side include the shoulder and head. Discovering how the opposite arm provides support, and the floating arm gives direction, and as a consequence, you end sitting.

Part 3. Sitting on a chair... taking the hands to the floor in exactly the same configuration that you ended with in in part 2: sitting cross-legged. Thus spiralling up onto the chair is much easier than expected.

 

 

Recording.

Can be found in the regular Dropbox folder.

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Class 8: Steady on Ice (part 1)

Steady on Ice (part 1)

"From the Impossible to the Possible, from the Possible to the Easy,
and from the Easy, to the Elegant".

I have edited the linear class and re-mapped it as three or four themes that you can follow (see graphic, below).

The recordings are in a different location so I could follow the map: http://somaticjourneys.com/ForClients/ice/ If you have any difficulty accessing them, let me know.

The themes are:

1. Undo holding the breath - upper abdomen, lower abdomen. These are "breath 1" and "Breath 2". Lower abdominal breathing leads to increased ease and balance, allowing you, when standing, to slide a heel to the side or back.

2. Pelvis backward. Most people tuck their tush under them and, while this may feel somewhat secure, this leads to imbalance. Thus the next possibility is finding ways to allow the pelvis to go backward. We did this in standing, and then on the floor (on the belly). After you do this, if you return to Hell backward, you will find greater balance. And then, breath review.

3. Knee to floor. This is a beginning sequence, done holding the seat of a chair. We will return to this in the future. Again, beginning with the heel back sequence may add to the understanding, and adding the breathing review helps relax the back.

4. Reference Movements. We have done a set of reference movements each time, and so this map shows how you can finish with the reference movements.

  

 

Recording.
The recordings are in a different location so I could follow the map: http://somaticjourneys.com/ForClients/ice/ 

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Class 7 - Lying to Standing

Class Lying to Standing, using a "twist"

"From the Impossible to the Possible, from the Possible to the Easy,
and from the Easy, to the Elegant".

 Continuing from last week when we finished sitting on the heels, we started with a bit more exploration, this time discovering that, while on hands and knees, practicing flexing the foot (e.g. to standing and long) made sitting on the heels more comfortable.

Then, we returned on the back and explored yet another way to come to sitting, this time starting on the side, lifting one leg in the air...

A little different from the sequence (top, at right), we used a special bending of the legs when coming to sit, which allowed a special kneeling, and from there, a special twist of the pelvis took us to standing.

This was a whole lot of fun! 

Thinking about the sequence, above... we went from the impossible to the possible.... But was it easy for you? We will continue to explore how to find ease.

 Baby developmental steps... Note the rolling to crawling.

 

 

Application

Recording.

Can be found in the regular Dropbox folder.

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Class 6 - Taking the behind behind

Class 6: Taking the behind behind

"From the Impossible to the Possible, from the Possible to the Easy,
and from the Easy, to the Elegant".

 Few of us move our pelvis easily; as a consequence, it gets fixed in place, unlikely in a neutral place (for example, at right). Instead, most have their pelvis tilted either a bit forward or back, sometimes to one side, or even a kind of twist. As a consequence is a stiffness in the low back, or cramps in the legs, or more debilitating pain such as sciatica. Digestive functions are compromised, sleep is interrupted, and the list goes on...

In this lesson we look at the pelvis and the movement of taking the tailbone backward and returning. English is confusion about the verb to use -- would you call it "tipping" or something else?

Since we "fix" the pelvis in place, we also restrict all movements above it (the lower back, the upper spine, to the shoulder blades and the head) and below: the hamstrings, kneecaps, calves, feet.

We unwind this "fixing" or "holding" by listening to associated aspects of the breath (pushing down with exhale), inviting the spine to move, even moving the head. In order to listen to the spine we need to limit the movement of the shoulders, hence being on hands and knees.

To sense the possibilities of movement downward, we invoked folding the pelvis toward the heels.

At the end students could sit more comfortably on their heels and then, in standing, felt more energetic, and free, with better balance.

 

 

(we had the toes long, rather than bent)

Following is an early picture of Dr. Feldenkrais crouching.

Application

  • This is a great lesson for people who have difficulty sitting on their heels
  • Clarifying taking the pelvis backward (leading to better balance)

Recording.

Can be found in the regular Dropbox folder.

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Class 5- come to Sit

Class 5: Rise to Siting a different way

"From the Impossible to the Possible, from the Possible to the Easy,
and from the Easy, to the Elegant".

I began the lesson with a brief discussion of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, those powerful muscles at the side of the neck. Most of us overwork these muscles, holding them far more contracted than needed for balancing the head on the spine. As a consequence, lifting the head is difficult, sometimes exhausting.

There is a lot of head lifting in this lesson, and I advise you to take frequent breaks... do fewer variations than I recorded...


The previous week, we looked at a very gentle method of coming to sit, that being rolling to the side and gently rising from that side.

However, there are more ways to come to sit; each one requires a degree of preparation in order for the whole movement to be done with comfort, and minimal extra holding.

 

 

Application

 When I first tried the lesson, I discovered I was really holding my jaw, so I explored the lesson with different possibilities with the jaw, even allowing it to drop open.  That significantly changed the ease in lifting the head.

Recording.

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Class 4 - Rolling to Sit

Class 4: Roll to Sit

"From the Impossible to the Possible, from the Possible to the Easy,
and from the Easy, to the Elegant".

Last week we introduced a new kind of rhythmic breathing: that with contracting the upper abdomen when exhaling... repeatedly.

The animated image at the top of the column to the right shows a kind of exaggeration of pulling in the abdomen (and clearly the man has to exhale).


This week's lesson continues the exploration of this breathing, and adding in a new concept: 

  • Allow the skeleton to follow

This concept seems simple and logical but the implication is profound. Many of our actions presuppose a style of moving, a pattern that is overlaid on top of the actual skeleton, and is less efficient than the skeletal path. We will see this repeatedly in the lesson, particularly in how the legs respond to the movements of the upper body.

 

The function of contracting the upper abdomen while breathing:

 

Application

Apply the abdominal contraction/exhalation to other aspects of your daily life. Examples:

      • having difficulty with a shoulder check? Try this first then exhale & contract - notice the increased ease.
      • Is your neck stiff? try exhale & contract. Or better yet, support the head and neck with the hands/arms, then exhale & contract .
      • Difficulty bending over? exhale & contract
      • Difficulty looking up? exhale & contract.

In all of these, how many times do you need to do the "exhale & contract"? Try 5 or 10 times. Or experiment with more or fewer times.

Recording.

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