Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Learning and Moving: On the ground/ floor/ Earth

Cottage porch this morning.

Can you take learning more and having more fun on your back? This is one of the great glories of the work that originated with Moshe Feldenkrais. He looked at our nervous system and saw clearly that a huge part of our brain is normally involved, when we are sitting and when we are standing and walking, in keeping us balanced and upright.

Lie down on the floor, the ground, the sand, the lawn, the bed and what happens to the brain?


All that effort that previously went into keep us from toppling over is now unnecessary. Which means, our brains have a lot more open space for learning.
This is why, among other things, swimming pools are so fine as places of rehabilitation. Gravity is even slightly counteracted by the buoyancy of water.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to lie still in water and to move our spine and ribs and shoulders and arms and legs and toes and hands in slow and selective way. And it’s hard to re-explore how we learned about gravity as a child: by pushing into the floor, grass, sand, dirt, ground with our feet and our hands and our arms and our knees and our backs and our elbows and our backs and our faces and the other sides of our head.
Watch a baby in learning, which is one of their three main modes, along with sleeping and eating. In learning it is pushing some part of itself against the floor/ ground.
And check this out: what we often see as the baby lifting some part into the air, can only be accomplished by pushing another part back into the floor, so even when the baby doesn’t know it’s pushing down into the floor, it is.

Push down, push against something, get feedback in the brain: do this and something happens.

And with a given body, gravity is always the same. Not moody gravity, one day fooling us by being stronger and another by being less.

Each day, if a baby lies on it’s back and push it’s right heel into the floor, if it pushes with the same amount of force and the same direction, the same thing is going to happen.

Salvia ulignosa, a great color, and a trooper plant.

Hey, let’s try that. Lying on the floor, push your right heel into the ground and see what happens. Do this a number of times, see if you can keep the same force and same direction, and notice: with your bones and your muscles and your nervous system as it is now, the same thing happens.

Which hip raises? What happens in other parts of your self? Are you straining anywhere like in neck or jaw or toes that doesn’t really have anything to do with this.

Now: try raising your right hip without pressing your right heel into the floor (keeping both legs long). How is that?

Then press with the heel and see how down push help up movement.

Fine. Now rest, and imagine the heel and heel-less version of right hip up. Then rest and let your brain integrate.

Then press your right elbow into the floor in such a way as to help raise your right hip. Do that a number of times, leaving the leg and heel out of the movement.

Now, press both heel and elbow and raise/ rotate your right hip. How is that?

Now, knowing about elbow and heel, see if you can raise your right hip without them.

It may actually be hard to leave the elbow out once you’ve gotten it clear how much that helps. If it is hard to leave the elbow out, drape your right arm over your body and let it be quiet while you explore once more hip without heel and hip with heel.
Then use both elbow and heel and feel the participation that comes, however small, from the middle of you.

This is exploring and learning and if you were a baby and did this enough, you’d soon learn how to roll over.

You might have a whole new world if you did.


Now roll your head to the left. Only to the left. Simply, a number of times.

And now roll your head with this variation: put your right hand on your forehead and roll the two together as you rotate your head to the left. Only to the left. Not beyond the center.

Now rest.

And then try this way of rolling your head: put the back of your right hand on your forehead and as your hand and head go toward the left, the place where the back of your hand touches your forehead changes, from middle of the back of your hand, toward your wrist. And then when you roll back to the center, move the hand such that the contacting surface moves along from near or at the wrists toward your fingertips.

This is complicated.

Go slowly.
Play around.
Figure it out.
Enjoy it and keep going slowly once you figure it out.

Now start a sweet and interesting roll to your left side. With your hand in this last position and rolling across and with your head in the last manner.

Sometimes start your roll from your heel.
Sometimes start from your hip (and add on heel and elbow).
Sometimes start from your head and then add shoulders and then pelvis and then a finally push from your leg.

Get a different feel and a different clarity from all these variations.
Have fun.
Rest in between and keep playing around with this and exploring yourself.

Now, bring your right foot to standing on the floor with your right knee pointed skyward. Push your foot into the ground and recall and re-co the two ways of moving your right knee as you rotate your pelvis to the left.

Salvia ug meets you on your way in, as and if you come for lessons,
or breathing and speaking in the present,
or gardening in the present.

In each way, experiment with pushing out your belly and holding it in as you push.
Come to a feeling of pushing out your belly as being a part of engaging your back, and notice how much that helps your rotation.


Now, roll to your right, as before, hand on head, sometimes starting at the head, sometimes the pelvis, sometimes the foot.

Have fun.
This is a lot.

(This is much of a chapter in a book I'm writing.
It assumes you've done some things
for a number of days.
That's fine.
If you play on through
you'll learn


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