Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rolling to sit, some "advanced" practicing, for practioners who practice and learners who learn

Rolling to Sit: A graduate course

You can lie on your back and feel what this is all about: two shoulder blades on the floor, the back of your pelvis on the floor, the backs of your legs on the floor, some part of your arms resting down, down, gravity holding your self secure and calm.

How does your breathing go here?

What do you see in front of you?

What is the direction that seems “forward” to your pelvis and torso?

Ah, good.

Now, imagine this: you are sitting. You have somehow come to sitting from this lying on your back position. What direction does your head face now and at what are you looking? How is your torso facing and what is the position of your pelvis? Imagine this pelvis connection to the floor a bit more thoroughly: what parts press down, what parts are up from the floor, where does “forward” seem to be for the pelvis?

How is the spine connecting your head and pelvis in this imaginary sitting position?


There are a number of ways to get from on your back to your sitting position and this essay won’t go into them, but will suggest that a thorough and slow and almost endlessly delightful study in transitional possibilities from the lying down pelvis and head to the sitting pelvis and head is rich, rich, rich with learning delights.

And hey, another thought experiment: lie on your belly, and feel what is forward now, where are your eyes and nose pointed, what are your legs up and down to, where is your spine, how about your arms?

In this lying down position, it’s possible to come to sitting without using the arms, but why not be fully human and let the game be played as we would as a baby? So your arms are in what’s called “push up” position, and your head can come up and look at the world from any almost vertical axis and now the game: how to get to sitting from here?

Three games really: how to get to sitting look the same way with your head?

How to get to sitting looking to one side or the other?

How to get to sitting looking the way of “down,” the way your feet are presently pointed.

This can take a lot of slow thinking and experimenting and discovering.

All efforts with awareness in any of life are rewarded, and efforts such as this to discover transitional and functional movements like these can be highly rewarding.
Try ‘em and find out.

Now, for some rolling to sit that is a little like what can be found in the Alexander Yanai series, and a lot like what anyone who pays attention can discover who is willing to feel how gravity and their four limbs and the spine pelvis head thing cooperate.

We’ll start like this:

Rest propped up on your back, with your legs wide and easy, and your elbows holding up the top half of your torso and head in a vertical position. This is to say, you are half upright in head and chest, and the lower half of your back is on the floor.
Feel how the elbows holding you this way has all sorts of possibilities for a person/ child discovering all sorts of things about crawling, but for now, just shift a bit side to side and feel how one elbow and then the other supports most of the top half of you, including your head.

Have a little fun with this, and drop your torso a bit as you come through the middle, and come back up more as you shift your weight from one elbow to the other, always keeping your head vertical.

Then rest.

Come back to this propped position, and come with your weight more fully to your right elbow (we’ll cater to the world of right handers/ left footers for starts), coming enough to the right so that you can feel weight shift to the right side of your pelvis. And then come back.

Now do a kind of fun thing, where you shift your weight in a bit of an arc to the right and forward, so the head goes in an arc, and the weight on the pelvis shifts as if on a clock from 12 to 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 o’clock.

At six o’clock your weight could be forward enough so that you were sitting. (the right hand coming in handy somewhere along the way).

Play around with this. (Technical term: “fart around” with this.). Let the head arc to the right and then forward, and the pelvis rotate the same way and feel the legs provide the ballast as it were for this shift forward and up of the head and spine.

Notice the weight when your are sitting, and then coming back to the reclining position, notice the reverse shift in your pelvis and head.


Now, maybe you recall an Alexander Yanai, when, on your back you scissors your legs one way to come more on your belly and the other way to coming to sitting over your elbow. Maybe you don’t. Either way is fine.

But, again, playing right elbowed/ left legged, from the reclining position, raise your left leg and bring it to the right over your right leg, and in this scissored position, roll the head and pelvis as before as you take the left leg back to the left, and see how sweetly and easily this goes.
Play/ “fart around” with this. Imagine, if you are a practitioner, guiding this movement either from behind the neck, or with the “free” arm, or with the “free” arm and the swinging leg. Realize how going slowly enough could teach a lot to ribs and sternum and head and chest and pelvis and weight shifting and gravity connecting and all that good stuff.

And rest.

Now, you are on your back, a baby, and you lift your left leg and fling it to the right. You roll mainly to your right side, but since you aren’t in a Feldenkrais lesson with your arms starting above your head, you trap your lower right arm under you.

Darn. This is annoying.
But, you feel a toy over there on the right side where your left foot is, and your head wants to come to it, and you swing your head that way, and your left leg swings back over to the left to counter-balance and get out of the way, and your left hand reaches down there for the toy and you have rolled up to sit through your elbow on the right side.
Yes, yes, the bending of the knees ways are “easier” in the world of rolling up to sit, and keeping the head even lower to the floor has a lot of amazing learning. Still, though, in the above you can sort of roll your head along the floor toward the toe near where the left foot landed over on the right there.

Isn’t this fun?

I hope so.

1 comment:

onebodymind said...

Thanks for all the fun ways of rolling to sit! I forget there are so many ways....am at a loss as how to teach some folks, hard for them to imagine it really doesn't take effort!
Love, Deborah