Lesson 7 - The Hand and the Foot went to Sea
Lesson 7 - The Hand and the Foot went to Sea
Explores the relationship between your hands and feet - how they influence, and are influenced by, the organisation of your head, neck and torso. It gives a great sense of lightness and freedom of the limbs.
How to get the most from these lessons
The seven CDs in this set contain Awareness Through Movement lessons that use touch to enhance perception. The lessons seek to give you a memorable three-dimensional experience of your body as you move. It is recommended (but not mandatory!) that after each lesson you allow the time to go for a walk. You may find, when walking, that the discoveries made in your lesson will become clearer. The other reason is that walking after doing the lessons may be extremely pleasurable!
What you need
To do these lessons you’ll need an area of floor space large enough for you to lie on comfortably, with enough room to roll from side to side. If you are unused to lying on the floor it may be useful to lie on a mat or blanket. A bed is not as effective as the floor.
I would recommend doing each of the explorations in sequence. Once you have been through the series, you can explore whichever one feels most appropriate. Each time you do them you’ll probably discover something different about yourself and the way you move.
Less is More
The most important thing to consider when doing Awareness Through Movement is that less is more. Small movements are easier. They allow you to shift your attention from one area to another as you move, connecting the things that you sense into one easy whole.
There are a few actions, featured in several lessons that may be a useful example. The first is placing your hands onto your body in order to listen. Do this with a minimum of effort! After you have placed your hands, leave them there! Wait for the sensory impressions to come to you rather than shifting your hands about to find them.
Another case in point is rolling your heels up and down. This movement gently rocks your skeleton from heel to head (and hand!). You may have a tendency to tighten the backs of your knees and pelvis, or perhaps your neck and shoulders, as you do this. Reducing these tensions will make it easier to luxuriate in the sense of your whole skeleton rolling.
The other action is that of moving your diaphragm up and down whilst holding your breath. This movement gives you a good sense of the volume of your body. Reducing effort, both in the way you pause your breathing and in the way you manipulate your diaphragm and torso muscles, will be very helpful.
You gain nothing in this method by pushing yourself beyond comfortable limits. In fact, focusing your attention on how you perform tiny precise movements, in harmony with your natural breath, can be a doorway to some very interesting places.
*If you are worried about whether the lessons are suitable for you, consult a Feldenkrais practitioner first. You can find Feldenkrais practitioners in your local area through the Feldenkrais Guild.
**If you are uncomfortable lying on the floor due to injury or your structure, try elevating your head on a small pile of thin paperbacks, bending your knees and standing your feet on the floor. The main thing is to rest before you need to.
The rests in each lesson are of great importance as they are an opportunity to pay attention to the effect of what you have just done. Observing the effects of movement, both as you do it and as you rest are as important as doing the movements themselves. Rest in any orientation that is comfortable.
You may find a lesson very useful when you are stiff or tired, or if you are stressed or depressed. A lesson is also an excellent preparation for those times when you need peak performance. However you will get the most out of these CDs if you do them regularly. Doing a lesson daily will make a great difference to the way you feel, and even once a week is helpful. As with most things, the more you put in the more you get out of it. The range of benefits you feel may surprise you.
Make yourself comfortable
You don’t have to worry about getting it right. There are many ways the lessons can be done. If you don’t achieve a particular movement during one listening, you may do it in the next. There is no hurry and no particular outcome. This is particularly the case for the last three lessons that finish by rolling up to sit in different ways. You don’t have to roll up to sit to get the benefit of the lesson. Do it when it becomes easy!
If you are a person who is not used to exercising or for whatever reason are very stiff you may find some of the positions challenging. You gain nothing by using force in this work, so rather than doing that, just modify the position or do it in your imagination. Doing lessons in your imagination is more effective than you may think.
For the most part the positions you are asked to adopt are very easy. Some lessons contain sections that are done lying on your stomach. If this position is too hard you could try it lying over a low bed, a lounge or coffee table, with your knees on the floor. If the instructions are moving too quickly to do that, use the pause button on the CD player or iPod. The main thing is to ensure that you are always comfortable.
So please take your time and enjoy.
* The author cannot be held responsible for any injuries that may occur when following the lessons. If you are under the care of a doctor or other health professional please consult them before using the CDs.
** You should never experience pain when doing these lessons. If you are uncomfortable, stop. Reconsider what you are doing, and do less. If the discomfort persists don’t do the lesson until you have consulted a practitioner.