Sunday, November 08, 2009

Day Eight: Getting Straight

Getting straight.

Many of us, at one time or another, get the idea into our head that we want “better posture.” Often this idea was drilled into us in teenage years, with some adult saying, in usually not so pleasant a voice, “stand up straighter,” or “stop slumping.” Or some such commandment.

Whatever the baggage and past conditioning, it does feel better to stand with a fuller and longer spine. Much of yoga works toward this, and we’ll go for a sort of brain yoga as this book unfolds. I am trained in what is called the Feldenkrais Method®, named after a man, Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) who was a physicist, engineer, judo master and student of babies and human development. He wanted to heal something in him that medical surgery couldn’t repair at the time, and he did, discovering along the way a system of attentive moving that awakened awareness and propelled people into all sorts of improvements in their life.

I’m also trained in the Anat Baniel Method, developed by, not so surprisingly, Anat Baniel, a student of Moshe Feldenkrais who has spent 30 expanding and deepening his system.

Be that as it may, stand in this cross of ours, as per yesterday, and begin to roll your arms forward, so the thumbs orient from up, to forward to down. And as you roll your arms forward, bend your knees, and let your whole upper body round toward your pelvis, as if you were curling up in a ball. Then uncurl yourself and rotate your hand and arms backwards, so the thumbs come back to up, and rotate to point to the back.

While this is happening, arch your spine and let your head look up a little and soften your belly and let your belly come forward as your lower back comes in a little.

Go back and forth like this. Read the directions several times, and figure it out. DON’T SKIP IT. DO IT. SENSE YOURSELF IN MOTION, SENSE THE SPINE ROUNDING AND ARCHING.

Breathe as you do this. Sense both arms and legs.

When you finish doing this, sense your “posture” all day.

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