11.09.06: AT Lesson: Up from the Front

Our lesson got moved to Tuesday on account of the holiday on Monday, and we managed to make good time getting there. We arrived and Wendy told us that she and her husband had crossed signals and were both due to teach lessons at the same time, so she led us to another room where she had chairs waiting. She started with me in the chair while Jim watched from the couch, and began by checking in and finding out how things were going. I told her about the stress that we'd been under for the past week. She started by helping me find the moment again, and then helping to draw attention back into my body and begin to release the tension that I had been holding onto so tightly. As she worked on bringing me back into my own awareness I felt the tension begin to melt away. She guided me through curling over starting with the top of my head, and rolling down each vertebrae until my head was hanging over my knees. She let me breathe deeply and release the tension through my back before starting to unroll upwards again. She gave me the image of a brightly colored line moving up the front of my body as I uncurled. I began to unroll upwards, and she stopped me just as I began to get to the point where my scapula rest behind my ribs, and had me go back down a little bit. I felt the catch she was preventing me from engaging, and she reminded me of staying with the image of the line in the front of my body, and had me resume again, and I was able to smooth out the movement and restack all the vertebrae again. Returning to the upward position felt so much better. She gave me more guidance on finding the correct head position which is up and back much further than I tend to keep it. Finding the release to allow my head to be in the position it is supposed to be is not easy. But it is to the point that I am aware of where my head should be, and when I am not in the right position, I can feel it, but I can't always make a change in the moment. Being aware is the first step as it is, but making the leap to a change is harder! Its that crazy zen in between of doing something but not doing to much. Doing nothing, but doing something all rolled into one.
She worked with me on more monkey concepts. The big question that I had was how do you remain in a balanced and correct position when dealing with awkward objects. The laundry basket was the first object that we discovered that was a bit too large to easily maintain monkey. Jim also caught me putting the 5 gallon water jug into the car obviously not in a monkey position! We discussed how to deal with odd situations, and the biggest key is to pause first. Pause, come into your body and awareness and then act. She helped me to practice the monkey position, and experiment with picking up one of the shorter stools. The monkey position is a bit different than I imagine when reaching for something that is low to the ground. The lower leg stays more upright with the hips and head creating the counter balance. The knees don't actually get much closer to the ground, so it isn't a squat with an equal amount of angle below the knee as above the knee. The hips and head offset each other, so the upper leg drops more than the lower leg angle changes. It feels very stable, and with much less strain on the knees. In conjunction with that, practicing reaching with fingers first, reducing tension in the upper body through the movement. She let me practice for a while before Jim and I switched, and he took a seat on the stool to begin his part of the lesson.
She began with him the same way with me, helping him to find his awareness within his body again and then release the tension to find the correct position. It is quite amazing to watch the changes a person goes through. When in the process it feels minor, but the visual change is quite dramatic. It is fascinating to watch his body uncoil from the position that he habituates to due to the daily grind with a dose of pain thrown in. She worked with him on how to maintain straightness and find his balance again. Guided him through exercises to help free his shoulders again, to release the tension that develops from concentration. She had him raise his arms, leading with the fingers in a rotating motion straight up over his head, and then reverse the motion, letting the shoulder, upper arm, then lower arm and hand flow back down again. The result was a greater range of motion and less tension in his arms and shoulders.
We both have gotten to the point of really looking forward to our lessons, and I am always upset when the schedule gets in the way of getting to our lessons!
Next Page:
11.09.09: Aftermath