Movement Experiment 

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Music Copyright Purple Planet
 
We suggest downloading the audio file and listening to these instructions, but the transcript is provided for you to review sections on your own.
 
The experiment overview provides instruction on appropriate movements to help you learn more about your body and ESCAPE pain.  The movements are very gentle and intended to explore your movement ability from the ground up, loosely following the movements of a developing child.  
 
Before we begin let's review the rules, again:
 
1. Move slowly and be prepared to slowly reverse any movement.
2. Breathe slowly and deeply at all times.
3. Be aware of your body and your sensations.
4. Explore and play - follow your body, not this script.  You can always return to the script.
5. No pain or exertion allowed.  Move up to a point of discomfort, but not through.  Slowly reverse and revisit the discomfort point to see if you can get it to change.  If you feel you might lose your balance or hurt yourself at any point, STOP.  You can skip activities and only move when you feel comfortable.
 
Equipment required:
     1 body, ready to follow the rules above
     1 comfortable space where you can lay and move around, like the ground with a mat, or your bed
 
If possible, get into some comfy clothes, remove glasses and jewelry, before regressing to a simpler time in your life.  At the end of each paragraph below is a suggested minimum time to spend that movement.
 
Beginner's Mind
Lay down on your back (or another comfortable position if pain prevents this position) and relax, as though you are an infant that has just been laid down to rest.  Most infants are motivated to move by exploring their environment, so the first thing to do is slowly move your eyes to scan the room.  How limited is your universe when only moving your eyes?  (0:15)
 
Pretend you are so new to movement, that your head, trunk, arms and legs can't be lifted, but they can be rolled slowly to begin exploring.  What do you want to move first so you can see better?  Roll your appendages to get a sense of your limits.  (0:15)
 
Let's slowly roll our head to one side so we can see better, then back to the other side.  Did you notice anything?  Are both sides the same?  Does repeating this movement for a minute change anything? Can you move your shoulders or pinch your shoulder blades to make the movement smoother?  (1:00)
 
Now add tilting your head towards your feet or upward, while still keeping it on the ground.  Any new sensations?  Combine tilting with rolling and play with different head positions.  Does anything change with time?  Any new or changed sensations? (1:00)
 
Next, one at a time, slowly roll an arm at the shoulder or a leg at your hip, keeping it contacting the ground.   Stop at any tension and roll  the other direction a small amount and then come back to see if you can change the sensation or range of movement.  What does the end range of the movement feel like?  Is it hard, or soft, or something else? (1:00)
 
Now slide the arms along the ground, up over  your head and back down.  Does it feel different one at a time versus moving them both together?  What new sensations do you feel? (0:30)
 
Try different combinations of movements to see if you can get a better look around the room.  Try your arms in a T position and overhead. Does your neck move differently with the hands and legs in different positions?  Are you remembering to breathe slowly and deeply? (1:00)
 
Take some time to explore on your own, the possible movements when on your back with your appendages limited to the plane of the ground. 
 
We Got Legs!
Still on your back, one at a time, slowly slide a foot towards your bottom, raising the knee into the air.  Grab the knee with the same side hand and play with movement.   Move the hand with the knee, then try moving the knee with the hand.  Which is easier?  Which way do you want to move?  What happens at the limits of your movement? (0:30)
 
Now switch to the other hand, the hand opposite this knee.  How does that feel?  Which way do you want to go?  Is it easier to control with the same side hand or opposite side hand?  Slowly return the foot to the ground and slide it out so you are laying flat once again. (0:15)
 
Try the movements above with the opposite knee.  Is there a difference on one side compared to the other?  Which side is easier or more natural? (0:30)
 
Now bring both legs up and grab both knees.  Open and close the knees.  Start rolling from side to side, massaging your low back.  Do the two sides feel different?  Why?   Can you roll more easily to one side or the other? (0:30)
 
Now lift one foot from the ground and grab it with both hands.  Don't you just want to pull that foot towards your mouth?  You used to be able to do that, but it probably won't happen today.  Try rolling to either side with that foot and explore how this trick changes neck movement.  It should now be very easy to lift your head to look between your legs. (0:30)
 
With both feet up and held on the inside by the hands, we are training our natural squat position without a load.  The lower leg can be pulled almost parallel to the torso, with the back in a nice natural position. (0:15)
 
If we grab the legs on the outside, about mid calf, we are in the start of the deadlift or hip-hinge position.  Sliding the hands up the legs as they descend and straighten is essentially an unloaded deadlift.  Notice that the back remains flat against the ground for both the squat and deadlift.  The crib is where we first started training, and we did it with good form! (0:15)
 
Take the time to explore bending and straighting alternating knees with your feet in your hands, while rocking. (0:30)
 
Rock-n-Roll
We now have the tools to easily roll to our stomachs, by putting our arms and legs in the air and then rolling.  First roll to our side and then straighten out to our stomach.  Try it from both sides and see if one side feels different than the other.  Try it with different arm involvement.  Try it with your arms overhead and use just your lifted legs to lever the body over. (0:30)
 
Can you roll back to your back by just reversing the motion?  Can you stop the motion anywhere and roll back the other way?  Can you roll back to stomach to back in one direction and then reverse it?  (Be careful to not roll off the bed!) (0:30)
 
Once you can roll, there is no stopping you!  But how many different ways can you roll?  No hands?  No feet?  No raising your limbs?  Try it with your eyes closed! (0:30)
 
Stomach Time
When you lay on your stomach, what are your options?  Let's return to the beginning, but on our stomachs, and forget about rolling.  Keep your limbs and chins on the ground.  Notice how little you can see from this position, which is a great motivation to move! (0:15)
 
Rotate your head, maintaining contact with the ground.  What do you feel?  Is it the same sensation for both directions? Notice where your arms and legs naturally fell when you assumed this position.  Can you rotate them as easily as when you were on your back?  (0:15)
 
Slide your arms and legs one at a time and together.  What is your most natural position?  Does it look something like a lizard?  Or an insect?  What move would be most natural? (0:15)
 
You want to see more, let's try lifting our head with the help of our arms.  Notice how the spine arches to help raise the head?   Try to keep the belly and ribcage on the ground while lifting the head, which should limit movement to the neck and thoracic spine.  The low back should remain relaxed, but you might try pinching the shoulder blades together to give the neck a nice base from which to move. (0:15)
 
Rotate your neck to the left and right.  How far can you see behind you?  Now your world is opening up.  Imagine you are surrounded by toys and practice reaching with a single hand in multiple directions, switching hands as needed.  (0:15)
 
Motoring
Now imagine there is a toy just out of reach.  How are you going to get it?  You could roll, but that's a lot of work.  Remember your legs, maybe they can help. Bend a leg, reach out and push.  Is that easier on the same side as the reaching arm, or the opposite? (0:30)
 
If you play with this move just a bit, and string a few together, you should be able to progress to reptilian crawling, or creeping.   There is very little on the ground, that you cannot reach now.  If you had suction cup hands and feet, you might not need many more skills to survive, but creeping ain't much of a way to make a living. (0:30)
 
Third Dimension
If you creep, but don't move your arms, keeping your elbows pinned into the ground, you will have begun your conquest of the third dimension.  You should find yourself in an early four point stance, or quadriped, with your forearms and lower legs on the ground, but with your butt proudly in the air.  Rock that thing back and forth, then side to side, in celebration. (0:15)
 
Can you rotate in a circle from this position?  How about planting your forehead on the ground and rocking a bit, does that feel good? (0:15)
 
Drop back down and practice starting the creeping motion with different legs to move into this low four point stance. (0:15)
 
From the low four point stance, sit back on your feet and you should be able to easily straighten your arms so only your hands contact the ground.  Rock forward to put yourself in a true four point stance. If this position hurts your wrists, you can keep your wrists straight by using your fists instead. (0:15)
 
Exploring Your Balance
This will be the first time your balance is seriously challenged.  Slowly raise one hand off the ground.  Does your torso twist? Do both sides feel the same? (0:15)
 
Next, try raising a knee off the ground.  Now does your torso or pelvis twist?   Do both sides feel the same? (0:15)
 
Raise one hand off the ground and then the opposite leg.  Can you balance like that?  Now try the other side.  Are you able to rock between the two positions?  (0:15)
 
Let's take the challenge up a notch. Now slightly raise one hand and the leg on the SAME side.  Can you balance like that for a few seconds?  How about the other side?  Can you rock between these two states? (0:15)
 
Which was easier, opposite sides or the same side?  Which do you think would be easier to crawl?  Which is more like walking or running?  There are many other challenges for you to explore here, including putting your legs and arms out straight, writing the alphabet in the air with your feet, balancing on just one knee and more.  (0:30)
 
Now let's get crawling.
 
Crawling
Your world is about to get much smaller as you learn to crawl.  Without thinking, take two crawling steps forward.  Did you move the same side hand and leg, or opposite?  Can you crawl two steps back? (0:15)
 
How would you crawl to the right?  Is it more natural to use the same side or opposite arm and leg?  Did you move linearly or more in an arc? (0:15)
 
Crawling can be tough on older knees, so lets transition to our hands and feet, with the knees lifted in the air. This position is called bear crawling.  Try rocking back and forth.  How does that feel?  Can you take a couple crawls forward, back and then to the side and back?  How did that go?  Are some directions easier and more natural than others? (0:15)
 
Many variations to explore here, including crawling belly up, or crab crawling.  Explore! (0:15)
 
This movement can be exhausting, let's rest.
 
Squatting (or almost)
Get in the bear crawl position, keep your feet planted and crawl your hands backwards.  What naturally happens?  Did you end up in a squat or more of a hip hinge?  Reverse the process and walk the hands out to get back into kneeling.  How did that feel?   (0:15)
 
If you had difficulties, you might try getting into the bear crawl position, drop one knee to the floor and then walk the hands back to kneeling on one knee.   Is one knee more comfortable than the other? (0:15)
 
Before you get too excited and stand up, let's try dropping both knees down to the ground and lifting our hands into the air with our torso erect.  This position is known as tall kneeling.
 
Kneeling Tall
Tall kneeling is an interesting position, because it removes the instability of the lower leg and feet.  This position allows us to explore how the upper body moves, especially in rotation and bridging backwards.  Try twisting and bending back in this position. (0:15)
 
You should be able to see all around you from this position, but it is not a great position for movement.  Try taking a few steps forward and back, left and right, on your knees.  (0:15)
 
Transition to bear crawling, so you are on your hands and feet, then push into a squat or hip-hinge position.  Can you push up to standing?  If you have a problem here, think like a baby and safely use furniture or another aid to get up. (0:15)
 
Standing
Now you should easily be able to see the best you have through this whole exercise.  Congratulations on standing!
 
We'll end this movement experiment here, but feel free to continue exploring.  Try movements with eyes closed or reducing contact with the ground to introduce more challenge (try closing your eyes and only slightly lifting one foot for a few seconds).
 
The principles introduced in this experiment can be applied to most any movement, from breathing to a golf swing!
 
Thanks for playing!