Elbows on Knees: the Airport ATM

Sit with your elbows on your knees, your chin cupped in your hands. Try to feel your spine – what shape is it in when you sit in this position?

1. Begin to look left and right. Your head rolls, and of course your hands move too, because they are glued to your chin. Your head is active, your hands passive. Can you sense exactly which vertebrae of your neck twist? Which one twists first? Next? Do any vertebrae in your back twist as well?

Do the same movement, but now make your hands active, your head passive. How does this change the feeling of the twisting in your neck?

This is the reference move and we will return to it.

2. In the same position, begin to slide your right elbow down the inside of your leg. How does this make your head, neck and back twist? Gently, slowly, very small. The movement itself is not important: it is only a tool to gain sensitivity and exactitude and richness of perception.

Go a very little way down and come back. Then a little further and back. How many different distances can you do and keep distinct in your perception? All the time you are sensing in as much detail as possible how this affects your neck, your head, your back, your shoulders, your hands. Does it make it easier to look to the left? Can you look more up to the left when you do this? Don’t strain, find out how the muscles can let go to let your skeleton do the movement easily.

Return to the reference move – what has changed in how you do it now?

3. Same position, now slide your right elbow down the outer side of your leg. What sort of twisting does this evoke in your head/neck/back/shoulders? Where do you look now?

After doing this many times and using this move as a vehicle to discover more about how you move, return to the reference move and see how it has further changed in quality.

4. The same as #2 and #3 but with the left elbow.

5. Begin to create your own combinations of left and right: inner outer, one side, the other side, in sequence or in parallel. One of my favorites is the “MacDonald’s Golden Arches” variation where you go left elbow to the outside, left elbow to the inside, right elbow to the inside, right elbow to the outside in sequence. All the time feeling how this makes your head and back twist more and more easily and elegantly, deliciously!

That’s it!

The Three Cardinal Directions of Movement ATM

A Standing ATM

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