The ski season is not far off. This is the perfect time to begin getting ready. Many people begin working out to condition their muscles for the rigors ahead, but it can also help to prepare your mind by learning how to move better. This is a lesson based on NeuroMovement®, a method evolved by Anat Baniel from the work of Moshe Feldenkrais. The lesson explores what ski instructors call upper and lower body separation, especially the way your spine twists.
Do the movements slowly and comfortably. The movements provide your brain with information that it can integrate to make your skiing or snowboarding better.
The best place to do this lesson is on a padded, carpeted floor. Lie on your back with your arms by your side and your legs long. Feel the contact of your heels, legs, pelvis, back, shoulders, arms, and head on the floor. Roll your head gently side to side. Feel how your spine moves as you roll your head.
Bend your knees and put your feet standing. Cross your right knee over your left so your knees are close together. Let your legs sink to the right. Do this first movement slowly and very small. Notice if your pelvis and back are beginning to move with even a small movement. Do the movement several times. Uncross your legs and rest, with your legs long. Are you lying on the floor differently?
Repeat the same movement with your left leg crossed over the right paying attention to how your pelvis and lower back are moving. Rest.
Place both feet standing. Interlace your fingers behind your head. With your elbows toward the ceiling, lift and lower your head several times. Do this gently instead of like a crunch. Feel how your spine and ribs are moving. Rest with your legs long and hands by your side.
Place both feet standing, cross your right leg over your left. Interlace your fingers behind your head. Tip your legs to the right to a place you can keep them comfortably. Lift your head with your hands. Notice the movement in your back, ribs, and sternum. Do this several times. Come back to the middle and put your hands by your side. Tip your legs to the right. Is it easier, smoother? Do you go farther? Rest with your legs long.
Do the same movement with your left leg crossed over the right and your hands interlaced behind your head. Is this side different from the other? Rest. Does your contact with the floor feel different from the beginning of the lesson?
Put both feet standing. Place your right hand in your left armpit and hold your right shoulder with your right hand. Gently rock your upper body, keeping your legs still. What do you feel in your spine? Rock your upper body while you look at the ceiling. Try it while you turn your head in the opposite direction of your body. Rest.
Repeat the same movement with your left hand in your right armpit and your right hand on the left shoulder. Keep both feet standing. Rest.
Put your feet standing. Cross your right leg over the left. Cross your right arm over the left. Tip your legs to the right. Feel the movement of your spine. Swap the crossing of your arms. Tip your legs to the right. Cross your left leg over the right. Tip your legs to the left. Cross your arms the other way and tip your legs to the left. Rest.
Cross your legs both ways and tip them toward the floor. Do you notice that the movement is easier and smoother to do? Notice how much of your spine is involved in the movements. Stand up and walk around. Notice if walking feels different.
This is one of hundreds of lessons created by Moshe Feldenkrais, which use movement to help improve the way your brain works. The unusual movements and the gentle approach to the lessons allow your brain to take the information and use it to improve any activity you do.
David Singleton, ABM, is a PSIA Level III alpine and Telemark instructor at Arapahoe Basin. He teaches NeuroMovement classes on Tuesdays at Lord of the Mountains Church in Dillon and on Thursdays at Spheeris Pilates in Breckenridge. He is available for private Functional Synthesis lessons by appointment. He works with children with special needs, older adults, and people who want to get better at whatever they do. He is the editor of Listen Share and Be Kind.
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About David R. Singleton:
Using the body to speak to the brain, NeuroMovement benefits adults and children with injuries, neurologic disabilities, and helps high performing people improve their abilities. In either an individual or class setting, David uses unusual, gentle, slow movements to promote the most optimal learning and help you feel and move better. He is the editor of Listen, Share, and Be Kind and is a fully certified alpine and Telemark instructor at Arapahoe Basin.