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For an unknown reason, I decided to do a web search on “spiral movement” again recently, and came across Simon Thakur’s excellent article and demonstrations of spiral movement.

My initial contact with spiral movement was mentioned by one of my Feldenkrais teachers in passing, who said something to the effect of, “You know, there’s a whole movement system that’s based on spiraling,” after having taught me about the double helix or wringing of the human foot.

In Simon’s article, he speaks about the head and eyes following the mouth, and this intention to feed leads to particular types of movements and how it plays out in a human being, leading to this fun and interesting video series.  Simon presents it well, beginning from the basic principles leading to the more complex, and how you can transition from any position to any other position, which leads to a gorgeous improvisatory and fun movement exploration.  When you combine this with rolling it becomes even more gorgeous.

The rolling part links it to what I’ve been exploring since attending the Feldenkrais London training. The day I visited was the apex of a 6 day series exploring the intricacies of rolling. The particular lesson I witnessed was a backward rolling lesson and watching the lesson I realised I did a version of this from The Potent Self book. In the subsequent days, having some discussion with my friend in training where she sent a couple of videos of her demonstrating the roll, I realised there are a few things in which I am inadequate. She could do the roll without pushing her arms on the floor, whereas I couldn’t. My current guess is that I lack the range of spinal flexion to allow this to happen. In basic physics, the further away a weight or force is from the pivot/fulcrum, the heavier it will be, and this weight/force is multiplied. Thus if I am unable to curl as much as her in my body, the heavier it will be and the more force I would have to use. Also we have different body proportions and so she may have some mechanical advantages.

In any case, it has awakened a desire to learn to roll well. Unfortunately at home I do not have much space to experiment with this fully and I also don’t have enough space to do all those spiral variations in the videos above. I also have to be careful not to break any collarbones in the pursuit of rolling. In primary school, I recall us doing rolling but I could never do it well. I also recall some of the fear involved in rolling. As I’ve been experimenting and exploring, I sense the fear again, this time round being a much bigger human and less flexible. On the other hand, the rotations are safe to explore and are fun and also physically demanding after a while. My current favourite is going from supine to prone and back again. I find after these explorations my movement improves and I find myself rotating and doing certain things more smoothly than before. I do these explorations with a slight Feldenkrais perspective on refining smoothness, reversibility and reducing effort. In particular, no falling or momentum based movement. All the rotational movements can be done without momentum and any falling implies a loss of control somewhere along the movement. I do wonder about this desire to roll a little bit. Feldenkrais said once his definition of health was “to realise one’s unavowed dreams.” I wonder if rolling is one of my unavowed dreams?

These explorations are fun in a way Feldenkrais lessons usually aren’t. Occasionally Feldenkrais lessons are fun, but generally they’re more interesting and intriguing. There is probably a niche for fun, playful Feldenkrais lessons. These explorations are also a workout and I find there are muscles aching that haven’t ached in a while.

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