Meeting the floor
Photos in folder “company” on floor or rolling ones e.g. 11 37 59 11 40 04
Themes. Awakening awareness of body as a whole through connecting to the ‘earth’ and gravity through touch and sensory feedback (proprioception).
- Body mapping, tactile stimulation, attuning to the skin as a sense receptor of temperature, texture, pressure, movement.
- Feeling body parts connect and move through sensing and feeling a position, movement shape, through physical contact with the floor.
Caution. Be aware that there is enough space to lie comfortably. Mark the space by asking them stretch out in all directions to feel the space they have. This also normalises contact with another person, they can say hello and their names when they do. Be aware of any difficulty in getting down on the floor and coming up again, or any risk of falling.
- Introduce what is going to happen; “We are now going to find our way to the floor and lie down. To do this we will spread out first into the space and then find our way to lying on our backs.”
- Start lying on the floor or sitting and bring focus to the breath. Generally, when lying, the breath slows down over time, as the body rests its weight on the floor. Invite participants to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, to lengthen the out-breath (exhalation).
- In side-lying introduce full body flexion on the out-breath and opening into extension with the in-breath.
- Explore the idea of sensing the shape of the body on the floor which provides tactile feedback in each position: Turn onto the back opening into extension, continue over to the other side and note the position (tendency to go into flexion) and then to the front (tendency to open into extension).
Version 2. This version is effective for participants who struggle to relax on the floor. Use the image of lying in sand, so the body feels softer on the underside against the floor as it turns. This invites a sense of yielding to gravity or softening the body tone, with a sense of following the shifting weight.
Version 3. Use soft small inflatable balls to roll on.
This continues on from the previous exercise with the intention of turning around the axis of the body – the spine, and taking full bodied positions to explore different types of rolling.
Caution – Some people may get easily stimulated in rolling even just once, as the vestibular system can respond with dizziness if the person is sensitive or not used to rolling. Start in phases moving gently around the body from back, finding their way to turn onto one side, then onto the front, and onto the side etc.
Themes: Rolling around your own body. Introduce the mover to the surfaces of their body, gently turning from back to one side, feel the side, from side to front, etc.
- “The floor is your ‘partner’ in this exercise, as you will use it for tactile feedback.”
- “This is the closest to the floor we can move, the lowest level for ‘falling’ – with the sensation of ‘falling’ onto a surface which ‘catches’ you and how the body accommodates this movement.”
Partnering Version - all the rolls have partnering versions to be demonstrated.
Caution - ensure the instructions mention to avoid touching intimate places, pair up according to gender where possible.
- One lies on their side ready to roll.
- The partner sits close to them, and places hands on the side of their partner’s body, on at the pelvis and the other on the lower ribs.
- The partner rolls towards or away from this contact.
- The sitting partner follows the turning body or provides a bit of resistance to the roll, inhibiting the direction of travel either using the hands or body surface, so the person rolling has a surface to move into.
- The mover can roll away from the hands or the support and can also stop at any time, so the supporting partner follows the mover.
Barrel roll or tree trunk roll; bring them to lie on their side with arms and legs extended. Bring awareness to the whole body length, hands to feet. Clarify the idea is to roll around the whole body length trying not to initiate with the head or limbs. From side lying tilt to the front or back and use the momentum of the fall to continue into rolling around the curved edges of the body like rolling tree – take time to find the pathway, allow time to feel the body rolling into the floor on the underside and rising away from the floor on the upper side. Feel the sense of falling into the floor forwards onto the belly and backwards onto the back from side lying.
Caution - this is a complex formation of the whole body taking a C shape. It takes much patience and time. The concern is not to force but to feel through the transitions from each of the sides to maintain the integrity of the shape.
Lie on one side and make a C curve with the spine head to tail and continue the line of the C into the arms and legs so the whole body is in a side lying ‘banana’ shape. Dwell in this shape and map it internally in your body alignment. Keeping this shape, roll in the direction of the C – so turning around the body to move in the direction that the hands and feet are pointing – this requires the spine changing to keep the C facing the direction of travel. So when turning onto the belly the spine takes a lateral curve into the whole body in the direction of travel, a backward extended C curve when on the side before turning onto the back, and lateral curve when coming onto the back, and a frontal curve coming up on the side facing forward in the direction of travel as at the start.
Caution - people who are slim or with prominent pelvic bones will need a mat to prevent bruising on the edges of the front pelvis which takes the body weight when belly down –prone. For general comfort start with mats and once there is a sense of cushioning through the belly area it is easier to do on the floor.
Lie on the back with head tail and all limbs off the floor so the banana shape is in the whole body; roll around the waist line keeping head and tail and all the limbs off the floor in parallel alignment. This is like the crescent roll but on the vertical rather than horizontal plane.
Lie on the back, lift one leg and cross it over to the other side extended and reaching with the foot into the floor, follow the pull through to the body, spine, shoulder, arm and head so that you spiral over onto the belly. Continue in one direction and then back with the other leg. Try with an arm leading.
PHOTOS ROLLS 1148 1152 Stuart
Group Version. Everyone lying side by side; initiate rolling together. The fun is to keep proximity and timing, and noting variation in the breadth of the bodies. It is possible to do all the rolls in this group formation.
The rolling patterns prime the whole body to feel organised as a unit. They also bring a sense of connection of the centre to the periphery. These patterns translate to movements made at higher levels, around the support of another body rather than the floor, or underlying more sophisticated partnership work.
PHOTOS for this section e.g. in Company folder 17 30 33 ; 17 30 48; 17 30 49 Or more back to back spiral 2/surfing with Rob and Stuart.