Friday, May 20, 2011

Pelvic Clocks on a Balance Ball

Last week, we did pelvic clocks while lying on soft mats on the floor.  This week, we did them while sitting on balance balls.  

The floor can’t squirm away from you and go rolling across the room. The floor doesn’t care if you pick up one foot, or lean to the side. The floor doesn’t encourage you to bounce on your butt.
All of these sturdy and stable things about floors, are reasons to practice on a ball.  In other words balance.

Balance isn’t just about strength.  Children who are not strong learn to ride bicycles and roller blades. Even minor movements can make the difference between feeling sturdy or toppling.

Our Feldenkrais teacher at the gym made sure we each had a ball that was the right height for us to have our feet comfortably flat on the floor, while our butts were on top.  He had us place our feet far enough apart that we felt stable. Then he advised us to make small clockwise movements, or even imagine rotating our pelvises.  He promised us that even imagining moving would improve our balance and coordination.

The imaginary clock face was on the floor underneath us, with the 12 towards our knees and the 6 towards our tailbones.  We were supposed to rotate our pelvises in as small or as large a circle as felt comfortable and safe.  Make sure the pelvis touches each imaginary number.  If any part of the arc feels stiff or wobbly, go back over it – clockwise, counterclockwise – as many times as you feel comfortable doing. Note the rough spots.  You don’t have fix everything the first time you do the exercise.  But you do want to notice where your body moves easily and were it balks. 

You don’t have to keep the clock in the middle.  You can move the clock to each side where the femur meets the pelvis at the top of your leg.  I found these clocks to be easier to control and easier to study. That new hip joint isn’t cushioned like the old real one. That’s probably not the only reason it was harder to control – all the weak muscles and ligaments from limping around and from the surgery need to recover.  I don’t know if they’ll ever feel the same as the old one.

I never had patience for slow explorations like this before.  I wanted big fast movements like chin-ups and push-ups, or yoga poses that required stretching and strength at the same time.  Feldenkrais is much more delicate.  Because of that, it will give me the fine level of control that I’ve taken for granted all my life, and now have to relearn.

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