1. Stand with your feet spread comfortably with your arms relaxed at your sides. Start gently exploring the movement possibilities of your spine. Go only as far as is easy and comfortable. Try side-bending, tilting first to the left and then to the right. Do you tilt more easily to one side? Then try bending forwards towards touching your fingers to the floor and bending backwards towards looking at the ceiling. Notice particularly how much your upper back participates in these movements. Finally turn easily left and right and notice which side you turn to more easily.
As you do the following movements, focus on doing the movements slowly and gently, paying careful attention to which parts of your body contribute to the movement and which get in the way. If there are muscles that feel tight as you move, bring your attention there and encourage them to relax. Repeat the movements as many times as you like (10 to 15 times might be a rule of thumb) and feel free to rest whenever you get tired or your attention begins to wonder.
2. Lie down on your back with your legs extended and your arms alongside your body. Notice how you are lying against the floor. Are there any differences between the contact your left and right sides make with the floor? How much of your spine is touching the floor? Notice how much of your ribcage is in contact with floor and how your shoulders relate to the floor. Pay attention to your breathing. What parts of you move with the breath?
3. Bend both knees and place your feet standing about hip width apart. Play around with the placement of your feet till you find the position that feels the most stable to you. Start lifting your tailbone a little off the floor and placing it back down. Notice what happens to your lower back as you lift the tailbone. Does this small movement of rocking your pelvis cause your head to move?
4. Stretch out your legs and take a short rest. Then bend your knees again and put your feet standing. Start lifting the tailbone off the floor again and placing it back down. Each time you lift it, lift it a little higher so more and more of your pelvis lifts off the floor and then the lower part of the spine starts to lift as well. Imagine that your spine is a long chain with each vertebra a link in the chain. Try to raise and lower your "spine chain" one link at a time. Notice if there are places where you move a group of vertebrae as a unit or if you move some vertebrae faster then others. Each time you do the movement, focus on making it smoother and more uniform.
5. After another rest, bend your knees again and lift your pelvis as high as you can comfortably and leave it lifted. Start doing a small movement of tilting your knees left and right. Turn your head gently in the same direction as you are tilting your knees. Notice how the contact of the part of your spine that is touching the floor changes as you tilt your legs left and right.
6. Take a brief rest and then raise your pelvis again and keep it lifted. Straighten your arms towards the ceiling and place the palms touching each other. Without bending your elbows, tilt your arms left and right as you tilt your knees left and right. Turn your head in the same direction as you are tilting the arms and the legs. Pay attention to how the contact with the floor of the upper vertebrae changes as you do this. Try a few times turning your head in the opposite direction. Finish by turning your head in the same direction again.
Then bring your pelvis down, bring your arms down alongside you, and straighten your legs and take a rest. Notice if the contact of your back with the floor has changed.
7. Return to the same position with your pelvis lifted and the arms extended towards the ceiling with the palms touching. Start alternately lifting one shoulder and then the other off the floor a little. Keep the arms straight and the palms touching as you do this. Does one shoulder lift more easily then the other?
8. After another rest, bring the pelvis towards the ceiling again and keep it lifted. Is your pelvis lifting higher now then at the beginning of the lesson? Now lift your toes off the floor and gently rock your body up and down using your heels. Notice how your upper spine is moving up and down in relation to your shoulders.
Turn your head to the right and continue doing this rocking movement. How does this effect the part of your spine that is touching the floor? Take a short rest and then try doing the same movement with your head turned to the left. Finish with a few more movements with your head facing the ceiling.
9. Rest again and then bring your pelvis up again slowly and leave it there. In this position start expanding your chest as you breathe in and expanding your abdomen as you breathe out.
Lower your pelvis to the floor and then go back to lifting your "spine chain" one link at a time off the floor and one link at a time back to the floor. How has this movement changed? Are there sections of your spine that are clearer to you now or more differentiated? Is the movement more uniform or smoother than before?
Stretch your legs out and have a good rest. To ease your lower back, bring your knees toward your chest and place your hands on your shins below the knees. Rock gently from side to side a few times.
10. With your legs long and the feet touching each other, start rocking your body up and down with your heels, alternately flexing and extending your feet. Allow your breath to be soft and relaxed. Once the movement is established, try doing it a bit faster.
Rest briefly and then return to doing this rocking movement slowly. This time inhale as you flex your feet and exhale as you extend your feet. Do this a number of times and then reverse the pattern of breathing so that you are inhaling as you extend the feet and inhaling as you flex them. Which pattern of breathing supports this gentle rocking motion better? Finish by doing a few repetitions with the breathing pattern you prefer.
11. After resting with your legs extended, bend your knees and put your feet standing. Once again start rocking your pelvis with your heels. Has this movement become any easier or clearer? How does this movement affect the hip joints? Continue rocking for a while, focusing on making the movement lighter and smoother. Then take another rest.
12. Bring your feet back to standing. Start lifting and lowering the pelvis again. How many of the vertebrae are now clear in your awareness? Has the movement become smoother and easier to do? Can you lift your pelvis higher with the same amount of effort? Notice how the pressure against the floor of your shoulders changes as you go up and down. Try lifting your pelvis with your head turned to the right a few times and notice how that changes the contact that your spine makes with the floor as you move the pelvis up and down. Then continue doing the movement with your head turned to the left and observe how that affects how the spine travels against the floor.
13. Take a rest and then put your feet standing and lift your pelvis as high as you can comfortably and leave it there. Embrace yourself by placing your right hand under your left armpit and getting a hold of your left shoulder blade and then reaching across yourself with the left arm and getting hold of your right shoulder blade. Gently rock your torso left and right allowing your head to move in the same direction.
Take a short rest and then do the same thing with your arms crossed the other way. Which crossing of the arms makes the rocking of your torso easier?
14. Once you've had another rest, bend your knees again and lift the pelvis in the air and leave it lifted. Bring your arms up towards the ceiling with arms straight and the palms touching each other. Start making small circles clockwise with your arms, as if your fingers were drawing on the ceiling. Gradually make the circles larger.
Take a rest and then lift the pelvis again and make circles in a counter-clockwise direction with your arms. Then rest again.
15. Bend your knees and lift your pelvis again. This time, have your arms stretched out sideways along the floor at shoulder height. Start making a small circle around the place where your spine is touching the floor. Let your knees move to facilitate this movement and let your head move along with your knees. Rest and then lift the pelvis again and make circles in the opposite direction.
16. Once you've rested, bend your knees again and put your feet standing. Start lifting your spine off the floor again imagining that each vertebra is a link in a chain. What is the quality of this movement like now? Notice what happens to the space behind your neck as the pelvis moves up and down. Focus again on making the movement as smooth and light and continuous as possible.
17. Rest with your legs extended. Bring your knees toward your chest and hold the shins just below the knees. Make a few gentle circles against the floor in both directions.
18. Extend your legs again. Observe how you are lying against the floor now. What has changed since the beginning of the lesson? How much of your spine is touching the floor now? How much of your ribcage is in contact with floor and how are your shoulders contacting the floor now? Notice which parts of you move with the breath now.
19. Slowly roll to your side and come to sitting. From there, slowly stand up and observe how you are standing. Has your posture changed? Explore the various movement possibilities of your spine again - side-bending, bending down towards the floor and back towards looking at the ceiling, and turning easily left and right. Is there more movement in your upper back? Walk around a bit and notice what walking is like now.