Instructions and Health Caution
These lessons demand about the same level of fitness, range of motion, and stamina as a beginning yoga class. Some instructions may be ambiguous despite diligent efforts to the contrary, and be subject to harmful misinterpretation. So use your intelligence! You should experience no pain or discomfort whatsoever when doing the lessons correctly! If you have any medical problem or condition which might be aggravated by movement or exercise, consult a medical professional before doing these lessons!
1. Prepare a comfortable space.
Lessons are usually done on a carpet or on one or two folded blankets on the floor. You want a rather firm padded surface that somewhat softens the feeling of your bones against the floor, but which still allows you to feel clearly your contact with the floor. You should have enough room to slide your arms and legs in any direction without hitting anything.
2. Repeat each movement slowly and mindfully.
The movements in these lessons are not physical exercises, to be repeated rapidly or unconsciously. Repeat each movement slowly, generally no faster than one cycle of movement per normal cycle of relaxed breath. Feel your movements. Feel how your intention becomes action. If you take a rocket from point A to point B, you can't learn much on the way. But if you walk or crawl, you'll learn to make a wealth of new distinctions. Learning is the key to change.
3. Don't strain.
Although the movements in these lessons are not difficult, there will be some movements you cannot do easily at first. You may be tempted to try harder, to substitute strength and effort for skill and subtlety. Gently resist the familiar temptation to work harder. Rather, search mindfully for ways to make the movements easier, lighter, and more enjoyable. This is very important.
4. Look for the pleasant sensations.
During and after each lesson, you will notice various pleasant changes as your body reorganizes. These may include feelings of relaxation or of letting go, of lightness, or spaciousness, or connectedness; of feeling warmer, or taller, or more whole in some sense; or any other pleasing sensation. Every new and enjoyable experience becomes an arrow pointing toward a more potent future. Your body wants to feel good! These little distinctions will inevitably and unconsciously lead you to change your life to be more comfortable physically, emotionally, and socially.
5. Observe differences.
After each lesson, stand up carefully, bringing any changes in your organization into standing. Then walk around, observing the new feelings. Allow unfamiliar sensations to be present for awhile... Notice how the lesson has changed your familiar experience of yourself. These moments of observation after the lesson are an important part of helping your nervous system to integrate what it has learned.