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Standing Under Our Heads

Standing Under Our Heads

an exploration derived from Joan & Alex Murray’s Dart Procedures using only looking down or up to get from fully prone to fully upright

  1. Lie completely prone, your arms fully extended past your head with palms down and your head flexed forward enough to rest its weight on its forehead. If you can’t manage this head position, an inch or two of books or cushion under your forehead or sternum should help. The idea is to be face down without crushing your nose.
  2. Free your neck to drop the weight of your head through your forehead to the ground. Let your back open long and wide to move easily with your breath. Now let the ground bear the weight of your elbows, and then the weight of your knees.
  3. In this part, don’t crunch your head back onto your neck, and don’t engage the arms or legs, but do allow your belly and chest to soften and expand into the floor. Every time you get stuck, return to these instructions. Now, first look down toward your navel. Then gradually start to look up, letting your gaze travel further and further along the ground past your hands toward your horizon, then past your horizon to higher and higher overhead. At some point if you look high enough your elbows will passively slide into place under your shoulders. Pause.
  4. Letting your arms support your back, slowly drop your gaze back down the way it came. Keep looking further and further down until your gaze starts to travel up your own front. If you go far enough, your knees will passively slide into place under your hips. Pause.
  5. Now gradually look up again, until you look high enough to lift your weight up off your elbows and onto your hands. You are now on your hands and knees. Pause.
  6. Very gradually look down again without sagging in your back or shoulders at all, until your gaze travels up your chest toward your neck. Do not push off with your feet or legs, but follow the curled-under path of your gaze without wavering until it lifts you off your knees and onto your feet. You should now be standing on both hands and both feet, with your head down.
  7. Gradually look up as far as you can while at the same time lifting your tail up high.
  8. Gradually look down as far as you can comfortably go, while at the same time slowly and gently dropping your tail into a full squat.
  9. Start looking up to gradually look higher and higher overhead. When you can’t easily look any higher, drop your gaze back down and see if that springs you up to full standing. You will probably be standing under your head more fully than before.

Erik Bendix, 2003-17

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