Week Five: Snake Part Two
This week we will learn additional movements to expand our Snake repertoire. We will begin by looking at several movements separately, you can then put these together into your own sequences as you play with the Snake energy. We will also further analyse the five element components we find in the Snake play.
This Weeks Practice Sessions:
Begin your sessions with the Alignment, Centering and Opening exercises from week one and a few repetitions of the warmups from week two before proceeding onto the new movements. End your session with more of the Alignment, Centering and Opening exercises.
The snake movements will challenge your flexibility. It is important that you proceed little by little so as not to strain yourself. If anything becomes sore, take a break and return to the exercises later. If you proceed slowly paying attention to how your body feels you will be able to make significant improvements to your flexibility quite quickly by practicing these movements.
Snakes don’t really walk, they slither on the ground. So for our Snake walk we bring our legs as close to sliding on the ground as we can.
Step one foot forward and lower the back leg to the ground touching the inside of the knee to the ground.
Repeat stepping forward with alternating legs.
Alternate which arm extends in front. Keep the arms connected letting them slide over each other. Keeping the arms connected helps to keep the stimulation moving through body sides of the body and will allow the energy from the movement to flow through the torso in a more fluid way.
To begin with in this walking pattern you will probably rise up a lot between steps, but the aim is to gradually stay lower and lower to the ground between steps.
When you lay the inside of your knee on the ground it stretches the kidney meridian which runs along the inside of your leg. It also loosens your lower back in the area of your kidneys.
From your Snake walk, pivot your rear leg from the knee and turn it under so that the outside of the lower leg rests on the ground. Sit back so that your buttocks rest on the ground. Bend the front leg so that the knee sits by the foot of the leg that is already on the ground, and the inside of the front leg now lays on the ground to the side. Turn both legs over to turn your body. You can now extend the other leg and stand back up in the opposite way from how you sat down.
There are many variations to this movement to allow you to turn in different directions. Refer to the video for more of these. The overall feeling is again a bit like slithering and coiling on the ground. These movements alternate between stimulating the inside and outside of the legs where the kidney meridian runs (Water), and the gallbladder meridian runs (Wood). In the five element cycle Water feeds Wood, so stimulating them one after the other like this is very effective for doing this. You also feel a lot of massaging in the lower back where the kidneys are with these movements.
Step forward in a Snake step so your rear leg lays on the ground, then transfer your weight back so that you switch which leg is bent and which lays on the ground. You can practice rocking backward and forward between legs. You can also use this rock as another way of turning 180 degrees by turning your waist and arms as you rock from one leg to the other.
Snakes can’t slither backwards. To move backwards they must either turn and move forwards in a new direction, or they can rock backwards away from something.
Snake Rise and Fall
The last movement we will practice is rising and falling. This is as simple as lift your leg that is laying on the ground up and sliding your rear foot in to support your body in a higher position while keeping your arms extended in front, and then lower your body and lay your leg back on the ground.
The aim is to make this as fluid and smooth as you can, rising and falling almost as if you were hovering poised like a snake.
Combine all of the movements together to play at moving around with the energy of the Snake. Let the energy guide you and feel free to improvise further movements in harmony with the Snake energy.