Criss Cross Applesauce, Connecting diagonals to help someone move and walk

Today I had a wonderful Feldenkrais® client who came to me because of an injury and spinal surgery. He came having a great deal of trouble walking, and even standing with balance and ease. His pain in his legs and arms were really a problem, also. John is a professor and author and would like to be able to sit more comfortably to continue writing his current book, and to be able to stand and walk independently with no help from anyone other than himself, safety and all.

When John first came a couple of weeks ago, his balance was truly and issue along with any form of easy walking. Today, he had his Uber driver drop him off at the top of our hill, and as I opened my studio door, there he was walking down the hill to my place, happily so!

That being said, I could see his great need for his cane and holding and listing to his side. This got me to think what the theme for our lesson today would be and that is to improve his walking diagonals. Below you can see more clearly as he lies down how his head, nose and chin should be in line with his mid-line, and instead they are faced down one leg, creating a stability issue. Think about how this might effect your own walking.

I would like to share with you a little bit of today’s lesson and what we focused on, which was simply by improving his movement diagonals.

This first picture is before we began our lesson. Look how much his head, nose and chin not only are not down his mid-line, and not even over his left foot, but, instead, even to the left of his left foot. Where is his support? It’s not. In good theory and body mechanics you want your head lined up over the the structure of your skeleton if you want it to get you someplace.


john-2Already a little improvement of his head over one leg. This was just by working with making connections thru his ribcage and thoracic spine to have easier movement in relationship to his head and his legs.

In the pictures below you can see only maybe 20 minutes later of showing him how to clarify his body’s movement and image without actually “telling” him anything, he lines himself up more naturally all by himself. Look how balanced his ribcage looks on his left and right side.

john-3I am very happy, and don’t care if John is not lined up perfectly. This is amazing! A little bit of easily rolling his head side to side. A little bit of softening his ribcage. But mainly making small movements to clarify his self image and creating a non-verbal understanding of ribs, thoracic spine to head and to pelvis and legs. I must say, we as Feldenkrais practitioners do not look at us as “parts,” instead we look at relationships and self image in our brain and connecting it to our actual body. We use gentle and easy movement sequences to create this kind of self-understanding. It is really quite brilliant and amazing!

john-4Not bad after only a short part of our lesson today. The rest was for more clarification.

Below, if you’d like, you can watch John figure out how to walk while sitting, yet clarifying his movement even further. And if that isn’t enough, the real challenge comes when we decide to come to standing, then sit, then stand. You might think this is easy, but if you film yourself you will also see the small places where you might exert force and when coming down to sit, actually “fall down.” How smooth can you make this for yourself? This is a key to ageless movement.

Please excise my singing and having a little fun, if it weren’t for play, it would be too much to only make it all work! 

Thank you John, you are brilliant and marvelous and have a huge heart of gold!             warm heart-felt hugs, Elinor Silverstein



    • Dear Cynthia, I also loved hearing John say, “Wow” He was truly in that special place of amazement. I also loved it when he asked me, “You want me to stand?!” Yes, I do, voila!

  1. Yes, hearing him say that brought joy tears inside me. Why is it called Applesauce criss cross?

  2. Hello Emily, I think there was a game girls used to play when we were little called, “Criss Cross Applesauce, eeny miny overs!” It was when you jumped in for jump rope when two girls were swinging it. Remember everything we did as children happened to use cross body patterns. Pretty cool!

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