Folding to unfold: unfreezing the back


I love sinking into these lessons and allowing them to move me. Sometimes my awareness drifts, and then I come back. The person who influenced me the most, Dennis Leri, used to say that we go forward to go backward and we go backward to go forward.

It reminds me of that movie, Touching the Void, where a climber falls into a crevasse in the Peruvian Andes. To get out, he has to go deeper in. He goes further down into the darkness instead of up into the light, which is so counter-intuitive it beggars belief.

That’s what the folding lessons feel like: To get out of a contracted state, I have to go deeper into it. Then, when I stand up, the hidden places of contraction have received a bright light of awareness and the shadows are gone.

That’s my poetic take on these lessons.

In sum, the ability to use the whole spine is a fundamental, necessary skill. I can’t emphasize it enough! If you use only a piece of the spine to fold, the muscles are working very hard to move against the part of you that’s frozen stuck. It’s exhausting!

Think of these folding lessons as unfreezing your back.


Many people change their intention but use the same strategy over and over without realizing it. In muscle patterns, in life, and in learning, if you change your intention, you must also vary your strategy.
— Zoe Birch