Healthy Steps 2 led by Linda McDonald
By Kate O’Neill
A circle, we have bubbles in the tiniest test tubes- they create diminutive rounds of blue and purple sheens. They rise and reach the smallest purple lights overhead. “TINY BUBBLES”- the song waves as they float on the air, gently falling. Linda instructs us to kick them and catch them- moving arms and legs. Linda picks up the vessels as we moan because she’s onto something new. Several orbs hang above our heads as Linda continues speaking.
Neck stretches to side and center as several people wander in, in pairs. Shoulders rise and lower with gestures- as LInda says, “I don’t know, and I don’t care.” She’s wearing a shear blouse of peacock colors as she stretches to the left. Palms clasped, we stretch to ceiling and bend to the side, and then the other way. Music is cha-cha like, and the ship rolls gently beneath our seats. The last teeny bubble wanders by. The music goes on- as shoulders roll circles before shaking them out. Legs next, we raise and lower, remaining tall in chairs. Heads drop to chest and then make circles.
Linda describes the motions she’d like us to practice- as the ship rolls again. The vibrations of the sounds we made in Voice Aerobics impact our organs-
The Alexander Technique: Linda describes ways to rise from a chair using the weight of the head. Not to watch the feet- as it pulls the body downwards. Imagining the head is attached to a pulley that pulls one at an angle forward- not directly upward. Placing one leg slightly in front of the other- one foot is backwards against the leg of the chair, the other more extended. We try, voices expound, the task seems easier. Linda tells us we exhale on the exertion- this is how she climbed the stairs to her home when she was weak from three bouts of cancer therapy. She shows us how to exercise with newspaper- scrunching it to combat arthritis- a woman volunteers Tiger Woods scrunches newspaper to maintain his hand strength.
It’s four o’clock and we have balls in hand. The small movements are as important as the gross ones- handwriting relies on these. Psychosocial skills are as important as the larger ones- like drinking water. Too many people are sent to the hospital from problems arising from dehydration. We work with balls, squeezing from side to side, after extending and contracting fingers. The music-big band, like Lucy Ball dominates the air. We shake shake, shake our hands then stop- like a mad orchestral conductor. Mirror imaging- We follow Linda, as she moves to Moon River- a cool-down. Done with partners- people smile and move- steady movements vary with sudden bursts of action.