Gymnastics for mindful movement


Galia Terentyeva is a Master of Sport in Sport Climbing, a Russian mountaineering champion (in rock class 2020), a participant of the international expedition to Ulakhan-Sis 2018, and our lecturer. Today Galya is a guest in the column Body of Proof with a set of exercises for your joints. 

Text and photo: Galina Terentyeva

In January, I held a distance class for the participants of the WomenGoHigh bachelorette party in Klyazma. The program included several topics: breathing, the practice of the Feldenkrais method, work in pairs – removal of localized tension (shoulders, forearms, hands), and a short set of joint exercises.

We will focus on joint exercises. In this material I will talk about the movements, which will be valid for many, and an unconventional approach to the usual warm-up. The most important thing practicing this set of exercises is to imagine how to perform the movement and listen to how you feel.

A few recommendations: try to keep breathing steady, without holding, inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

So that your breathing does not get disrupted and your head adjusts to hearing your body, and vice versa, I suggest you do the following: settle down on the floor, lying on your back, body relaxed, hands resting palms up, at 45 degrees to the body. Eyes closed.

Feel your pulse (if you can’t, feel it on your wrist or neck), catch the rhythm, distribute the inhales, and exhales over four pulse beats, that is, about 4 seconds inhale, 4 seconds exhale. Retake a relaxed position, hands on the floor.

Imagine that you breathe through a specific limb (that would be palms and feet), directing your attention there. It is good if you can feel the pulsation, warmth.

Direct your attention to the limbs according to the following scheme: “Inhale through the right palm and exhale through the left palm; inhale through the right palm and exhale through the left foot; inhale through the right palm and exhale through the right foot.” Continue in the same way in a circle, inhaling through the next limb and exhaling through the other three. Remember, inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, slowly and measured.

This exercise helps to release tension, both physical and emotional, to calm your head, and tune up your breathing.

Next, gently rise and begin joint exercises.

Look wider

Keep your shoulders in place, rotate your head strictly on a vertical axis, lingering slightly at the extreme point. Engage the eyes: first, try to look away to the side of the turn, then back to the opposite side, but maintaining the same amplitude of movement.

Following the same principle, move upwards – stretching behind the crown and tilt down – chin to chest, adding eye movements to the tilt’s opposite side.


Swing your arms. Set the movement with the springy legs: slightly squatting and standing up. This makes your arms go up and down relaxed, like whips, without sticking in any of the positions. Add a turn of the body, and then complicate the exercise: the palms’ trajectory is a volumetric figure eight, with the palms turning up and down.


Imagine a soft, smooth wave of small amplitude going from your fingertips to your wrist, a continuous motion. Then in the opposite direction. You can then make the movement more complex by making waves in opposite phases or different directions on different hands.

More mobility in the thorax

Fix your pelvis, pull your legs and buttocks up. On an inhale, open the thoracic spine, but with this movement, try to isolate the shoulders; the emphasis is on the thoracic spine. As if you have a string attached to your solar plexus, pulling it forward, and someone is holding your shoulders. This way, they remain in line with the pelvis. As you exhale, round out your chest area (now it’s as if the string is hooked to the spine just below the shoulder blades and pulled backward), try to keep your shoulders in a neutral position, aligned with the pelvis, without pulling them forward.

Duck, bunny

Legs slightly bent, move from pelvis – with an inhale bend it forward, bend in the lower back. As you exhale, turn your pelvis up – the lower back is flat. You can hold on to your iliac bones with your hands to feel how the pelvis tilt changes.

Hip figure eight

The hips’ familiar circular movements can be varied by drawing a volumetric figure eight in the air, rotating the hip in different planes. In one direction, draw a figure of eight as if behind the knee (this usually causes no problems), while in the opposite direction, it is slightly more complicated, imagining that the leg is moving in a figure of eight trajectories as if behind the heel.


Rotate your knee as if a brush has grown out of the toe of your foot, and you are instructed to draw the smoothest and most beautiful ten circles in each direction, but, as a creator should, with ease and ease. And then also numbers from 1 to 10, just not Roman numerals!

Rock and roll

Roll over the feet, going up on your toes as high as possible and standing on your heels, stretching your feet as hard as you can. Then in the counter-phase: one foot stands on the heel, the other on the toe, and try not to bend the knees so that one-half of the pelvis became lifted.

Roll from rib to rib: one foot to the outside, the other to the inside. Then do a full circle with both feet in sync.

This set of exercises can and should be combined with your usual workout!

To better understand the movements that seem fresh and not very clear to you, first visualize them in your mind.


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