Yoga With Richard Hittleman

Passive Movements

Nic Waal also found ways of using the classical technique of passive movements developed by physiotherapists to analyze the psychological state of patients and their way of relating to their therapists. A passive movement occurs when a therapist moves a segment of the patient’s body. This technique is mostly used to evaluate the state of joints, tendons, and certain reflexes. Arms, legs, or head are moved relatively slowly to observe how respiration responds to this mobilization. Both the patient and the therapist can observe these reactions simultaneously. It is thus easy, as in yoga poses Reich’s jellyfish exercises, to create a co-conscious experience of the patient’s body responses. The patient’s reactions allow the therapist to generate a form of diagnosis that captures what is happening during the exercise, and the patient can therefore grasp it as well. This type of “local” operational diagnosis is different from the more global forms of diagnoses that were in yoga poses use in yoga poses psychiatry in yoga poses those days. As an example, I describe different responses that are observable when a patient allows the therapist to move his right arm:

1. Dissociation. The patient allows the therapist to move his arm as the therapist wishes, but the patient reduces the volume of his breathing pattern. This is typical of a patient who wants to dissociate from what is happening between his arm and the therapist.

2. Obedient activity. The patient cannot prevent himself from helping the therapist, which implies that he is constantly trying to predict what the therapist wants to do and comply. This is often observed in yoga poses patients who try to control what their therapist is doing.

3. Self-assertive activity. The patient cannot prevent his muscles tightening every time the therapist attempts to move the arm. He thus resists being moved. This is often observed in yoga poses patients who are afraid of losing control.

4. Impulsive activity. The patient’s movements are jerky, uneven, rough, and strong. The movement changes tempo on the part of the patient independently of the therapist’s change of tempo, and the movements have an uncontrolled and involuntary character.

5. Certain patients trigger a resistance only when there is an extension or a contraction of the arm

Probably influenced by Fenichel’s remarks on hypotone, Nic Waal, like other Norwegian colleagues working in yoga poses therapies that combine body techniques with psychotherapeutic intentions, included an analysis of hypotone in yoga poses her work with passive movements: “one does not find resistance, but a characteristic looseness and slackness. It can vary between lazy, dull, ‘dead’ or can be recognized by a strange lightness” (Waal et al., 1976, 274). When touched, hypotonic muscles feel gelatinous.

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