Noticing and Tracing Bones: Contents and Container

The Body Mind Centering principle of “contents and container” allows us to sense the outer structure of the bones and the inner organs. Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen in her book, Sensing, Feeling and Action (1993) explores the organ roll and states: “My experience has shown me that it is imbalances in the organs that underlie many problems that I see manifested in the skeleton, muscles and ligaments.”

Tracing the bones involves touching the actual bone on ourselves so that we can feel where it is located, how hard, large or small the bones are.

Bones (Ribcage) as the Container
•  Instruct the children to lie on their back or seated.
•  Practice the three-part breath.
•  Using fingertips, feel the size and density of the ribs and clavicle (collarbone).
•  Notice how the bones move with breath.
•  Notice how the ribcage is the container for the lungs.
•  Pinch a rib lightly with the first finger and thumb, tracing with the fingertips the ribs from the sternum all the way around to the side and back of the body to the spine.
•  Ask the children to notice how many ribs they can trace.
•  Draw the ribcage. (Optional).
•  Tap on the big bone of the sternum.
•  Remember how the water balloon (container) held the water (contents).
•  Discuss how the ribs (container) hold the lungs (contents.)

Organs as Contents (Organ Roll)
•  Notice how the air goes in and out of the lungs and the abdomen.
•  Roll to a side-lying position.
•  Roll the body slightly more forward or facilitate this for the child. Holding the body slightly forward, but not yet prone, notice how the contents of the organs gently shift.
•  Roll back very slowly from the 45° angle to side-lie again and slightly backward. Return to side-lie. Repeat this to sense the organs within.
•  Notice how the organs “the contents” shift but are held in place by the bones “the container.”
•  If you are facilitating, place the hands over the child’s lower back and abdomen.