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Here is the next excerpt from Beatrice Allen Page’s unpublished manuscript, Landscape with Figures:

“Memo to myself: Things to do in a doorway after sitting still too long. First pick an inside doorway in line with a window that has a view if possible. It makes the exercises more enjoyable:

  1. Stand back about 10″ with the palms braced against the frame of the door at shoulder level, elbows bent at right angles. Keeping the torso and legs straight and the heels on the floor, lean forward so that the should blades are forced together. (Very good for tense shoulders and back.) Hold for a moment, then push back to starting position. Repeat several times.
  2. In the same position but with palms pressed lightly against frame instead of braced against it, raise alternate knees as high as possible, pointing toes down hard at same time. Don’t let torso cave in at waist; keep it firm and straight.
  3. Same position: twist head slowly from side to side. Drop head forward and let it swing gently, first to one side then to the other. Be sure to keep shoulders relaxed.
  4. Same position: swing right leg forward and back about 12 times. Keep leg straight and partially turned out from the hip with toe pointed. This allows the foot to pass along the floor smoothly in the middle of the swing. Repeat with left leg.
  5. Repeat 4 but this time do it with relaxed instead of straight legs.
  6. Instead of pressing palms against frame, clutch the farther edges of the frame with fingers. If there isn’t room for fingers to slip through the gap where the door is hinged, move to the other side of the doorway. Keeping the stomach and buttock muscles taut and the legs straight, pull backwards at the waist. The point of this exercise is to stretch and strengthen the lower back. Try to feel the vertebrae in that area of the spine stretching apart. Return slowly to starting position. Repeat several times.
  7. Combine 1 and 6 in a slow, easy, rhythmic forward-and-back, push-and-pull movement without pauses, changing position of the hands from brace to clutch in the middle of each movement.
  8. Return to position in which palms are resting lightly against frame. Rise up on balls of feet, stretching as tall as possible, keeping back straight and stomach pulled in. Lower heels. Repeat several times.
  9. With hands resting on door frame, turn feet and knees out (ballet 1st position); bend and straighten knees alternately, several times. Do not force; do it gently.
  10. In same ‘1st position’ rise on toes and bend knees alternately.
  11. Stand right in the middle of the doorway with arms lowered and the backs of the hands pressed as hard as possible against the door jambs. After a minute or two, when fatigue sets in, relax arms and walk out into the room. What happens then still surprises and delights me almost as much as when this little trick was first played on me as a child.”

 

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