Deep Dive:

Grounding for Liftoff

Our Deep Dives gather standalone Feldenkrais Project lessons into themed courses of study. Newcomers, we recommend exploring our primary collections first for a more generalized intro to Feldenkrais.

My purpose is to allow people to move closer to actually being creatures of free choice, to genuinely reflect individual creativity and emotion, freeing the body of habitual tensions and wired-patterns of behavior so that it may respond without inhibition to do what the person wants.

– Moshe Feldenkrais

Ever since our vertebrate ancestors crawled out of the ocean 375 million years ago we’ve evolved to lift ourselves up off the ground, increasing our mobility and awareness of the world around us.

Despite the crushing force of gravity, modern humans are superbly adapted to it. We effectively cancel gravity by using our skeleton, musculature, and nervous system in a constant dynamic partnership with the surfaces beneath us.

With the lessons below you’ll train yourself to answer gravity more efficiently by studying how you connect to the ground and lift yourself away from it. This Deep Dive is great for developing stability, mobility, strength, confidence and resilience.

You’ll discover that moving better and feeling better are side-effects of canceling gravity more efficiently, as muscles which were needlessly resisting gravity are freed to express and create. You'll unlock more elegant, effective, satisfying and sustainable movement patterns in all that you do, rooted in the clarity and reliability of the ground itself.

Learn about how Feldenkrais lifts us up in Nick's talk called Feldenkrais for Self Empowerment. Watch or Listen, or find it as a freely-offered part of the workshop linked in the yellow box below.

The first three lessons are freely offered and very helpful on their own. Same with the three lessons for Members: they are a self-contained sequence. Patrons have full access to this course. Click to learn more about donation or our donor benefits.

Taking Root to Fly

This sequence about getting grounded for liftoff also appears in our freely offered collection called Better Posture, Walking, and Running.

Activating the Arches

Discover a grounding organization of your feet that you’ll use throughout this course.

I loved how I gradually lifted lighter and more smoothly in this lesson until it really felt effortless.

The heightened awareness of the two “tripods” that we stand on – has restored a great deal of my confidence. I do this lesson over and over. It’s made a huge difference. Thank you!

 The Buttocks

Wake up your largest muscles and learn how they relate to your feet and help you maneuver in gravity.

It’s such a great gift to discover the power of the big buttocks muscles, asymmetries, and how to get aware of how to use them.

Often I feel powerless to find my body’s strength. This lesson brings me to a very powerful feeling, bringing me sustenance inside and out.

 Lifting Up and Through 1

Learn to draw clearer support from the ground into yourself, creating a more potent, efficient uprightness.

Lifting Up and Through 2 & 3 are in the box below. This trio of lessons can be explored and reviewed in any order.

Review and Refine

Dive deeper into the ideas above with this bonus video content for all donors.

Lifting Up and Through 2:
Organizing Your Feet
(Members & Patrons video lesson)

Another take on Activating the Arches, with video illustrations and more detailed variations.

Lifting Up and Through 3:
Buttocks and Buoyancy
(Members & Patrons video lesson)

Tune your buttocks awareness, especially for walking. This version is less physically demanding than "The Buttocks" lesson above.

Feldenkrais for Self Empowerment
(Members & Patrons video workshop)

Lesson 1: Heel Spirals Through Buttocks, Hips, and Shoulders - Combine and refine your Lifting Up and Through learning.
Lesson 2: Integrating the Feet for Potent Uprightness - Clarify the connections between the ground and your internal sources of power

Subtlety and Strength

With more clarity comes even more effortless uprightness and power

NEW: Breathing for Liftoff (35m + 25m, Patrons)
Free your breath with this pair of lessons, and use it to directly experience what physicists call ground reaction forces.

[About lesson 1] This lesson has done wonders for interrupting my anxiety pattern, which involves holding my breath.

[About lesson 2] The floor pushing back up created lots of new space in all variations. I will definitely repeat this lesson and explore further.

Integrating the Feet, Torso, Head, and Breath: Connecting to the Earth (Patrons)
Use the earth to support your torso and breath…and feel your torso organize your feet!

I am physically understanding much better your frequent cue to feel the energy of the floor. Wonderful!

This version of Integrating the Feet is different than the one in the Self Empowerment workshop. We recommend studying both.

As Light as a Finger (Patrons)
Games of weightlessness lead to surprising abilities: how many parts of you can feel as light as a finger?

A new insight into how light getting up from the floor can be.

I am finding this lesson so profound. I have been doing it almost every day for the past week and each time I find something else new to me.

A Spiral of Length & Power (Patrons)
Take the Lifting Up and Through ideas further and develop them into a powerful athletic gesture.

This is what I love about Feldenkrais: learning a lot about myself and enjoying dealing better with challenges.

At the end my entire back body feels so enlivened and strong – as good as any deep tissue massage or better since it was self-generated.

Taking Flight

Further adventures in weightless action

Lifting Like a Baby + Simultaneous Lifting (Patrons)
Babies have such big heads, and such little muscles. How do they do anything?!

Really exquisite lesson, which I notice provides me with a deep way to learn how to let my neck and abdominal muscles reduce and reduce their efforts. I am feeling so light and relaxed now.

Joyful Lifted Rolling (Patrons)
Grow out of the fetal position into expansive lengthening, lifting and rolling. Many aspects of this course are summarized in the explorations and discussion.

Leave a comment on this new lesson to let us know what you discover. We'd love to share it here! -Nick

The “Morning Prayer” Lesson (Patrons)
Hands together like a child praying. Starts small in supine, develops into profound lifting and lowering movements of “praying”.

I felt a sense of wonder and awe and gratitude. That was a very profound lesson.

I loved this lesson on so many levels. I feel set up for my day and will return to this one often!

What Is Good Posture? (Patrons)
So important that Feldenkrais made it lesson #1 of his ATM book lessons. So challenging that we’ve been preparing for it this whole course.

If this Feldenkrais classic feels like too much, take a side trip to this “little dip” instead, or to prepare more.

Where to next?

We've got two closely related Deep Dives. Supple Feet, Powerful Legs  has some overlapping lessons. Or for more about "getting right with gravity" try Better Balance .


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