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Deep Dive: Walking from Your Spine

I was really able to feel the connection between the lessons and how the movement patterns from the different lesson seemed to ‘add up’ and benefit each other, which is one reason I liked that series so much.

– praise for this Deep Dive from Daniel, a student in Switzerland

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

We think of our legs doing the walking, but our axis is more responsible for walking (and running) than we tend to think. The following lessons form an ordered sequence designed to create more awareness and skill around the spine’s generation of gait.

You can make your own “workshop” out of any Deep Dive by doing as many as 2-3 lessons per day, with time between lessons to rest. Or you can spread them out more. To maximize your learning and help you sense the connections between the lessons, if possible take no more than 2-3 days “off” between lessons.

1) Connecting the Legs and Chest (FREE to all through November)
Mostly side-lying, exploring relationships of the head, spine, chest, and pelvis with a riddle: how do we actually lengthen a leg? Designed to bring awareness and improvement to an action we need for every step we take in the world, this lesson uses breath, foundation forces, and “hinging” at the feet and knees to connect our image of leg lengthening with our whole self, especially the chest.

2) Nodding into Lengthening the Heels (Patrons only)
Back-lying, often one or both knees bent, exploring relationships of “nodding” parts of ourselves in the sagittal (up/down) plane, including head, pelvis, one foot, and two feet, to better organize the full unfolding of the legs and send our heels into the world, a function essential for clear skeletal support while standing or walking.

3) Spine and Chest Side-Bending, Lengthening Limbs (always FREE)
Framed by standing explorations of how we shift weight onto one foot, this mostly back-lying lesson (often one or both knees bent) is designed to free the torso and improve awareness, suppleness, and integration of lateral movements of the spine and chest in walking. Includes explorations of sensing and initiating movement from the spine.

4) Walking with Your Sternum (Patrons only)
Back-lying, often knees bent. Learning how preparatory movements for taking a step involve the whole self, by sensing and exploring movements of the sternum, both as a reference and a challenge to expand the self-image of walking. Lengthening and sweeping the arms in many directions encourages suppleness of the chest and awareness of the sternum, and helps integrate them with movements of the pelvis, hips, and walking.

5) Finding and Using Your Spinal Bias to Step Down (Patrons only, 33 min)
Framed by brief explorations in standing, this mostly side-lying lesson helps you discover your primary spinal bias. You’ll explore how a refined awareness and conscious use of your spine’s natural bias can improve how you send your foot out into the world in all upright activities.

6) Stepping Down, with a Bias (Patrons only)
This mostly side-lying lesson explores the relationship of our natural spinal bias with our uprightness. It’s designed to help us clarify and harness the fine movements and wonderful sensitivity and power available throughout our spine as we step down. “Stepping down” is how we organize ourselves to deliver force through our legs as we stand, balance, walk, and move in all upright activities.

We all thrive when more people are doing more Feldenkrais. Please share this resource!

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