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Lifting Up and Through

Back-lying, mostly one knee bent, one foot standing. Develop an action of lifting your hip forward in a grounded and distributed way as you learn to draw clear support from the earth up and through you. Great for stability, strength, and confidence in walking, and all upright movement. Framed by experiments in standing and walking.


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Before you begin read this for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below.

Recorded live in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class, this lesson is copyright Nick Strauss-Klein, for personal use only.

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Tip 5 – Discomfort

Study tip: If a configuration or movement causes any increase in discomfort, or you feel you just don’t want to do it, don’t! Make it smaller and slower, adapt it, or rest and imagine.

Tip 4 – Padding

Study tip: Comfort first! Carpeted floors usually work well, but it’s great to have an extra mat or blanket nearby in case you need a softer surface in some configurations.

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Tip – Complete the Movement

Study tip: Complete one movement before beginning the next. You’ll improve faster if there’s enough time between movements that you feel fully at rest.

Tip 3 – Head Support

Study tip: It helps to have a large bath towel nearby when you start a lesson. You can fold it differently for comfortable head support in any configuration.

Tip – Directions are Relative

Study tip: Directions are always relative to your body. For example, if you’re lying on your back “up” is toward your head, and “forward” is toward the ceiling.

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Tip – what to wear

Study tip: Wear loose, comfortable clothes that are warm enough for quiet movement. Remove or avoid anything restrictive like belts or glasses.

Tip – LESSS is more

LESSS is more: Light, Easy, Small, Slow, & Smooth movements will ease pains and improve your underlying neuromuscular habits faster than any other kind of movement, no matter who you are or what your training is!

This lesson progresses from common Feldenkrais lesson movements to uncommon ones. Throughout, remember LESSS is more: light, easy, soft, slow, and smooth movements are the quickest way to learn and improve.

Be particularly gentle and curious in later variations as an unusual coordination is described. You’ll learn to move a shoulder backward while turning your head away from it, and eventually inclining your head to look a little upward too, if it’s comfortable. Don’t stretch or strain. Only do what’s truly pleasant.

Shifting our intention toward gathering the ground’s support and clarity up into ourselves as we act, instead of pushing against the ground, can be profoundly helpful for learning to feel and function better in all we do.

It’s a way of tuning in to a natural phenomenon. Biomechanics teaches that ground reaction forces push up through us, equal and opposite to our weight and acceleration (movement). Or, in the language of Tai Chi, we “borrow” from the earth when moving.

This is a more potent functional conception of grounding than thinking of moving down into our feet with each step, or pushing down into the earth as we act.


A “homework” project, for after you’ve done this lesson

In many Feldenkrais lessons with this one knee bent, lifting the hip movement, you are directed to push your foot into the ground.

Over the years I’ve come to believe that thinking of lifting up and through ourselves (instead of pushing down and into the earth) is a better cue for learning to organize effective action.

I recommend exploring how lessons with similar movements change when you emphasize lifting away from your foot, instead of pushing with it.

Try lifting up instead of pushing down in any of the hip cues of our “self-hug” lessons or our “arms like a skeleton” lessons. You can search for those phrases here.

Patrons can try lifting instead of pushing with The Power of One Foot (22 or 36 min, Patrons) and other lessons linked in that lesson’s Related Lessons tab.

This is #6 in our free collection called Lying Down Lessons for Better Posture, Walking, and Running.

“Last week” is lesson #1 (Free Your Torso) in that same collection. It’s not a prerequisite, but you might wish to review it before or after exploring this one.

Lessons 2-5 have been placed between them because they are great preparation for the essential learning of Lifting Up and Through.

Members and Patrons: Continue your learning with Lifting Up and Through 2, a companion video lesson with screen share illustrations, and Lifting Up and Through 3.

This lesson was recorded on June 13, 2023 in a Zoom course called Walking with Your Whole Self.

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  1. Sara on December 26, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    Especially loved the experience of using the shoulders to pinch the floor inwards and the set up of the ankles/knees. Feeling very uplifted. Find that I ‘refuse’ to experience the downward sense in standing/walking at the end – it just feels too good to head that way again!

  2. Donna on January 21, 2024 at 9:52 pm

    I loved how I could lift my pelvis (‘bridge pose’) much more easily at the end of the lesson, vs the beginning – and that I could trace it to aligning my hips, shoulders, whole body, to support the movement – rather than just using my lower back!

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