As Light as a Finger: Games of Weightlessness (Patrons)

Back-lying, framed by brief standing experiments. Create a lighter sense of your body and mind in the field of gravity by using a playful neurological analogy. Explore how your hips, feet, and head can become as light as a finger when you learn to lift them with evenly distributed muscle tone throughout your body. Begins with a 3-minute talk about work, effort, "weightless" movement, and proportional tone.

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 – 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.

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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!

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.

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.

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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.

We offer over 50 free lessons, but this one's just for our Patron-level donors. You can learn about it in the free lesson notes and comments below, but to access the audio you’ll need to join The FP as a Patron. Learn more

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Whenever you’ve got one or both knees bent in this back-lying lesson, have your feet and knees about the width of your shoulders, and both feet standing comfortably close to your bottom. Feel free to experiment with their distance from your midline and bottom as you learn to make your hips and feet lighter and lighter.

Keeping a weightless or effortless sense of movement is particularly important in this Feldenkrais lesson, so there are many cues inviting you to do less. However, if you find your leg very light, you may enjoy lifting it higher than “just enough to slip a piece of paper under,” especially as the lesson goes on.

Later when you lift or lighten your head, the hand that lifts it should hold it wherever feels best. Many people enjoy having the hand low on their skull, perhaps even holding some of their neck.

After this lesson was recorded several students commented on the unusual “floaty” and calm mental state this lesson evoked for them. Don’t worry if you find your attention drifting away at times. It’s ok if you miss some of the variations.

All movements are intended to be slow, smooth, and gradual, both lifting off the floor and lowering. Don’t drop to the floor. Instead place your body back on the ground gently.

Let your pelvis shift freely whenever you lift or lighten something. Allow the floor contact on the back of your pelvis to naturally shift away from a lifting hip, or a little toward a lightening foot.

If you’re lifting more than one part of yourself simultaneously, let the moments of departure and return to the floor become more and more precisely simultaneous.

The brief standing experiment at the beginning (imagining you’re in greater gravity, then lesser gravity) can be repeated at the end, or sometime later today or tomorrow, or any time you’d like to experiment with your own agency in your skeleton’s ability to cancel gravity efficiently.

On a subsequent listening, if both hips are initially comfortable to lift, we recommend starting with the other side of your body.

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our collection of lessons exclusively for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors.

A Spiral of Length and Power (Patrons) was recorded the next week of this class, and is a great followup. Both lessons appear in this order in our Deep Dive called Grounding for Liftoff.

It was recorded in a FP Weekly Zoom class on August 1, 2023 during a course called Resilience, then edited to improve flow, clarity, and sound quality in this permanent audio version.

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5 Comments

  1. Lindsay Flower on November 18, 2023 at 1:34 am

    This is a really interesting practice. At the beginning I believed I was moving with as little effort as possible and then realised I was tensing my back while trying to lift (or pretend to lift) the foot and then became aware of many other things tensing as well. After a while I still felt activation in other parts of the body but my breath wasn’t restricted and my lower back wasn’t tensing or straining. In fact I didn’t feel any isolation of movement or support through my lower back. Will practice this again

  2. Sara on November 19, 2023 at 3:56 am

    A perfect rainy Sunday morning experiential! I now feel so light and spacey. A new insight into how light getting up from the floor can be.

  3. joan davis on November 24, 2023 at 11:57 am

    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. It seems to link strongly into my frame of mind and so if I’m a little scared or upset, then the ‘lightness’ is much harder to access. It is incredible the difference between both sides of my body from day to day even. Sometimes the right side is the easier one and sometimes the left.
    Another thing that is really opening up to me is a more even distribution of tone which really helps me to feel the total wholeness of my body and the inter-relationality of all the parts working together.
    More please!!!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on November 27, 2023 at 5:56 pm

      I find this to be profound learning too – the first time I explored this lesson it knocked my socks off, and I share the sense that it seems to be different every time I revisit it. I very much agree that it points particularly clearly at our wholeness and integration. I am working on multiple follow-up lessons already, though none are quite like this. It is a great one to repeat often!

  4. Gertrude Schmidt on January 7, 2024 at 9:39 am

    The last weeks were quite challenging for me – being sick with Covid, my ribs so tense, no walks in the woods, even doing my beloved Feldenkrais lessons was nearly impossible.
    The only lesson I could do was this one, so I repeated it several times and I do love it! I enjoyed your talking at the beginning and in the end – so calming and relaxing.
    As my ribs were so tense that the slightest turning would cause me trouble, I moved very carefully, sensing my finger as light as a feather, breathing gently, the air flowing in and out like a soft breeze.
    Smoothly walking aroud my rooms afterwards, my bones were moving harmoniously, what a wonderful feeling!

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