Nodding into Lengthening the Heels (Patrons)

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.

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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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 – 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!

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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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Different parts of this lesson may require different amounts of friction under your feet. Consider taking off or putting on socks as needed, or having something a little sticky nearby, like a yoga mat.

The first variation with one knee bent, one leg long goes on a bit long without an explicitly invited two-legs-long rest. Here as always, please rest whenever you like! You can even pause the recording if you wish, or just listen and imagine for a few moments while you rest with both legs long.

For the purposes of this lesson I mean the whole front of the foot when I say “ball” of the foot, not just the area behind the big toe.

For this lesson the quality of movement of the students in the room was so beautiful that I taught fewer variations than I planned, but more precisely and with more time for improvisation into the details. It ended up a light and joyful exploration of a very particular thing.

You’ll thoroughly explore relationships of movements in one plane (the sagittal plane: the plane of nodding “yes”), while giving time and attention for discoveries of movements in other planes that can serve the sagittal movements.

It’s a learning strategy designed to clarify your image of a particular aspect of the human gait and uprightness, without constraining you into unrealistic movement. You’re invited at the end of the lesson to walk freely. Listen for lesson-related feelings and relationships, while noticing that real gait includes much more sophisticated movements in all planes.

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our always-growing collection of new lessons for Feldenkrais Project Patrons. It’s also in our Walking from Your Spine Deep Dive.

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  1. on May 18, 2019 at 5:24 am

    Hooray! Back to ATM lessons, (a long spell of sinus pains inhibited lying on the floor). Re-experiencing the wonder of being connected to my body. Thank you. Orla

  2. Niva on July 15, 2020 at 1:46 am

    Thanks, Nick, for an interesting and playful lesson.
    I am intrigued by the change of ease in breathing I felt when weight was on heel/on front part of the foot…

  3. Lorraine on October 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    This lesson really clarified some of the complex movements of my pelvis as I walk. I’ve often tried to catch a clearer idea of this but it has always felt entirely elusive. I don’t feel like I’ve got this yet but at least this lesson gives me a way to explore further. I’ll leave it for a bit and when I revisit it I’m expecting that some consolidation will have happened.

    • Lorraine on March 14, 2021 at 4:25 pm

      So far just more confused! At least I’m relaxed about my confusion.

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