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: 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 – 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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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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4 Comments

  1. orlaclarke@eircom.net 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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