The Power of One Foot (22 or 36 min, Patrons)

A "short version" stopping point is noted in the middle. Back-lying, one knee bent, framed with brief walking explorations. This potently asymmetrical lesson dives deeply into the common ATM lesson ingredient of pushing one foot into the floor. Intended to inspire improvisation after studying, this lesson asks: can you learn how to improve how you’re feeling and functioning even with short or very simple ATM explorations? How about one-sided, or self-led?

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.

Tip 1 – Interrupted?

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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 – skip a lesson

Study tip: If you can’t find a comfortable way to do the initial movements or configuration of a lesson, it’s ok to skip it for now and go on to another lesson.

Tip – Rewinding

Study tip: Many instructions are repeated. If you get a little lost, rest and listen. You’ll often find your way. Or use the rewind button on the page or your mobile device.

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 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 – Technical Difficulties

Tech tip: If you have any trouble with the audio player, reboot your browser. That solves most issues. If not, please contact Nick.

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 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.

Tip – Pause the recording

Study tip: If you’re really enjoying a movement and want to explore longer, or you just need a break for a while, pause the recording!

Tip – What’s New

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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.

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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When lying on your back with one knee bent, the knee will more less always face the ceiling while you’re doing the movements.

On the next listening (or improvisation), you’re encouraged to reverse all the lefts and rights, and of course if it’s much easier to work with your left foot standing than your right you might do it that way first, or even that way only.

Avoiding an arbitrary focus on symmetrical sensations and behavior, all Feldenkrais lessons are designed to stimulate learning by directing your attention and tuning your awareness. In asymmetrical lessons the differences created between your two sides are often spontaneously and dramatically compelling of your full attention. After this particularly one-sided lesson how long do the asymmetrical sensations last? Where do they go when they disappear? As our nervous system integrates our experiences it can be surprising how quickly this happens. And if the differences linger in curiosity longer, or flash back into your attention later, it’s tremendous for our learning.

An equestrian inquired about asymmetry after doing this lesson, and I reassured her: even if your profession or hobbies benefit from symmetrical performance, the learning and improved awareness available from lessons like this will be an asset, not a liability, to behaving more symmetrically when you need to.

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our always-growing collection of new lessons (one or more added every month) for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors.

It can also be found in our Deep Dive called Supple Feet, Powerful Legs.

It was recorded during the Patrons Q2 Update and Lesson Zoom Event on August 12, 2021. Patrons can view the update and after-lesson discussion here. The above audio recording of the lesson has been edited for flow and clarity and I believe it is the best version to study.

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Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

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  1. Susan Mayer on August 23, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    This is such an essential lesson. I was thinking it belonged in the getting started section, but you are speaking to those who have Feldenkrais experience in the lesson, so I guess not.
    Wherever it lands, I hope it gets special flagging as foundational. I know it will be one I return to regularly while I allow deeper understanding to develop.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on August 24, 2021 at 3:41 pm

      I’m glad it lands with you like this. Interesting that you mentioned Getting Oriented, since I had originally envisioned this lesson as part of that. But after I taught this version I had the same realization you did: there’s a lot of subtlety, and it’s best for experienced Felden-fans. It may need a more bare-bones teaching for that context, but I agree a version of it should be there, eventually – I’ll keep churning on this idea. And yes to a more prominent context elsewhere…maybe part of a new Patrons’ miniseries eventually.

      • Susan Mayer on August 25, 2021 at 3:31 pm

        Yay to more miniseries!! Great idea.

  2. Joan Oliver Goldsmith on August 24, 2021 at 11:02 am

    I find this lesson very useful when my knees don’t feel strong enough to support me going upstairs. I concentrate on placing the ball of my foot on the stair and using that to push through the skeleton for each stair, if that makes sense. I feel as if I’m using the strength of my whole skeleton which requires much less of the knee joint.

  3. Ann Thomson on August 24, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    An amazingly interesting lesson. I felt like a flamingo.

  4. Tamar R Zinn on September 29, 2021 at 10:21 am

    Thank you for this lesson, Nick. When I walked around after the lesson, I felt a wonderful lightness on my right side, from pelvis to foot. It was particularly meaningful for me because I’ve been working to resolve (with PT) some right side shoulder and hip problems.

  5. Steve Chambers on October 1, 2021 at 3:42 am

    I have been through all the lessons, most several times.

    The ‘initiate from the pelvis’ section finally woke up some muscles I had lost since a disc prolapse and a hernia repair.


  6. Lorraine on October 2, 2021 at 1:13 am

    I enjoyed doing this lesson all on the one side. It seemed to allow me more awareness of what I had learnt. Then I repeated the lesson on the other side several days later. It really amazed me how much I had learnt in the interim and how it had transferred to the other side. I seemed much more able to understand the movement and move easily and elegantly than if I had launched straight into doing everything on the second side. I will try some more lessons all on the one side.

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