A hallmark of well-organized movement, according to Feldenkrais, is its reversibility. At any point in an action, can you turn around, go back, change your mind, do something else? An optimally-organized action would be one where you retain the freedom at any point to change your mind (or react to changing circumstances) and do something different.

By this measure, jumping out of a window is an action that would be hard to organize optimally. Once you’ve started, there’s no going back.

Lying on the side, sliding your hand forwards and backwards is a movement that is easy to do reversibly. You probably didn’t feel like you were falling in doing Sidelying, sliding hands and knees. But you may have felt slightly the first hint of non-reversiblity, which is simply that it takes more effort to turn around and go back than to keep going.

(Some people actually will more or less “fall” either forwards or backwards when lying on their sides.)

If you’re doing a somersault, head over heels, can you really organize the movement to be reversible? I bet you can. But let’s start with something a little less challenging. We were folding forwards, curling into a ball last week; can we roll ourselves in that ball between lying on the ground and sitting up and do that in a completely reversible way?

One Reply to “Reversibility”

  1. Hi Lynne,
    I’ve just discovered your site and it’s a breath of fresh air.
    About reversibilty; I have often thought that its principal component is inhibition – in the sense of being able to stop, observe and choose. This aspect of reversibity can introduce a sense of choice and direction to both the more static actures and also to the more dynamic ones, even running for example, where the inhibition of unnecessary tension is a reversal of a direction or tendency.

    I recently did AY399. I want to’ do it again now because the exploration of counter rotation while balancing from the standpoint of reversibility I think will be rich.
    All the best,

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