Feldenkrais had a general idea about “efficient action”–that you would use all the musculature proportionately to its mass/size. More work in the large, central (proximal) muscles, light refinement from the distal muscles. This lesson explores that fundamental idea.
This is the first of three amazing lessons that get right to core matters. There was an interesting conversation after class about how people found the “spine as skewer” image–did it connect or not? One student said he was imagining the meat (tofu?) on the shish kebab was sort of folded or bunched up, and it flattens as the spine “skewers” it. Play with the idea!
Superfluous effort shortens the body. Efficient action involves growing taller, lengthening the limbs and the spine.
This is a fundamental idea in Feldenkrais. Scan your feeling of height as you sit in your chair reading this. Then clench your jaw–do you grow taller or shorter? Tighten you shoulders. Taller or shorter? Grip your stomach like you’ve just had a fright. Taller or shorter?
This theme is integrated into the lessons in many ways. In measuring lengths in the scans. In monitoring the maintenance of length (as we might monitor easy breathing) to recognize and modify superfluous effort when it arises during an action. In many lessons the question appears almost as an aside–where does the top of your head go?
One of the great mysteries of Feldenkrais: how does that “phenomenological weight loss” happen? I weigh x pounds when I arrive for the lesson; I weigh the same an hour later when it’s over. How can I feel so much lighter on my feet?
This lesson explores the question at that very moment of shifting weight onto a foot.