Walking Backward

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.

6 Replies to “Walking Backward”

  1. I enjoy the juxtaposition of your two questions, one to yourself and one to the others. It is such an interesting surprise to feel how different the human person can feel, no? I remember saying to a teacher after a lesson “but I feel like John Malkovich!” (This was before Being John Malkovich.) He commented that it was possible that my internal image of what this new somatic possibility (for my face) looked like to others might not be accurate or the whole story. Sometimes it can take years to make sense of a new possibility felt through a lesson in life; sometimes it really is something that never will be permanent for us but a glimpse of some other way of being in the world.

    And then your next question–not from the mind that looks for our distinctness but from the one that looks for our commonality. At the time I last did this lesson I didn’t notice an elliptical movement, but I “tried it on” again after reading your words and I could feel the potential and it brought out for me a new sense of the shape of the movement of the hip joint of the leg that is going backwards–not a straight line but some kind of arc. Thanks!

  2. Really interesting lesson. It’s funny – in theatre, I am used to changing the way my feet touch the ground according to the character and depending on the weight of emotion in a situation, but always in life I return to a “default me” – heavy feet, weight back on the heels. Many actors never get the character until the moment when they put on the shoes and then it feels right. It’s a weight thing. Doing this lesson reminded me of the need to ask the question – “If I was to become someone who walked with ‘en-lightened’ feet or ’empty feet’, what sort of person would I be”? I spent most of yesterday walking around experimenting with this – aware of the sense of growth through the spine as each foot touched the ground. But it didn’t feel like ‘me’ and I realised, for the umpteenth time, that a change in body is not just physical but means a change in the whole self. One of the new things I noticed after this lesson was an odd little elliptical circular movement of the head – going from side to side. Previously I had experienced it as a kind of pecking movement, with the head going forwards and backwards – rather like a very elegant giraffe. Also as I became aware of the movement through the spine it moved up into my face and I could even feel some kind of demand being made on the muscles of the eyeballs. Surprising. Did anyone else feel this?

    Laurance Rudic

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