Turning on a side axis

Returning to our theme of turning on a dime, this lesson finds the relation between really standing, the freedom of the head, and the freedom to turn.

Heavily but not completely edited to remove all my evening’s left-right mix-ups. Left in the local colour in the form of free-associating to Ellen Page (from Halifax) and the movie Hard Candy.

Turning heels out

This lesson–entirely in standing–is about finding your axis for turning, with the head and the pelvis coordinated in a smooth arc, and the volume on the extensors of the back “turned down.” It’s the first of our “turning on a dime.”

I’m particularly intrigued by this lesson in relation to a passage in The Potent Self that I’ve always found intriguing. In the chapter, “The means at our disposal,” he talks about needing to shut down the habitual work of the extensors in the low back and neck before anything new can be learned. This makes sense and doesn’t in light of his usual progression of introductory lessons–a “flexor” lesson is often first. And of course lessons are usually done in lying for this reason. But none of these intro lessons are as extreme as what is described in that chapter of The Potent Self. This lesson, paradoxically in standing, actually carries through this thought: maintaining the rounding of the spine while shifting weight and “coming up on each leg” is remarkably potent as a means of reeducation of the generally over-working and poorly-organized extensors.

Walking Backward

This is the second of two lessons in the January 15 Workshop: Weight and Weightlessness, 2011. In the first lesson, Lifting a long leg, we were in sidelying, finding how to manage the weight of the long leg in various directions/configurations. This got us using our spines and relating ourselves heel to pelvis to head.

Now we’re on to weightlessness: finding the reflexes in standing and the lengthening of the head up and forwards as the hip joint goes back and down, to turn walking into a gentle springing orchestration of reflexes.

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.