A trade off has been made.
Increased mobility reduced stability.
Bigger feet might be more stable, though we’d be less mobile.
As a result of the relatively small size of our feet much of the muscular activity to move our feet is in our legs, particularly our lower legs.
In the workshop we developed our awareness of movement in a variety of positions. Some slow easy walking with awareness. Standing and shifting weight. Then crossing legs in standing and looking around. Noticing. On the mat, time on our backs, with knees bent and feet resting on the floor, we made very small movements, raising the outer edge of a foot a few millemetres. Then raising the inner edge in a similar way. Then rocking gently between the two edges. It seemed that an exceptional amount of attention was needed to focus on these small moves. And that’s the point. By making them small we must pay attention. Though it’s also the case for many of us, that this possible movement is one we rarely make. Recruiting more of our little muscles can enable more fluid movement. Once we know through experience what this movement feels like, it becomes an extra option.
We’d a part of a lesson on our fronts. This time knees bent meant that the foot was in the air. Then there was an exploration of the movement of the foot. Tilting toes up to ceilings and down towards the floor. Circling the toes. Curling toes one way and then the opposite way. Tilting heel, up and down, circling round and round. Slowly with awareness. Sounds easy enough. And yet. Noticing the engagement, feeling the body moving. Becoming aware that many these movements can include movements of hips, pelvis, torso. This focused attention, the novelty of some of the moves can be tiring. Plenty of pauses. Opportunity for the neural network to absorb the new information. To re-wire.
Other activities involved resting on our back, knees bent and feet standing. Our attention was directed to the triangle shape in our feet, to the heel and the balls of our feet. By lifting each part in turn, our awareness increased. While these activities are all about attention and gentle awareness, when we stand and are guided to walk around the room, there is a change in how we move. One participant comments on the how she has tended to walk on her toes, now she is walking in a more balanced way. Another participant notices that the opposite has happened – instead of placing most pressure on the heels, the movement now involves a more dynamic curve of feet as the weight shifts in walking.
Here’s another key to the success of Feldenkrais. We have our own ways of moving. Bringing awareness, extending our ideas of how movement happens, we give our selves more choices. As a result our body makes better choices and moves with greater ease and grace and power. This is where a skilled guide through this process is vital. For without that guidance, then we repeat our habitual patterns.. Doing over and over what we’ve always done. Do what you’ve always done, get what you’ve always got. Want to do things better? Then change. And yet, habits can be strong and seem to have a power of their own. So how to enable change? The Feldenkrais answer is: gently, through awareness. Gentle awareness. This acts as an invitation to the body.
Interested to get the feel of how powerful and effective this can be? Then there are two workshops in Romiley this spring/summer.
Friday 20th May : Moving from your centre
Friday 22nd July : Theme to be confirmed (We are considering more around the theme of breathing, though welcome ideas.)
Moving from your centre
Friday 20th May
Life Centre Romiley
12-45 for 1pm start
As Veronica says, this idea will be familiar to anyone who practices martial arts and T’ai Chi.
‘The centre that we use in Feldenkrais is the tanden as in Judo or tan t’ien in T’ai Chi (two inches or so below the navel). My teacher, Russell Delman, calls it ‘the golden ball’. I guess it is a little higher than the hips. And actually, in terms of physics and biomechanics, the centre of gravity can be much higher, depending on the position you are in and the movement you are making.’ Veronica Rock