Lessons From Feldenkrais, Part 3: The Foot Lesson

March 19, 2016 Updated: March 24, 2016

We tend not think about how we sit, stand, or walk unless we have some type of injury or pain complaint. Imagine if we had to think about how we breathe all the time! We need habit to function.

Nevertheless, it would be wise to invest some time studying some of these habitual patterns and learning improved ones that will ultimately serve us better. This is the basis of our work as Feldenkrais practitioners.

This lesson will consider a simple movement of the foot that will illustrate an important concept in the Feldenkrais method. If you improve any part of the system, you improve the whole. Set aside at least 10 minutes to complete this lesson. Take your time and enjoy the process.  

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Most people neglect their feet from a very young age. Whether our shoes are soft or hard, loose or tight, over time we lose the fine motor control of our feet.

With practice, we can improve and observe that our feet can even become an integral part of our breathing. As the Taoist master Zhuangzi wrote, “The breathing of the true man comes from his heels, while men generally breathe from their throats.” (Victor Mair [1994:371] presents Zhuangzi.)

I would like to thank you for investing your time in self-learning by exploring some of these Feldenkrais principles. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or would like to share feedback.  

Matt Leve is a physical therapist and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner at Shift Integrative Medicine in Manhattan. He incorporates principles of physical therapy, The Feldenkrais Method®, tai chi, and aikido to help clients achieve optimal performance and self-organization. For questions, email him at Matt@Shift.nyc. For more information, call 212-604-1316.

About the The Feldenkrais Method®

Born in Ukraine in 1904, Moshe Feldenkrais was a physicist, judo master, and an individual deeply interested in the nature of learning and human consciousness. The method of movement he developed helps people transform the way they move, relieving stresses they habitually place on their bodies by reducing unnecessary muscular effort. 
 
The method is conveyed either with gentle hands-on manipulations by a practitioner or with structured group Awareness Through Movement® (ATM) lessons in which students are verbally guided in a set of particular movements. These lessons have a unique emphasis on purposeful, slow, and gentle movement, which is thought to enhance sensory learning. As you do this lesson, think about “doing less” or “reducing effort.”