This lesson relates the ability to sit cross-legged with the movement of the ankle, lower legs, and hips invoked by lifting the inside and outside of the feet–developing freedom in the neck as the ankle moves through this range of movement.
- Lie face up, feet standing. Lift the inside edges of the feet. Faster and easier.
- Same, outside border. Faster and easier. Then back and forth. Faster and easier.
- Stand R foot, open L knee to side and slide L foot in the hole between R foot and R buttock to rest there. Lift outside edge of R foot, and gradually develop your ability to do this with the knee remaining still.
- Other side (stand L foot, slide R foot in space, etc.)
- Stand R foot, open L knee, as above: now stand R foot on L foot below the ankle. Lift inside and outside edge of foot, alternately. Then focus in: place L hand on forehead, lift inside border of foot, and roll head at the same time: notice that lifting the foot interferes with rolling the head in one direction but not the other. Lift inside border and roll head L only. Lift inside border and roll head R only. And then roll the head L and R, independently, as you lift the inside border.
- Stand R foot on L foot as above, and lift outside border of R foot–play with this until you can leave the knee still: then place R hand on forehead, and take head to the L while lifting outside edge. Then head R (much more difficult). Then head independent. Then alternate the edges of the feet while rolling the head, and develop the independence of the head from the movement of the foot.
- Arrange your legs to do the other side (stand L foot on R foot, R knee open). Lift inside edge of L foot. Place L hand on forehead, and roll head L as you lift inside edge.Then roll head R, same foot movement. Then roll head L and R as you lift inside edge of foot. Then slowly change to lifting the outside edge of the foot. Can you do that without interfering with rolling the head? If not, break it down so you lift the outside edge and roll the head L, then roll it R, then roll it in both directions. Do the same with the R hand on your forehead. Then alternating lifting the inside and outside borders of the feet.
- Then lie with L knee open, and place outside border of R foot below L knee, on the lower leg, with the R knee open as well. Lift alternately the inside and outside borders of the R foot.
- Come again into this position, and lift the inside and outside borders of both feet. Perhaps the knees lift a little because you can’t avoid this.
- Other side: do you feel the knees opening more than usual?
- Sit cross-legged and compare with how this usually feels. Place the top leg/foot in the fold of the lower leg. Lean on both hands on floor behind, and lift pelvis to stand knees on the floor. Change leg crossing and do the same.
- Lie face up again, both knees open to the side and soles of the feet together. Press inside edges together, then outside edges together. Do the same thing with the feet apart, so not touching: reach the inside borders towards one another, and then the outside borders.
Focus of Moshe’s Teaching
The ability to move the foot and ankle through this range without catching or holding the breath, without any tiny reflexes in the neck (that would be captured by the hand rolling the head registering an interference in its ability to roll): he says of the easy and independent rolling of the head with the movement of the foot: “those who find this does not go so easily, ….[will find] a tremendous difference in the standing of the body, in how it generally holds itself, and maybe movements that were difficult before will become easy.”
- AY 251 is a lesson that develops the ability to lift the inside and outside borders of the feet, something assumed here.
- Liz Sisco has a recording of her take on this lesson, linked from this page at the OpenATM project: http://openatm.org/atm/lizsisco/liz_sisco_10_23_2010.mp3
- Olena Nitefor has a recording on OpenATM as well: http://openatm.org/atm/olena/olena_5_ATM.mp3
- Lynette Reid has a recording at kinesophics: http://www.kinesophics.ca/edges_feet
Edges of the feet (2) My happy healthy feet – Feldenkrais With Alfons:
Share Your Insights (ideas, principles, strategies, experiences, …)
- If you start at the very last movement of this lesson, you see that something quite incredible has to be achieved. If you lie with your knees open, your feet facing one another but not touching–it’s relatively easy to take the inside border of the feet towards one another (the knees may lift slightly, the pelvis roll back)–but the outside border? Your knees are already hanging open, at the extreme end of this range. The movement of reaching the outside borders of your feet towards one another is not obvious. The progression of the lesson as a whole makes sense if you see that you are developing the control of the feet and ankles, with the hips in this extreme open (abducted and externally rotated) position, to be able to do this. – LynetteReid Dec 12, 2010
- In standing, lift the inside border of your left foot: what happens? You can do this in a very undifferentiated way, by turning your entire self to the left as you lift the inside border of the left foot. This lesson teaches you the differentiation you need (in the knee and in the hip) to lift the inside border of your foot while your upper body remains free to do as you like. (In 251, you will have felt how the rotation that goes with lifting the inside and outside edges happens in the knee when the leg is bent, and in the hip when the leg is straight.) – LynetteReid Dec 12, 2010
- So you start with the relatively simple idea of lifting the inside/outside border of the foot from the floor–the idea of lifting is relatively easy, and the floor is a ready reference point. Then you have to give students the chance to sort out their perception of what they’re doing, with less and less of a reference point. – LynetteReid Dec 12, 2010
- The next starting position is relevant for two reasons. You’re starting to work with the hip open–to start with, a moderate half-opening (one leg open and one leg standing). And when you place the standing foot on the inside border of the foot of the open leg, you’ve now got an unstable place to work from. In this unstable place, you probably can’t feel where that midpoint is between lifting one edge of the foot and the other, so he starts us in the more precarious position by alternating lifting the inner and outer edges–later, when we can sort more clearly, we can do just the one half of the movement. (On the second side, he goes directly to starting with just lifting the inside edge.) – LynetteReid Dec 12, 2010
- (He doesn’t emphasize, so perhaps I am reading this in, but now you’re in a situation like you are with many of the flex/extend ankle lessons, where you can perceive that lifting the inside edge of the foot towards you is also taking the outside border away from you, and vice versa. This is the transition in how you sense the movement that I think he’s making use of in the final movement, where you take the borders away from you (and towards one another) rather than lifting the borders.) – LynetteReid Dec 11, 2010
- Then, when both knees are open, you start to lift the inside borders of the feet with no reference point (not the floor, and not the inside edge of the other foot that you’re balanced on). – LynetteReid Dec 12, 2010
- What “makes sense” for the head with these ankle movements? On the second side, he’s explicit: when you lift the inside edge of the left foot, rolling the head left should be easier. This comes back to the undifferentiated movement I describe above in standing. And so developing the freedom in rolling the head this way and that as this and that edge lifts, is breaking that undifferentiated pattern of lifting the border of the foot by turning the whole body. It pays off in freedom in the pelvis/hip joint. – LynetteReid Dec 12, 2010
- In both this lesson and 251, when dealing with lifting the inside and outside edges of the feet, he plays with speed, going from slow to fast and light. I believe one idea in speeding up a movement is making the movement more distal–less use of the larger, proximal muscles. – LynetteReid Dec 12, 2010
- I find myself wondering about relevant movement in the pelvis (the transcript doesn’t discuss, but in advanced trainings I’ve been in that work on this lesson, much is made of the pelvis rolling to cooperate in this final movement.) – LynetteReid Dec 12, 2010
- Moshe says in step 1 “Pay attention to the inside edges. That means to not effort with the toes” and in step 3a says to not move the knee. How does one lift the inner edge of the foot without moving the toes or knees? When Jeff Haller taught this in the Victoria II Training, he began by explicitly distinguishing 3 ways one could lift the inner edge of your right foot:
- by titling your knee and ankle to the right
- by curling your toes as if to lift a scarf off the floor
- by keeping your big toe (first metatarsal) quiet and on the floor, keeping the knee quiet, lifting the arch, and moving the head of the fibula back.
In addition, Jeff pointed out that being able to lift the inner edge of the foot in this third way is key as this is the beginning of the spiral rotation of the leg into the hip joint that you need for good posture, power, etc. (see What is Good Posture). – yedwab Mar 1, 2011
- Just after the first movements (lifting the edges of the feet while supine/legs standing) I feel has effect on tonus of my lower back muscles – travelsheep Jun 21, 2012
- After the lesson it’s easier for me to sit on my heels (Seiza / japanese sitting). Also, I have the feeling my feet are more sexy. – travelsheep Mar 23, 2013
- The connection of this lesson to ease in sitting cross-legged is an obvious outcome, and one he makes explicit.
- The differentiation of the neck from the ankles can have a much broader impact: releasing the shoulders, freeing the arms, general improvement in “posture.”
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