Sunday, August 2, 2009

Crawling Like a Lizard

This morning I finished the fourth lesson on the Feldenkrais based audio of "Running With the Whole Body". I was expecting the lesson to go along with my earlier edition of the book with work on the hips. However, something completely different than my edition of the book was introduced (I don't know if the rest of the lessons in the newer edition match the audio lessons). Anyhow, I was told I was going to learn how to crawl like a lizard. The next two lessons are about moving like an animal and then moving like a human. Well, seeing I am trying to follow a Primal-Paleo diet (lost 5-7 pounds in two weeks- which means I am losing too much and have to eat more)I guess I can learn to move in a more primal sort of manner (actually it is how we all started to move when we started crawling as a baby). Watch how the hips and spine of this baby moves as he creeps across the floor.

I guess Feldenkrais reawakens some of these movement patterns from our past. Interestingly in cultures like Bali where babies are not allowed to crawl they develop movements pattern problems when they mature: they cannot hop from one leg to the other.

Of course—no Balinese baby is allowed to touch the ground for the first ‘rice year’ (seven months), so they never have the opportunity to creep. Creeping (how you motivate when lying on your belly) is substantially different from crawling (how you get about on all fours) and involves—try it—that very shifting from hip to hip which is a precursor for hopping. Because they miss that stage, the Balinese—able dancers and sportsmen—are unable to organize a simple foot-to-foot hop.

According to "the World's Fittest Man" Erwan Le Corre quadrupedal movement is one of the 12 key movements of Movnat (Move Naturally). By the end of the lesson I was indeed feeling like I was moving like a lizard. It was fun as well as revealing as the lessons help me perceive how I move and how movements connects throughout my body as it works as a unit.

I just love the audio version of "Running with the Whole Body". I was ready to call it quits knowing that it was movement patterns, that I could not seem to fix, that was hindering my stride and this is what the program is all about. The lessons awaken an awareness of how we move and more importantly how I should be moving. My running is changing, slowly. Last week I could hardly move. Yesterday I went for a 7 mile run and then kept increasing what I was doing because it felt so good for a change. Eventually I hit 13 miles. I notice a definite change in how my body, hips, and shoulders move and find that more power and balance is coming from my torso and not just my feet and legs (like what I used to concentrate on). Hopefully things will keep improving and I will not have to give up the sport of running.

I find the the audio lessons, although not hard, leave me feeling refreshed, aware, loose, and moving in a new manner that I can't wait to try out when running. The funny things is I am doing them despite a rib injury; I got kneed by mistake on Wednesday by my daughter in my right lower rib. The muscle down there is sore when I lay down and it hurts to roll over in bed and get comfortable. I have had to limit some of the movement exercise and I hope that by Tuesday when I go to see a Feldenkrais practitioner that it won't be so sore anymore.


Anonymous said...


I saw the audio program as well, but I haven't purchased it yet. Your success with it may get me to make the purchase.

One Paleo tip: don't be afraid to eat more "good" fat or tubers. There's only so many calories you can get from lean protein and fruits/vegetables. I found I had to add more fat and some sweet potatoes to get enough calories.

Jim Hansen said...

So far I really like the audio. It is good if you have forgotten "how" to move. It is very awakening, as in helping you learn movement patterns from the "inside out". It is very unlike stretching or weight work which just targets individual muscles. I guess if you are a runner who has a good sense of movement patterns, it would not be as beneficial.
I am just learning to eat paleo: really trying to learn the how and whys of eating healthy for a change. I eat lots of fruits, nuts, veggies (not enough), salmon, fish, meat, ect. but have not been super strict (not much sweets or bread). I feel a lot better throughout the day when I get it right. I still have a lot to learn to make it work best for me.