Floor as a Tool for Learning and Teaching

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One of (many)my favorite teaching "tools" for my clients: The floor
I often invite my clients to lie on the floor or my Feldenkrais table during a session to give them a chance to sense and observe how they contact and dont contact the floor and how their contact with the floor changes during a session.

Here are a few reasons why I like having people lie on the floor during a session:

1. In standing we carry our habitual muscular tone and effort, which makes it difficult for the nervous system to inhibit the habitual patterns and allow new movement patterns to emerge.

2. Standing increases center of gravity. As center of gravity increases, the fear of falling increases, which increases habitual muscular tone. This is particularly obvious for people who have poor balance and have a high risk fall. As they maintain habitual patterns in an effort to prevent falls, their balance becomes even more compromised because habitual muscular tone decreases freedom of movement and it becomes harder to counter-balance. Thus, lying on the floor reduces fear of falling (you are already on the ground!) and you can adapt new patterns more easily.

3. The floor acts as a feedback device that provides us proprioceptive input and enhance kinesthetic awareness. As you lie on the floor, you can notice what body parts have more weight and what parts dont and while you move, you can notice where you initiate movement and how you sequence your movement by "listening" to the floor, which I call "kinesthetic listening." Developing this skill is very important to fine-tune your body awareness and motor performance.

4. Accessible and Inexpensive (Free)! I am a big fan of no fancy, low tech equipments, and the floor is the king of them!