Walking and Free Energy

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Human bodies have many unique features. Posturally, following Feldenkrais, human bodies may be seen as comprising three inverted pyramids.



Firstly, the head balancing on the cervical vertebrae, Secondly the torso balancing on the lumbar vertebrae and the hips balancing on the feet. When a person is aligned through these inverted pyramids with his spine with natural curvature, the body’s centre of gravity is at its highest, depicted as been approximately at the centre of the body behind the brown spot in the photo below. Notice that all of the body’s weight above the ankle is well forward of the left foot in contact with the ground. This means that the force of gravity is being used to move the body forward. The integrated flow of the moving has the body moving forward in alignment, not down into collapse.


As the walker’s right foot comes in contact with the ground the left heal fully rises and the left knee is aligned so that maximum thrust is distributed across all toes (the strong foot). The body’s forward momentum brings the hips over and then way forward of the right foot on the ground and again gravity brings the body forward on the next stride extension.



Now endeavour to see this in action in the moving figure.




Notice there is no collapsing forward of the middle pyramid. The two upper pyramids remain balanced and aligned. This mode of walking is using up very little body energy. The body is maximally tapping into the free energy of gravity.

We suggest that you experience this mode of walking with awareness of your awareness of moving.

Extend your left foot forward and experience aligning your left knee a little to the right and do a slow lean forward over your left foot. Notice how the energy only drives through the left big toe and the left foot seems weak.

Extend your left foot forward again and this time experience aligning your left knee a little to the left and do a slow lean forward over your left foot.  Notice how the energy drives only through the smaller toes of the left foot and that foot feels even weaker.

Now move back again and align your left knee in the centre and experience the strong left foot with the drive going through all of your toes of your left foot.

Now again with awareness of awareness begin walking experiencing driving off strong feet as your upper body moves in front of the foot on the ground and discover how you may be maximally relaxed in this fluid moving with gravity doing almost all of the work.

One way is to take part of your awareness to the foot on the ground and another part to your pelvis moving forward of your foot on the ground.

Exploring this form of walking in groups may enhance learning. It is possible to be extending a lot of energy out in front of you when doing this form of walking. Notice this in a group context. Have half the group 15 or 20 paces away while the remainder are seated. Then have the group all walk to and through the seated group. Then walk from behind and through the seated group to return to being 15 to 20 paces away. The seated group can give feedback about the experience. Typically, it feels rather daunting, with relief when they are walking away. Then have the walking group still use the same gravity based walking, moving a little slower with less energy extending out in front, and walk through and return to being 15 to 20 paces away. Again get feedback. Typically, the seated people sense an extraordinary group of friendly people arriving with some sense of loss on their departing.

As hinted, this is a powerful mode of being and moving. We suggest you explore using it with respect to yourself and others.


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