Movement with Attention


the tightrope walker

“If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want”- Moshe Feldenkrais

Pretty simple. Pretty profound- on a lot of levels – but let’s stick to movement for now. A first and key step to improving how you move is to begin to pay attention to the details, to be more conscious of your body’s movements. By the time we reach adulthood a lot of our movement is habitual. Habits are important. Imagine having to attend to every detail of every action every day. We would not get much done and probably go nutty in the process.

However habits have their downside. For a variety of reasons- over time we can develop less than optimal habits of movement and posture that lead not only to aches and pains, but also to subpar performance. Paying very close attention to how we are actually sitting, standing and moving is the first step to changing those habits. The emphasis here is on noticing what you are doing as opposed to jumping in right away and “fixing”.

Here are a few “practices” for you to work with.

Next time you are out walking pay really close attention.

  • How are you feet contacting the ground? Is it the same for both feet? Do you sense the ground to be even or uneven? You can try different shoes. How does that change the experience? Does the ground you see match what you feel?

It is important to remember that you are just noticing and not trying to change anything.

  • Now bring your attention to your arms. Are they still or swinging? If they are swinging- are both of them swinging in the same way? From where is the swinging initiated- the shoulder joint? Or is there something happening in your upper back that causes your arms to swing? You have to pay very close attention to sense this one

Again- just notice, don’t try to change anything.

Pick another physical activity of your choice. See how many details you can sense as you do that thing.

As you increase your skill at paying attention to how you move you will be progressing down the path to moving well.

P.S. At this point posts are building on each other- so it is a good idea to go back to the beginning.

Thank you.





  1. Thought-provoking and well-written. Bravo, Marsha!

  2. Thank you Joan- Marsha

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