Tag Archives: Walking

Awareness of walking

These two videos visually support learning points that I support my students to integrate through movement using guided micromovements in a particular way of exploration. I encourage my students now to watch both of these videos to imprint the visual stimulus for growing envisioning techniques with a focus on transitions of the body’s moving parts.

Why is this important?

Watch this video again, however this time, raise your gaze up towards the hip joints at the top outside of the legs. Notice the weight being dispersed equally side to side with no effort. The movement appears to be dance like in the flow of easy counterbalance motions.

If you continue to observe the video again you may begin to view how lite the legs are with each step. With each separate step the legs response in a similar way as the feet. Using the ability to shift weight this way with through the bone the also shifts forward and back, and side to side. This is why bones have rounded ends into rounded joints.

Remember that the individual leg bones shift weight differently, in any given moment, as a response to the pressure in the foot. For example, the standing leg that bears ones weight is locked at the ankle, knee and hip when the other leg bends at the ankle, knee and hip.

Mentoring micromovement patterns in community learning groups I have observed that one of the biggest culprits to mobility is the loss of this natural counterbalance. In an earlier post I write about the hidden influences in our environment that are silent systems of learning interrupting these natural movements. I believe it started with sitting for long periods of time having a locked focus of attention in one area of function only. I have discovered the outcome to sitting for long periods creates a gap in one’s brain of the natural movement patterns through the bones of ones pelvis, hips, upper and lower legs, knees, angles and feet.

You will see the differences in how these people walk in this second video. In this video they are mostly picking up their feet and not using the ground to push off like the person in the first video.

Begin watching this video with a focus on noticing how both people lift their feet up and hold them in a straight blank like way. This takes an extreme amount of muscle effort which becomes more difficult to continue as one ages.

On second viewing begin to notice their hips. Both people do not have any sway that demonstrates counterbalance through their legs, hips and pelvis. Both of them have one side where the hip seems to bounce hard in the socket of a locked pelvis.  Almost as though wearing an artificial leg. As a Feldenkrais® practitioner I observe a stumble like action.

Watch one more time and lift your  gaze upward to observe turned heads. Each person is looking at the other in a state of intent focus on mental processing. There is no evident counter balance through the upper body. What I see is a locked torso that begins at the base of their neck. It is a much different pattern of walking than in the first video.  

I would describe the first video as effortless and the second one as having tremendous effort.

In the first video the pattern of movement reflects what each toddler has learned in order to roll over, sit up, stand, walk and run. In the second video the pattern of movement reflects what happens through the silent learning patterns in institutional learning systems – sitting in a chair to focus on tasks and memorization. Both these learning systems reflect right and left brain activities. They are both relevant to a healthy and productive life, however there is no balance of both systems. The silent organic and inherent one each of us was born with was replaced by the non-organic one created by our ancestors.

Models of learning are around us starting at birth and continuing into old age.  One never stops learning from the influences surrounding us.  These boards are an example of a learning model that imprints rotations patterns of  movement for those who are having chunky movements and balance issues.   Using these boards at set times throughout the day can enhance integration of the movement pattern, especially if one cultivates awareness of  different shifts in weight.  This pattern of micromoving can reduce inflammation and pain, and increase circulation.  

Calming Fright, Flight, Fight reactions through movement techniques

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP

Mindfulness through Movement

Observing people’s posture in standing and walking for the past 10 years has been educational.  I have begun to notice subtle posture nuances that clearly indicates ones state of mind and their physical and emotional well-being.  The most common condition I am observing in people is a separation between what one thinks and a connection to physical movement.

Generally I notice ones focus of attention is on interpretation of what is happening versus actual experience.  For me this means having a fixed perspective, opinion or belief.  If a physical ailment surfaces there is a fixed belief to go and have someone fix it or use tools to make physical movement easier.  Tools like a cane, walker, scooter, special chair and bed.    What’s missing is an easier possibility!  This is the exploration of how to move differently.  I am not referring to practices such as yoga, therapy, stretching or exercising as the difference is that you are following a limited structured pattern.  I am referring to increasing awareness of feeling how you move in the process of moving.  This includes increasing your ability to focus your attention on how each bone  and joint movement can be sensed.

When mobility increases I notice that there is an increase in coping.  The mask of fear, anger, pain and anxiety is replaced with a peaceful and open appearance.

Recently I wrote about settling the fight, flight, fright experiences of the Hippocampus from the perspective of communication.  I have noticed that another more effective way to settle these reactions has been through the application of Feldenkrais® Movement.

Working with three ways to settle ones flight, fight and fright reactions I find the application of Feldenkrais Movements the quickest and most effective for shifting and integrating change.  It engages more immediate functional connection between ones physical, mental and emotional states of being.  Many times I have experienced someone in a series of 6 classes for balance where after the first or second class someone has given up their cane.  They describe that they are less fearful to stand and support themselves.

This year a trend has been the lack of  connection to feeling one’s legs.  I had to purposely show  someone that they dragged a leg behind them when there wasn’t any physical reason for this.  It turned out this leg had been broken years before and this person forgot how to use this leg.  This resulted in collapsing. When life became too difficult to enjoy they requested an operation, however there wasn’t anything to operate on!

Recently I encouraged someone to consciously shift weight purposely into one of their legs and their reaction was to say that this leg couldn’t support them.  I asked them how they had walked all these years and suggested that this leg must actually be supporting them.  We spent a few minutes practicing shifting weight from foot to foot and their fear was tangible.  A short week later the leg that was not trusted appeared stronger and I smile as there was no hesitation in using this leg.  The fright, flight and fight reactions were not visible!

What is exciting as a practitioner giving guidance to explore patterns of movement is that there it bypasses the stories in ones mind and focuses them on discovering their movement process.  It teaches them ways to feel the movement.     It increases present awareness (being in the moment).

To other ways for calming ones state of flight, fright and fight can be through increased understanding of your emotional and intellectual functions and your environment.

Learn more about workshops, classes and personal appointment opportunities:

Read more:

Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication,  Empathy,  Values Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000, Labyrinths of Victoria since 2012, #yyj Peace Week Grassroots Calendar Founder, Vice-Chair of World Children’s Summit on Peace & Nature in 2015

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Are you like me? Do you observe body postures in other’s? Check out these walking postures….

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP

Upper & Lower Rotation -locked Head

Upper & Lower Rotation – locked Head

Are you like me? Do you observe body postures in other’s? Even prior to being a movement specialist I focused my attention on people’s body language. I remember a cuz asking me why I was looking at a friend of hers as she was walking towards us. Only I was a teen and didn’t know the answer at that time, which as it turns out is how I take in information!! For me, what people say out loud sometimes and what their body story do not match up. Even at an early age I began listening to body postures, not words!

In this picture above this gal has a nice upper and lower rotation however her head is locked! You can see that her right leg is forward while her left should is rotated forward, however her head is locked in a forward facing position.  What does this mean?  Her movement is not efficient so she is using too much effort in her activity.  What can she do differently?  Unlock her head and let is swing slightly as she moves forward.  Why?  Well let me show you some outcomes of a locked head (securely placed in one position always).

Sitting Posture

Head falling forward – depression, pain & anger


Head falling forward – neck, shoulders, ribs, & shoulders frozen


Beautiful walking rotation posture enabling balance and ease in holding babies weight!

This posture is nice example of upper and lower rotation in walking. His head rotation is looking over his right leg to look at something on that side of him. However, for a more perfect alignment to support his babies weight, his head could be looking over his left leg.

Can you turn your shoulders left and right while turning your head in the opposite direction?

Learn more about your movement @ an upcoming workshop or class @ Monterey Centre – upcoming calendar. Movement focus events are on; Jaw, Balance, Walking, Breathing, Sitting and Self Awareness in Movement.

Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Jaw Release Program since 2007, Authored  Achieving your Goals  31 Day Program, Sleep Sweet Sleep, Kid’s Peace Bus Calendar of Values  Educational Program & InTouch with Your Values Self-Actualization Program.  Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000, Labyrinths of Victoria since 2012, #yyj Peace Week Grassroots Calendar Founder, Vice-Chair of World Children

Falling over in sitting and standing

I shared an article recently about an experience with someone in a Balance class who didn’t walk, stand or sit in an upright position.  I want to share now what motivated a change in her mental, emotional and physical behavior in her first two classes.

Our first class together was spent re-directing her focus from her storytelling to noticing how to stay upright in her seat to do the movement patterns being shared with her.

She didn’t show up for the second class yet did come back for the third. Between our third and fourth classes there was a significant difference.  She had been the first one to arrive at the third class.  This meant there was enough time to spend propping her up to stay in an upright position.  She was frozen solid through her shoulders, arms, neck, head and torso with one side of her rib cage being held so it was shorter than the other.  arm support To keep her upright props were placed under her arm on the side that was contracted (shorter side).  Blocks were put under her feet so she could feel them on the floor.

By the end of the lesson she became aware that she had stopped using her back muscle strength to hold herself upright even in sitting.  She had lost physical contact with engaging them!

After our class she went home and used the same propping technique to support herself in sitting.  This was obvious  as at the next class she was able to bring herself into an upright position in sitting and hold it.  She had no concept of this the week before.  As I place props under her arm I noticed her arms were more flexible and she was bracing herself less!

She was more happy and content in this class and I noticed she was listening more deeply and paying attention.  At the end of this class she exclaimed, “No one is showing us this or explaining how the body works.”

This is an extreme example of the meaning of Moshe’s quote:

Flexible Bodies, Flexible Minds

Moshe Feldenkrais

Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Value-Based Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000, Founder of Greater Victoria Peace & Intercultural Celebrations since 2010 & Greater Victoria Labyrinths since 2012, #yyj Peace Week Calendar Founder – 2014 & 2015

Posture collapse! Find out more about how fear, pain and movement go hand in hand in ultimate experiencing! Your life can change in a moment….

walker-1082410_960_720I saw a new student to our balance class walking in behind her walker.  She was bent completely over with arms outstretched in front of her, hands on the walker handles, head and eyes looking directly down towards the floor.  I was surprised and curious at how to teach the class and include her.

Sitting down on a chair was an effort for her with turning, twisting and letting go of the walker to sit down all the while talking and totally unaware that we had started the workshop. She began her story before coming through the doorway and didn’t stop for most of the class.

Her story, the one that gave away the secret of her current condition was possibly the first one she shared.  One we could all face in some way.  She had taken her elderly husband into  an overcrowd hospital where they left him in a bed in the hallway.  She tended to him herself and when trying to lift him she hurt her back and bent over in pain.  bend-1296747_960_720From the looks of her posture she never stood back up!  Did I forget to mention she is 4 foot 11 inches and a senior!

After many doctors visits with x-rays she heard there was nothing medically wrong.  No spine or brain damage and no strokes, etc.  In addition to her fear, she now experiences her husbands feelings of frustration at her condition.. She has fallen a few times and lost three teeth.

Some challenges we experienced together with her loss of connection to her own body:

  • The first challenge – stop talking long enough to experience the movement patterns and let  everyone benefit from the workshop
  • The second challenge – to support her sitting posture.    Not only was she falling over in standing, she was falling over in sitting.
  • The third challenge – remind her to stand up.
  • The fourth challenge – re-introduce her to her pelvis.
  • The fifth and sixth – to re-introduce her to her legs and feet.


Surprisingly she grew up a dancer and taught it up until that hospital visit you read about above. When she began to listen and follow our guided movement patterns she recognized them as movements she made and taught in her own classes.  Now in her frozen state she wasn’t making these movement patterns that were hers for seventy years.  Pain and fear had erased them from her posture and memory!.

Read more on what affected her the most and shifted her into paying more attention to learning what she could do verses seeking answers

Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Value-Based Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000, Founder of Greater Victoria Peace & Intercultural Celebrations since 2010 & Greater Victoria Labyrinths since 2012, #yyj Peace Week Calendar Founder – 2014 & 2015

Beautiful Learning Moments with a Blue Heron

Blue Heron

Blue Heron

Yesterday a blue heron was along the water’s edge as I was leading a walking group by.

As  we where walking a participant had been talking and so our focus was not on the surroundings.  A thought ran through my mind, “look for the blue heron,” and so I looked up.  There, almost alongside of us, was the blue heron fishing.

How many times do we have these thought messages go through our mind and we don’t pay attention to them?

I am happy I listened this time as we enjoyed seeing this blue heron hunt for fish with no fear of us being watchers!  A highlight of our day that could so easily have been missed! One that brought us out of the story that was being shared into what was immediately in our surroundings!

Our walking lesson prior to going out in nature to walk was about noticing our immediate surrounding and how it influences us.  Many of us are unconscious of how our immediate surrounds stimulate pre-verbal responses.  It is a function of our brain-body connection we aren’t even aware that it is a part of our operating system!  This moment was a metaphor of that teaching!

Beautiful learning moments with a blue heron.

New Bringing ‘Love’ Back Event: WALKABLE ART – Heart Shaped Labyrinth

540332_10201550768307073_1520331097_nWhere:  James Bay Community School Centre,  140 Oswego Street

When:  Saturday and Sunday, Oct 19 & 20

Main event hosted by:  Intuitive Arts Festival

Drop by the centre and find out how you can enjoy labyrinths in your personal journey of self discovering or healing and for how you can share this with children for learning and calming behavior!  Labyrinth will be out in the sun on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and on Sunday at noon!

For those who work with children:  Come by and put your name in for a chance to take away a finger labyrinth developed here in B.C.  I will be giving away one each day at the festival.  Created by William Godden of Vancouver, B.C.


On Saturday drop by and hear about a local initiative to build a children’s labyrinth for the forgotten children Peru – Catherine Harvey who is founding this amazing project has agreed to be in attendance Saturday.