Feldenkrais And Barefoot Running
Today I met barefoot Ted and spoke with him about barefoot running. He explained to me that he was working on a new line of minimalist running shoes called Luna Sandals. They will be made using very durable and environmentally friendly soles manufactured by Vibram. He wants the soles to be durable so as to avoid having to change the sandals often and thus creating unnecessary waste.
He also spoke about his running style. He explained to me that he looks for a place in himself where he feels that he is not straining himself in the least. A place he called “the zone.” When he gets into the zone he can run a hundred miles and feel fine afterwards.
An interesting point he made was the use of animals as an example. Birds can fly hundreds of miles and not hurt themselves, wolves can run also very large distances. They are running and moving as they were built to move and so do not hurt themselves.
This is exactly what the Feldenkrais method aims to do. It aims at eliminating all the redundant movements we make that slow us down and make us strain. We generate a lot of “parasitic” movements where we push and pull at them same time, in effect fighting with ourselves through years of bad movement habits.
Becoming aware of this is what an Awareness Through Movement class aims to do. It helps you see where you are using too much effort and where you stop yourself and “hold” yourself unnecessarily and thus your movements become more efficient and fluid. The Feldenkrais method can definitely be used to increase the flexibility of ones feet and the efficiency of ones movements to help with barefoot running.
Barefoot Ted discovered this by experimenting on himself and listening to himself so he did not have to look outside for answers. But we all cannot do that so it is good to get someone who is qualified to teach you efficient movement. This you can learn by attending an Awareness Through Movement Class given by a Feldenkrais practitioner near you.
If you do not have a Feldenkrais practitioner near you, you can try some free lessons that are available online on MP3. Remember to do the lessons in loose clothing and to make very small unforced movements and only move in a pain free range. Never move to the point where you feel discomfort or pain. Here is the link to the Free Awareness Through Movement Lessons.