It’s only weeks before the ski areas begin making snow, and the chairlifts start running. Here is a lesson that will help your skiing. Most people ski with their focus on their outside leg and foot. It’s important to have weight over the outside ski, but it is the mark of a really good skier who uses both legs to steer, edge, and control the skis. This is a NeuroMovement lesson based on the work of Moshe Feldenkrais and adapted by Anat Baniel, that can help integrate the movement of your inside leg and foot with the movement of your whole body.
This is a movement lesson intended to help you feel the way you move and learn from the movements. Do the movements as gently and with as little effort as you can. Performance is less important than feeling what you’re doing.
Begin the lesson by lying on your back on a soft, carpeted floor or on a mat. Feel the contact of your head, shoulders, arms, back, pelvis, legs, and heels on the floor.
Roll onto your side, either side will do. Place a pillow under your head to support it. Bend your legs so they are at a 90-degree angle, then extend the leg on top downward to be an extension of your spine. This is the way you will do each section of the lesson. Between each section, roll onto your back and notice if your contact with the floor changes.
Lift the leg on top sideways toward the ceiling. Notice what parts of your body are involved in lifting your leg. Is it easy, hard? Take the hand on the side on top and reach over the top of your head to take the underside temple. Leaving your leg on the floor, lift your head with the help of your hand. Notice what parts of your body are moving with this movement. Lift both your head and your leg at the same time. Is this movement easier than lifting just your head or your leg? Rest on your back.
Roll back to your side. This time lift your leg and swing it forward so that your leg moves forward of your body. As you do this draw a circle in the air so that you toes move forward and then toward the ceiling. What is happening to your pelvis? Does it move in the opposite direction from your leg and foot? Rest on your back.
Roll back to your side. Lift your leg and take it behind you. As you do this turn it so your toes point toward the floor. Notice what happens to your pelvis as you take your leg back. Does your pelvis move forward to counterbalance your leg? Rest on your back.
Roll to your side. This time take your temple from above your head with your hand. Lift your leg and swing it forward pointing your toes toward the ceiling and, with the help of your hand, lift your head and look at your toes. Can you feel your whole body be part of this movement? Now take your leg backward and look over your shoulder at your heel as it moves toward the ceiling. Notice what your pelvis is doing. Swing your leg forward and back as you lift your head and look at your toes in front of you and your heel behind you. Rest.
Roll to your side. Simply lift your leg to the side. Is your whole body involved in this movement? Take your temple with your hand and lift and lower your head. Has this changed? Lift both your head and your leg.
To take this into skiing: while you make a turn, your inside foot follows an arc on the snow moving from slightly behind you to in front of you, your pelvis stays level, and your shoulders move in a way that they stay still. This lesson gives you the feeling and the information to help you feel the similar movement when you’re skiing. Have a great early season.
David Singleton, ABM, teaches NeuroMovement classes weekly in Dillon and Breckenridge and is available for private Functional Synthesis lessons by appointment. He works with children with special needs, older adults, and high performers. He is the editor of Listen, Share, and Be Kind, and is an alpine and Telemark instructor and trainer at Arapahoe Basin. (970) 389-6480, firstname.lastname@example.org.