Somanaut's Blog

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Stop Levitating

In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Nobel prize winning novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude,  he tells of a priest who levitates every time he drinks hot chocolate. The author said once that originally he had the priest levitating when he drank communion wine, but decided that would be too normal, so he changed the wine to hot chocolate.

Most of us levitate, just not so elegantly. We levitate when we pull up from the support of the earth, perhaps in search of elevated spirituality, and perhaps in search of relief from the pains of earthly existence. It might just look like tense shoulders, or a tight low back, but there is an element of levitation, of pulling away from the chance to rest solidly.

Our culture disdains the earth- we exalt heaven, we aspire to greater heights, we bury our garbage and we descend into hell. But the support of the earth is fundamental to our existence. We do call it “life on earth”.

Our comfort and function depend on the physical connection we have with the earth. Our effectiveness is largely controlled by how well we use that connection. When we lose our sense of ground, our sense of gravity holding us in contact with the earth, we suffer a dreadful anxiety. We can feel exhilaration in flight, but soon we crave the landing. Our home is on the ground, solidly touching the earth.

Try sitting with an intention to be solidly on your chair . This is easier on a hard seat. Find your sit bones and let them press down. Release any muscular tension in the area. The clearer this gets, the more likely you are to feel your spine come into alignment, and your head rise. It may help to allow your feet to rest fully on the floor.

We may tell someone to “sit up”, but that doesn’t work. Like yelling “RELAX!”- it is a useless command. Sit down, pelvis first, actively letting gravity take over, and allowing your bones to stack. Practice this and you will find you sit more easily, remaining more alert yet resting more completely than if you do the usual slouching.

Your back muscles will love the new habit, as they will no longer have to hold you up. Sitting right on your sit bones will stack your spine in a more efficient line, making it way less work for your muscles. Your face will naturally point forward, which means you will look straight ahead without having to tense your neck. You will see better, your shoulders will be happier, and you will feel better when you get up.

This picture shows that you don’t need muscle to sit well. You just need to put your sit bones on the seat, and the rest is just stacking the bones up. Once they are stacked, they can rest.


That is just one example of the benefits of not levitating. We also levitate when we walk, particularly in shoes (which I will discuss in a separate post). Do you allow your whole foot to touch the ground? “Walk as if you are massaging the earth,” Thich Nhat Han. Try it. What does it feel like to use you foot fully and intentionally to touch the earth? H ow does that change the way you organize the rest of yourself?

Lifting constantly against gravity is hard work. Make your life easier. Notice where you are levitating. See if you can let go and let the pull of the earth support you.

One more from Thich Nhat Han, “Fear, separation, hate and anger come from the wrong view that you and the Earth are two separate entities, the Earth is only the environment.” Releasing our habits of levitation will reduce our unhappiness.



April 25, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Beautifully said! I am preparing a workshop about good posture. I will quote you. Your fellow Feldenkrais colleague from Maryland,
    Jutta Brettschneider

    Comment by Jutta Brettschneider | April 29, 2016 | Reply

  2. Hi Dan – thanks for your writing. I appreciate the links you make between movement, mood, attitude, beliefs. They inspire me to make new connections in my teaching 🙂

    Comment by Valerie | July 14, 2016 | Reply

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