top of page

S3NSE: Equal And Opposite

“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”

~ Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion

There are examples of Newton’s Third Law of Motion all around us.  For every night there is a day.  The treads of a tire push backwards to move a car forward.  Computer programmers use 1’s and 0’s to make digital content.  

Equal and opposite is also very important in how humans produce movement, and use their environment.  And that is why it is our S3NSE theme for May.

Look at your hand as you make a fist.  Notice that when the digits of your finger bones curl downward, your knuckles protrude upward.  Turn to look to your right.  Does one ear move forward as the other goes backward?  With joints between the skeletal bones, we are able to utilize Newton’s Third Law for smooth efficient movement.

The muscular system also utilizes equal and opposite to move bones.  When doing a dumbbell curl, the biceps shorten to lift the weight.  While the biceps shorten, the opposing triceps muscles lengthen.  To lower the weight, the triceps shorten as the biceps lengthen.  This synergistic cooperation of opposing muscle groups creates more efficient and potent actions.

Humans are bilateral creatures, that is, we have two sides.  Often, one side functions much better than the other.  We can use the equal and opposite principle to help improve our actions.  Do I swing one arm more than the other while walking?  What if I gently make my arm swings equal and opposite?  Would that improve my walking?  What other ways could equal and opposite be helpful?   

One common question asked during Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® lessons is “What parts of you move away from the ground and what parts of you move towards the ground?”  This helps us monitor our relationship with our environment. During the classic 6 to 12 lesson, while lying on my back, I tilt my pelvis backwards.  I notice my lower back moving towards the floor as my tailbone goes away from the floor.  I am experiencing Newton’s Third Law in action.  This refines my self-image of both my movements and how I interact with my environment..  

Physics is much more than mathematical equations.  In fact, the Feldenkrais® classes at S3NSE make it more like child’s play.    Join us here at


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page