The famous book lesson

Okay, so I’m the last Feldenkrais blogger out there who has figured out how to put a YouTube video in their site. This is Lea Kaufman, and is it possible that she’s doing this in Colima, during the second training program? (I was in the first Colima program.)

Pelvis and Neck

When I played during the week with the first rolling to sit ATM we did recently, I spent some time on a particular moment in the movement that’s always felt stuck for me. And I uncovered something about how I could “unstick” that moment in the movement by varying what I was doing with my pelvis (and therefore my whole spine).

So this recording is a demonstration of how you can take one element of a lesson that piques your interest and turn it into a whole process to discover something new. This discovery also will relate to the 2nd rolling lesson we’ll do.

Class in Halifax was small this week and very personalized–there’s more background conversation that you might only half-catch, but that’s fine; just listen for the instructions as usual.

There’s also a spell in the middle of the lesson on the “shoulders” that was not part of my plan–it just arose out of working with the student there. You might or might not be able to imagine or experiment with this idea of “a movement of the shoulders” that was parasitic to rolling the pelvis, but I’ve left it in the tape as it introduces important ideas about “parasitic movements” and how you can work with them. If you aren’t doing anything “parasitic” with your shoulders, maybe you are with your back or your jaw. Then you can take your own “parasitic movement” through the process you hear us go through on the recording, a process of beginning to break the hold of habit and introduce options.

(It was a very windy morning; that’s not traffic but the trees you hear, and hear us commenting on!)

Flexors, aka folding

Feldenkrais and his first assistants often taught a lesson exploring flexion as a first lesson in a series. I myself rarely do that! Partly because the movement challenges me at all my weakest points; partly because these lessons are the most likely lessons to remind people of doing a workout. So no matter how many times you say “do less; feel more,” people work hard. I gather from transcripts of Feldenkrais teachers three decades ago that it was the same story then.

I attempted to up the volume on the sound this week; let me know if this helps. It seems to have made the file size larger, even though the lesson is shorter, so I apologize to those of you with dialup connections.

Typical to the Feldenkrais Method, even though I just told you all about how the general body pattern of flexion (anxiety) is the cause of all sorts of ills of modern society and the human condition, this lesson refines and clarifies our ability to do this thing (that we already do so much of) well. In this way Feldenkrais aimed to be a polite conversational partner: let us talk first about what already preoccupies you. After we have done that for a while, we can talk about something new.

Capturing a moment

There is some discussion of non-human images! Can a stuffed monkey do Feldenkrais?

I like the way that the angle of the monkey’s head suggests a curiosity about something –just over her shoulder? And the perspective of the photo, right down on her level, makes that expression somewhat infectious for me. I want to know too.

What's this cat thinking?On an Amherst tape Moshe plays with his wooden doll (Year 2, Tape 33, AM #1). He gets a remarkable expressiveness out of it. The attitude of the whole body in the simple sense of its configuration and balance in gravity already says so much. We think it’s the details of facial expression that tell us about a person’s mental state. Not true!

Now the cat has joined the monkey, and we all know the line about cats and curiosity. But does that communicate subconsciously a feeling that what we do is dangerous?

This cat’s just about to do a very popular “Feldenkrais” move, i.e. rolling over. (How did this guy get his name attached to so many primitive human patterns?)

Cat and monkeyNow this is the luxurious lengthening stretch we all know so well. Have we still got the curiosity?

The monkey hasn’t moved.