Healthy Beginnings

Use the Feldenkrais Method as your path to continuing transformation in 2018

Lying down flat on the floor allows you to get a sense of gravity through your skeleton.

When I got my first copy of Photoshop years ago, I was so excited, dreaming of new-found graphic mastery; but my excitement quickly nose-dived because the program was so extremely complicated.

I couldn’t finesse it intuitively; the “help” was no help. Photoshop might be a great program, but I could hardly use it. I felt terribly disheartened.

This happens in life too. We suddenly notice things aren’t turning out as we expected and we don’t know why; we don’t know how to fix or change what has gone wrong. We lose contact with our inspiration, our potential, our dreams. We feel disconnected and defeated.

There is a physical impact too. We feel “off.” We sit too much. We develop aches and pains, digestive issues, headaches. This leads to anxiety, tension and more complaints, and more bodily discomfort, lack of strength and lack of balance. We have accidents.

We may feel instinctively that the answer lies within our bodies, but we aren’t sure how to move forward. We start walking more or go to the gym or we try yoga. We might hurt ourselves doing these things; we start meditating. We make gains and losses, but there’s no sustained feeling inside of support, safety or capacity.

So let’s return to the computer/software analogy. We each possess an extremely powerful computing device of vast but unknown capacity. The power to compute flows through our bodies to our brains and back, but we don’t feel it and barely know how it works.

We’re on autopilot so much of the time that we don’t recognize our habits and compulsions or know how to move past them. We’ve lost touch with our human possibilities. We’ve set “our bar” too low, or we’ve set “our bar” too high, using other people’s standards. We have no sense of our real potential.

Yet, inside we feel a need to wake up, to transform, and connect more vitally to life. We are told that being present in our body means we’re more present in the moment, but how do we use this practically?

It’s exactly here that the Feldenkrais Method offers such powerful guidance. By learning intentionally to connect our brain with our body, by attending actively to sensation and movement, we recover our sense of potency and unlock our possibilities again. Here’s how to start:

 

Using the Feldenkrais Method to ground and focus our brain and body,

  • We place our attention skeletally rather than muscularly; we feel the support, structure and shape of our bones in movement and when we are quiet.
  • We recover a sense of playfulness and presence, feeling ourselves naturally, with less inhibition, as we did as children.
  • Observing our movement habits and patterns, we discover how we use our bodies ­— how we sit, stand, walk, open doors, sleep, brush our teeth, eat. We learn that a familiar movement or posture is not necessarily comfortable nor our best option.
  • Noticing when our pain and tension decrease, and relaxation and comfort increase, we begin to make better movement choices.

Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Here is the next step, a body scan. To begin, do the following in a quiet, comfortable room where you can be alone for 10 minutes or more:

  1. Lie on the floor on a rug or mat or VERY firm bed; sense the downward pressure of gravity through your skeleton.
  2. Feel the shape of your body pressing into the ground; in turn, the floor transmits to your brain the weight of your head, shoulders, pelvis.
  3. Sense the 5 lines of your body — your spine, each of your arms and legs, one at a time.
  4. Notice the whole right side of your body on the floor compared to the left; then the shape of your shoulder blades, ribs, hips, legs and arms, on the right, and the left.
  5. Feel the sense of support and strength within your body, as your brain-map updates itself with your attention.
  6. As you breathe, feel where your skeleton moves; sense the uncountable tiny movements of life and vitality flowing through you as you rest lying on the floor.
  7. Finally, get up slowly and mindfully. Stand quietly and feel yourself in 3 dimensions, then return back to sensing your feet on the ground as you walk, feeling the top of your head as you pass through the doorway. Feel what is different.

Learning to reconnect your body and brain using Feldenkrais can begin a deeply personal, lifelong transformation — of yourself, your attitudes, your energy and relationships. A new you is possible in every moment.

The magic of this reconnection will appear in ways you can’t even imagine … yet the experience is reproducible and applicable to everything you do. More about Feldenkrais to follow!

Carole Bucher, BA, is a Guild-Certified Feldenkrais practitioner/teacher and owner of Reno Feldenkrais Integrative Movement. Visit renofeldenkrais.blogspot.com to learn more.