Discomfort, Grief and COVID

Feeling fatigued? Loss of motivation? Anxiety? Maybe what you are feeling is Anticipatory Grief. A recent article in Harvard Business Review really hits it on the head (click here
They state, “There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance. This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.”

The article outlines the stages of grief and has suggestions for how we can handle them. For example, “Our goal is not to ignore those images or to try to make them go away — your mind won’t let you do that and it can be painful to try and force it. The goal is to find balance in the things you’re thinking.” — Balance here is not the kind of balance of precarious balance - standing on tippy toes at a cliff edge — just the opposite — instead finding internal support, finding our skeleton, and how it supports us, and through that, our balance returns. A good way to find balance is to take a Feldenkrais class.

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Applications in so many ways

General

Frequently Asked Questions What is the Method... Who benefits? What happens in a session? What is ATM? What is an FI session? How are practitioners trained? Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?

Short Biography of Dr. Feldenkrais. For more in-depth information about the life of Dr. Feldenkrais, see: A Life in Movement The biography of Moshe Feldenkrais by Mark Reese, distributed by Feldenkrais Resources (click to go to their website)

Some FELDENKRAIS Basics People often ask us, 'How does it work?', 'What makes Feldenkrais unique?'. As an experiential and exploratory process, it is best to get to know Feldenkrais for yourself. In this article, Cliff Smyth explores some of the ideas that underlie the Method.

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Videos

The following 10-minute video outlines some of the benefits of the FELDENKRAIS Method. In this video students of the method describe how it has enriched and changed their lives. (If you cannot see the video, click here)

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THE SELF-IMAGE AND REALITY

The Preface to Awareness Through Movement has, as its first sentence, " We act in accordance with our self-image." The next sentence clarifies this, "This self-image—which, in turn, governs our every act—is conditioned in varying degree by three factors: heritage, education, and self-education."

Dr. Feldenkrais goes on to state that "Of the three active factors in the establishment of our self-image, self-education alone is to some extent in our own hands."

Dr. Feldenkrais begins the first chapter with the statement, "Each one of us speaks, moves, thinks, and feels in a different way, each according to the image of himself that he has built up over the years."

Dr. Feldenkrais continues, "In order to change our mode of action we must change the image of ourselves that we carry within us. What is involved here, of course, is a change in the dynamics of our reactions, and not the mere replacing of one action by another. Such a change involves not only a change in our self-image, but a change in the nature of our motivations, and the mobilization of all the parts of the body concerned."

We act in accordance with our self-image.

Each one of us speaks, moves, thinks, and feels in a different way, each according to the image of himself

What is involved here, of course, is a change in the dynamics of our reactions, and not the mere replacing of one action by another.

Dr. Feldenkrais occasionally referred to "body image" as well. In fact, he used the terms rather interchangeably; in the book, Awareness Through Movement, he refers to changes in the body image following specific movements.

 

The conventional view of self-image is similar to what is written in Wikipedia:

Self-image is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change, that depicts not only details that are potentially available to objective investigation by others (height, weight, hair color, etc.), but also items that have been learned by persons about themselves, either from personal experiences or by internalizing the judgments of others.

In conventional usage (again using Wikipedia), body image is

... a person's perception of the aesthetics or sexual attractiveness of their own body. It involves how a person sees themselves, compared to the standards that have been set by society.

There are two other views of "body image". The Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst Paul Schilder proposed body image as a way to understand a patient's cognitive perception of their own body [see: body Image (medicine)].  Another by early neurologist Sir Henry Head which is called body schema. Dr. Feldenkrais' view is more compatible with this view.

"Education makes each of us a member of some definite human society and seeks to make us as like every other member of that society as possible.

Society dictates our mode of dress, and thereby makes our appearance similar to others.

By giving us language, it makes us express ourselves in the same ways as others.

It instills a pattern of behaviour and values in us and sees to it that our self-education shall also operate so as to make us wish to become like everyone else."

(preface, pg 5) 

One might surmise from the above that the self-image is fixed, as is the view of the writers of the wikipedia article on self-image. side

Our self-images is never static. "It changes from action to action but these changes gradually become habits; that is, the actions take on a fixed, unchanging character."

The self-image is developed from infancy. As the infant interacts with its environment actions begin to take consistent form (of course movements of the limbs, the eyes, the mouth, tongue but also emotional actions) and later become habits. Every new habit changes the previous structure of habits

Our self-image is never static

every new function changes the image

 

The potential for each individual is less than that person's self-image. Far less. For example, Ziad Fazah can speak 59 languages. If that represents the capacity for a human being,  then those of us who speak only a single language are operating at 2/58 or 1.7% of our capacity!

We tend to stop learning. Sometimes it is when we have mastered sufficient skills to attain our immediate objective. But there are many other factors that lead to a person dropping their plan. Much of the drama and pathos in literature (stories, plays movies) is from the social and internalized barriers to a person moving to their potential.

Dr. Feldenkrais explicates the many ways that a child, adolescent or adult decides to limit themselves in the first chapter.

Our self-image is smaller than our potential capacity

The average self-image occupies only about 5% of its potential

 

A complete self-image involves "full awareness of all the joints in the skeletal structure as well as of the entire surface of the body." 

 A complete self-image is a rare and ideal state

Our body image is in constant change, as we come to "realize that the the legs, for instance, will appear to change in length, thickness and other aspects from moment to moment."

Through mental exercises done lying on the floor such as scanning the body, or measuring distances between parts (such as left ear and left shoulder, in contrast to right ear and right shoulder, or between left ear and left finger, or left ear and left toes...) one interrupts the habitual patterns, and there is the possibility that new functions can emerge. 

The body image is changeable

 

 

 

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Discoveries by Fitness Trainers

7 October, 2015

Fitness Trainers have discovered Feldenkrais-like movements.  Steve Maxwell (www.maxwellsc.com) has been promoting a series of movement lessons to help his clients achieve better fitness.

From my perspective with the finesse of the myriad of lessons in the Feldenkrais Method, the activities are very familiar, and which I teach regularly. His approach seems very coarse, without of the overall finesse of ATM lessons, and so even the best demonstration models have no fluidity. He apparently has no concept of ease or even elegance. Nevertheless, these give the reader an idea of the benefits of these kinds of moving.

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Musicians Benefit with the Feldenkrais Method

Following are some articles and videos about how the Feldenkrais Method has been used to help musicians.  For example, there is the story of Sara, who inspired actors and audiences with her extraordinary musicianship. Sarah’s demanding life-style was not helped by the pain that kept recurring in her left arm. At the beginning of her 4th session (nearly 10 months after the 1st) Sarah reported a sense of amazing liberation from her previously hampering condition.

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Parkinsons Disease and Feldenkrais

Many people with  Parkinson's Disease are finding that the Feldenkrais Method can be a useful way to find new ways to regain movement.

Ernie Adams wrote, "For a person with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), the natural rhythm and flow of perception, feeling, and movement is disrupted. There is a disconnection between the intention to move and the ability to start or complete an action. Routine automatic behaviors, such as those involved in walking, speaking, breathing, swallowing, and facial expression, become difficult or unavailable." 

He continues, "Many people with PD are frustrated with the typical generic prescriptions..."

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Feldenkrais and the Brain

Roger RussellOur human brain is incredibly complex. Intricately networked, and intertwined with our dexterous bodies, our brains coordinate our moving, sensing, feeling and learning. Out of a lifetime of experience laid down in the dynamic networks of our nervous system our sense of who we are and who we can become emerges.

When fashioning his unique movement lessons Moshé Feldenkrais recognized that our sense of ourselves – our self-image – is built on the foundation of our experience of moving.

During the evening presentation at the 2014 FGNA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, Roger Russell explored how awareness of our movement can bring about surprisingly pleasant discoveries about how we can move with proficiency and grace. The intriguing experience of this clever way to extend our movement repertoire raises a question:“How do Feldenkrais lessons work?”

Click to read more.

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The Feldenkrais Method: Healing

Many people find the following video compelling and reflecting their experience with the Feldenkrais Method.

The video was produced by Brush Fire Films and was broadcast as part of a series on healing in 2007 called "The Genesis of Healing". This video does not appear as part of their collection.

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Training

Are you interested in a new Career?

A career in which you can 

  • help people make profound changes in their lives
  • work with the newest ideas in brain research
  •  meet world-class thinkers
  • continue to learn and develop yourself
  • follow your unavowed dreams

Consider the FELDENKRAIS PROFESSIONAL TRAINING.

The training is an extraordinary opportunity for both personal and professional development. In the process, you will acquire the knowledge of how movement and function are formed and organized, all within an organic learning model. You will become aware of your own movement, as well as become acute observers of movement in others.

Learn how to teach others to enlarge their awareness and  movement skills.

For more information, visit the website of the FELDENKRAIS Guild of North America: http://www.feldenkrais.com/classes/become_a_practitioner/

 

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Resources

A recommended Audio Tape for beginners, which has several short, very practical lessons: Introduction to the Feldenkrais Method can be ordered from FELDENKRAIS Resources (800) 765-1907. (ask for Volume I Item #1999 $29 USD Volume II Item #2000 $29 USD)

On-line Sample Lessons

Lavinia's Lesson of the Month. Each month Lavinia Plonka explores a delightful new lesson in improving the quality of life. See: Lavinia's Downloads 

Books

Awareness Heals by Steven Shafarman. Addison-Wesley publishing. $18.95. ISBN: 0-201-69469-7. Copies are available at major bookstores in Calgary (Chapters/Indigo)

The Busy Person's Guide to Easier Movement by Frank Wildman, PhD ISBN 1-889618-75-6 Softcover, 188 pages $14.95 ($4.50 s/h) USD Available from the Movement Studies Institute, (800) 342-3424.

Mindful Spontaneity, by Ruthy Alon. $24.95 USD Available from the Feldenkrais Guild (800) 775-2118.

Relaxercize by and David Zemach-Bersin and Mark Reese $23.00 USD. Available from the Feldenkrais Guild (800) 775-2118.

Audio programs for the beginner (From: FELDENKRAIS RESOURCES: (800) 765-1907)

Introduction to the Feldenkrais Method by Elizabeth Beringer and David Zemach-Bersin. (Volume I Item #1999 $29 USD Volume II Item #2000 $29 USD)


Embodied Learning: Focus on Knees and Ankles: Series 1 (by Elizabeth Beringer) Item #2001 $40 USD

The Grammar Of Spontaneity: Volume I (by Ruthy Alon) Item #1045 $55 USD

Video Tapes

ATM Video Series I (1-4) by Stephen Rosenholtz PhD Four Video tapes series available, each with four lessons per tape. $39.95 USD Available from the Feldenkrais Guild (800) 775-2118.

Websites

Learning for Health. http://learningforhealth.com

Feldenkrais Center for Movement Education. http://www.feldenkraissf.com/

Institute for the Study of Somatic Education: www.feldnet.com

Lavinia Plonka: http://www.laviniaplonka.com

The FELDENKRAIS GUILD of North America: www.feldenkrais.com

Movement Studies Institute: www.movementstudies.com

Feldenkrais Resources: www.feldenkrais-resources.com

Uncommon Sensing: www.uncommonsensing.com

The International FELDENKRAIS Federation: www.feldenkrais-method.org


 

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Some Interesting Articles Available Online (2015)

25 May, 2015- Found on the Web this week:
 
About the Feldenkrais Method. Susan HillierAssociate Professor: Neuroscience and Rehabilitation at University of South Australia, writes, "

The Feldenkrais Method is a way of exploring movement, posture and breathing through hands-on touch, used by dancers, musicians, athletes, actors and people living with and rehabilitating from a range of illnesses and injuries. Terms integral to the method such as awareness and integration are not easy concepts. Click to read more.


Running, walking ideas with Jae Gruenke, The Balanced Runner™ US, writes,
"Things are starting to come full circle. When I started working with runners in 2002, the dominant belief about running form was still old school: everybody has their own natural form they were born with, and you shouldn't try to change it or you might get hurt. Danny Dreyer of ChiRunning and Nicholas Romanov of Pose Technique were making some headway in changing this but there was a long way to go. 
Then came the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and within a couple of years the dominant belief reversed completely. Improving your running form became the most important thing you could do to prevent injury and run your best. After a handful of years, though, it became clear that a lot of people were getting hurt trying to force themselves to run differently (mostly working on their own rather than using a program like Chi or Pose or coming to see me). And furthermore the research into the relationship between different running styles (well, different footstrikes and footwear at least) and injury continued and yielded more complex results. 
And now, as shoe designs swing back to more cushioning, thinking about running form is heading back towards the "stick with what you're born with" view, with the coining of the new phrase "signature stride" and ever more popular recommendation from health and fitness professionals that you stick with what you're doing, it may be good after all.
I have a special take on this as a Feldenkrais practitioner who believes there is a right way to run! click to read more.
 

 
 May 3.
I received a free recording this past week from Alan Questel, a highly acclaimed Feldenkrais Practitioner who has produced a number of CD series. The recording is from his Balance CD set and is very interesting. I uploaded the recording onto the class site. I encourage you to subscribe to his newsletter - each month you get a free recording (http://www.alanquestel.com)
 

Try an interesting variation on learning how to find freedom in the neck by Feldenkrais Practitioner, Oli Wiles. Enjoy!https://youtu.be/R_4h_QQe5ds
 
Another Video this week, by my friend David Sullivan, in New Zealand.
He calls this, "Sit Better in 5 Minutes". https://youtu.be/UtCnFWtWxyM
 
Have you checked out my FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/somaticjourneys -- lots of videos and interesting hints.
 
April 28.
Some great  online articles this week:
 
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus" - this quote by Mark Twain is the jumping-off point for Julie France's musings on Give Yourself Options. (see: http://howtodoanythingbetter.today/23-give-yourself-options/)

 
A simple way to understand Neuroplasticityhttps://youtu.be/ELpfYCZa87g (also on my Facebook Page)
 
Feldenkrais Moves Me | Laurie & Migraine Pain Buffy Owens continues to explore creative ways to present visually what the speaker is saying. In this short video, Laurie Johnson talks about her experience with how her migraines reduce when she does the Feldenkrais Method. Thanks, Buffy! https://youtu.be/hD-1OIfd3Kw
 
Video of people exploring a movement. It is fascinating to see how each, starting from a same directions, finds her own interpretation according to her needs. When we are learning,
 there is no "right" and "wrong". While the speaker is Italian, movement is universal.https://www.facebook.com/somaticjourneys
 
My brilliant and creative colleague, Allison Rapp just created an infographic of the Health Benefits of the Feldenkrais Method. It's simple, easy to read. Also on my facebook page, Photos area.  
 
Feb 10, 2015
 
Especially for Musicians. John Tarr, a musician, recorded some short, 20-minute lessons in a sitting position for his music students. http://www.somaticvitality.org/about/my-story/how-you-can-work-with-me/musicians/
 
Why I Do Feldenkrais Instead of Yoga. | elephant journal. Ilona Fried, a long-term Yoga enthusiast, describes her process in deciding to do Feldenkrais instead. She is now in her 2nd year of a Feldenkrais training. The article has been somewhat controversial. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/02/why-i-do-feldenkrais-instead-of-yoga/
 
Does Stretching Really Work? Research is now pretty clear that stretching does not improve flexibility nor does it significantly assist performance (as in racing).  Two articles that describe the physiology are: 
 )
 
 
Why Your Muscles Get Sore (and What You Can Do About It)
. An interesting article that dispels a number of explanations and remedies. If they touch on your favourite remedy, sorry. 
 
The Brain from Top to Bottom. From McGill University. http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/index.php

 

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Learning & Training in the Feldenkrais World

In many of the writings and lectures of Dr. Feldenkrais, it appears that he was opposed to exercising. For example, while teaching the ATM lesson ”Rolling from sitting” (Amherst training, morning, 7/7/1980), Dr. Feldenkrais talked about exercising and learning. He asked and answered: “[Do] you know the difference between exercising and learning? [Exercising] means that you know the final result, what you want, and you keep on doing until you obtain it. And that is the most awkward inefficient way of achieving anything. Because it becomes a problem for life. ... [learning] means that you have an action where you do not know the final outcome...”.

Moti Nativ has observed that "[Dr.] Feldenkrais dedicated his method to learning. He was mostly concerned about people who are not aware that they repeat a movement that they have already performed many times in the past instead of learning another way, maybe a better way, of executing the movement."

In an article titled, "Exercise VS Learning", Moti continues, "Feldenkrais used two terms: learning and exercising." Moti, with his background in various martial arts suggests there is a third part, training. and he defined them as:

  • Learning – Teaching the technique to the level that the trainee knows how to perform the technique. The trainee is taught a technique until he/she has learned to perform it correctly.

  • Exercising –Repeating the learned technique until the trainee can perform it competently with confidence, accuracy, and speed. Exercising ascertains that we are able to repeat what we have learned even though conditions, such as varying the speed at which the technique is performed, may be changed.

  • Training – Performing the technique in demanding conditions, in a more challenging and stressful environment (threats, darkness, bad surface). Soldiers should train in an environment similar to the battle field. A simple example from daily life is, after we have learned an alternative way of using our pelvis and hip joints through an ATM or FI lesson, changing our body organization as we walk in the world. Now, when walking on our modern “battlefield” (crossing streets, sidewalks, and avoiding unforeseen obstacles) the quality of our movements and interaction with our environment keeps us safe and more likely to survive.

Moti wrote this article for FeldenkraisZeit, the Journal of the German Feldenkrais Guild. Click to read more.

 

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The hand as the human outer brain

Margaret Kaye of Australia has a deep understanding about increasing loast function in the hand. . She has generously shared with us her extensive article about working with three people with difficulties with their hands: a 6-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy, a computer worker with frozen shoulder, and a musician with focal dystonia.

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Study-FM and Parkinson's

The following was from MedScape, May 28, 2015. I will re-edit it to make it more readable to the regular reader. --rob

PALM SPRINGS, California — An exercise program based on the Feldenkrais Method can improve the mood and quality of life among people with Parkinson's disease, a new study shows.

By damaging neurologic functioning, Parkinson's disease often diminishes quality of life and leads to depression.

"The Feldenkrais Method uses easy movement and breath control and flexibility and balance to facilitate more control in the whole body," said first author Lavinia Teixeira-Machado, PT, PhD, from the Education in Health Department, Federal University of Sergipe in Sergipe, Brazil. "I use it in cerebral palsy, autism, and Down syndrome."

"We reduced the isolation," said Dr Teixeira-Machado toldMedscape Medical News. "It's very interesting."

She presented the finding here at the American Pain Society (APS) 34th Annual Scientific Meeting.

Whole-Body Exercise

To see whether the Feldenkrais Method could help with Parkinson's disease, Dr Teixeira-Machado and her colleagues administered the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Parkinson's Disease Quality of Life (PDQL) questionnaire, and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to 36 people with Parkinson's.

They excluded four people from further study because of cognitive impairment, cardiopathy, or advanced impairment. Two others declined to participate.

The researchers then randomly assigned 15 of the patients to instruction in exercises based on the Feldenkrais Method. The remaining 15 got educational lectures. Both groups attended 50 one-hour sessions, with two sessions given per week.

The patients had an average age of 61 years, an average weight of 64 kg, an average height of 159 cm, and an average body mass index of 26 kg/m2. These measures did not statistically significantly differ between the two groups.

The groups were also statistically similar at baseline on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rate Scale Part III (UPDRS III), the MMSE, and the BDI.

After the 50 sessions, the researchers tested the patients once again on the PDQL and the BDI. The group receiving Feldenkrais instruction improved significantly on both quality of life and depression while the control group got slightly worse on both scales.

 

The change in the Feldenkrais group compared with baseline was statistically significant for both PDQL (P = .004) and BDI (P = .0005).

The differences between the Feldenkrais group and the control group were also statistically significant for both PDQL (P = .002) and BDI (P = .05).

"People with Parkinson's have all kinds of trouble with movement, so if we can modify that it would be great," said Kathleen Sulka, PT, PhD, a professor of physical therapy at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

 

But other exercise programs have also proved beneficial for people with Parkinson's disease, she said, so she would like to see a larger study in which some patients practiced the Feldenkrais Method and others practiced different exercises.

"I see this as a wonderful pilot study," she told Medscape Medical News.

The study was funded by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnológico. Dr Teixeira-Machado and Dr Sulka have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

American Pain Society (APS) 34th Annual Scientific Meeting. Presented May 14, 2015.

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Learn More About Neuroplasticity

Wendy and DoidgeA delightful interview with Dr. Doidge on Feb 13th, 2015 for CBC's The National. This gives a very approachable summary of some of the findings in the book, "The Brain's Way of Healing". The interview is only 10 minutes.
(this interview does not mention the Feldenkrais Method, but highlights so many possibilities of how the brain changes, the plasticity, that we know so well). Click here to watch CBC with Wendy Mesley

A simple description of Neuroplasticity. The graphics make a big difference. The Sentis Brain Animation Series takes you on a tour of the brain through a series of short and sharp animations. click here to watch Neuroplasticity Animation

 

 

Dr. DoidgeThe Noisy Brain. Just one of the topics in this delightful 1-hr interview with Dr. Doidge. Enjoy!
This interview with Dr. Doidge focuses on the underlying principles of brain plasticity and their clinical implications. Although brain plasticity is well-established in the research community it has not yet fully penetrated clinical medicine where old views, which seen the brain as largely fixed in adulthood, make it difficult for new approaches to reach most patients. Click here to listen to the Brain Science Podcast.

 

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Feldenkrais Introduction

The Feldenkrais Method, named after the founder, Moshe Feldenkrais, is a learning system which helps all people become more aware and alive. Through increasing awareness, people discover days to reduce their own pain, increase flexibility, and reduce stress. A delightful description is on the website of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America (click here)

How does it help people?

People who participate in the Feldenkrais Method are usually called 'students', to recognize that they are entering into a learning process.

Learning occurs at many levels of the nervous system. In the Feldenkrais Method, we address many of these levels, often simultaneously. Thus an action can have impact at the conceptual "thought" levels, the perceptual level, and the level of sympathetic nervous system, as well as at the central nervous system.

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Learning and Awareness

Learning and Awareness - quotes from Moshe Feldenkrais

“Our ability to learn... involves the developing of new responses to familiar stimuli.” (ATM pp 71-72)

“Most people do not achieve the use of more than a minute fraction of their potential ability; the minority that outstrips the majority does so not because of its higher potential, but because it learns to use a higher proportion of this potential...” (Awareness Through Movement, p 17)

“If a man wishes to improve his self-image, he must first of all learn to value himself as an individual, even if his faults as a member of society appear to him to outweigh his qualities.” (ATM, p 19)

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Moshe Feldenkrais-Biography


Moshé Feldenkrais was born in 1904 in the little town of Slavuta, in the present-day Ukrainian Republic. In 1918 he left for Palestine and joined the many men and women who are now known as the "Pioneers" of Israel. In the 1930's he went to France to study at the Sorbonne, gaining his PhD studying nuclear physics. He also started the first Judo club in Europe. At the start of WWII, he left France with the other scientists, and worked scientific officer in the British Admiralty. His first book on the Feldenkrais Method, Body and Mature Behaviour, was published in 1949. He returned to Israel in 1951, working again in nuclear physics. He was working full time on what we now know as the Feldenkrais Method by 1955.

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New Hope for Aching, Creaky Yuppie Bodies

 

by Dr. Norman Doidge for
the National Post, October 6, 1999

Anyone who is subject to the grim tug of gravity might count themselves lucky that one day, about 50 years ago, Moshe Feldenkrais, in his late thirties, while standing on a wet subma- rine deck, slipped and aggravat- ed an old knee injury. They should also be grateful to the doctors who told him he would never walk again without surgery (surgery that offered only a 50% cure rate), because Feldenkrais decided to fix him- self, and invented a new treat- ment in the process. 

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Awareness

Dr. Feldenkrais spoke extensively on the elusive aspects of awareness. For example, 

There is an essential difference between consciousness and awareness although the borders are not clear in our use of language. I can walk up the stairs of my house, fully conscious of what I am doing, and yet not know how many steps I have climbed. In order to know how many steps there are I must climb them a second time, pay attention, listen to myself, and count them. Awareness is consciousness together with a realization of what is happening within it or what is going on within ourselves while we are conscious. (Awareness Through Movement, P 50)
Again, he saw the necessity to do the action, the movement, "... a second time... pay attention... listen to myself and ... (count them)". Thus there is an aspect of reflection, moving and attending to the experience, and intending to remember. This is what we are developing in the classes and the one-on-one sessions.

 


kinesthesia: the deep sense perception of movement, the muscular sense of perception


Some time ago, a colleague offered  FELDENKRAIS workshops that had wonderful perspectives.  I have retained the announcement because the language and ideas were so appealing.

Da Vinci De-Coded
Five 2006 ATM Workshops in Marin County
with Dennis Leri
©2005

Dennis Leri will give five Awareness Through Movement lesson/lecture workshops based upon the template of the Da Vinci Man.  The Da Vinci Man is at once an integrated expression of Science, Philosophy, Art and Spiritual Knowledge.  As we will experience in this series, an Awareness Through Movement lesson is no less than that.

The Experimenter is the Experiment:
The Feldenkrais Method as a Scientific Practice       

Science is founded upon definite conceptual and experimental principles. In contextualizing Awareness Through Movement lessons, weíll demonstrate how a Feldenkrais lesson employs the scientific method and then challenges it.  Moshe Feldenkrais helped design the Nobel Prize winning experiments of Joilet-Curie. He carried that design experience over in his creation of Functional Integration and Awareness Through Movement lessons.

Know Thyself Knowing:
The Feldenkrais Method as a Philosophical Practice

What is philosophy? How can a self know the self?  The Feldenkrais Method in the form of an Awareness Through Movement lesson is a viable philosophical practice with antecedents going all the way back to Ancient Greece.  This seminar will indicate and make explicit the path of philosophical enquiry in an Awareness Through Movement lesson and follow it where it may lead.

Giving and Receiving Form:
The Feldenkrais Method as the Practice of an Art Form       

Finding and constructing expressions of form for their own sake -- forms which have never before existed -- is one of the functions of Art.  Each Feldenkrais lesson can draw out of ourselves something more intelligible and expressive than we can define or say.  Moshe Feldenkrais was a martial artist and made the art of it available to all of us in his work.  The relation to other arts will be touched upon.

Self Liberation without Compromise:
The Feldenkrais Method as a Spiritual Practice

Feldenkrais hinted at and at times explicitly called his method a Way or Path of Awakening.  What resonance does our work have to Spiritual practice? Do we dare follow this direction?  What happens to us and our students when we allow this view of the Feldenkrais  Method to unfold? Permitting a spiritual dimension, while challenging, can ultimately be the most fulfilling and satisfying direction for both practitioner and student.

Coming Home:
The Feldenkrais Method as the Feldenkrais Method

Coming home means one must have left home.  The comings and goings, disciplines and practices, that differentiate themselves within the Feldenkrais Method emerge united as a practice in and of itself. Arriving back at the beginning with new eyes, we will see how the practice of the Feldenkrais Method creates its own integrity. 

Dennis Leri, Trainer, has worldwide experience presenting the Feldenkrais Method in training programs, seminars and workshops. He apprenticed with Dr. Feldenkrais at the Feldenkrais Institute in Tel-Aviv, Israel and has taught the Method for nearly 30 years. His accessible teaching style reflects training in Western and Eastern philosophy, psychology, martial arts and poetics. His published articles on the Method have been translated into several languages.

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FELDENKRAIS Learnings


FELDENKRAIS lessons are intended to allow the student to discover how to embody new concepts, to foster increased level of functioning, physically, emotionally, academically and socially. Most of the lessons touch on the following topics in conventional cognitive ways, but they also draw the student to deeper levels, allowing the student to experience for themselves (e.g. “embody”) the concept.

Some lessons naturally lend themselves...

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Our computer Brain-or is it?

computer brainAbout a year ago,  Gary Marcus wrote an article for the New York Times titled,  Face It, Your Brain Is a Computer. Dr. Marcus is eminently qualified to present this perspective as he is a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, and the editor of “The Future of the Brain”.

He opens his essay, 

SCIENCE has a poor track record when it comes to comparing our brains to the technology of the day. Descartes thought that the brain was a kind of hydraulic pump, propelling the spirits of the nervous system through the body. Freud compared the brain to a steam engine. The neuroscientist Karl Pribram likened it to a holographic storage device.

Many neuroscientists today would add to this list of failed comparisons the idea that the brain is a computer — just another analogy without a lot of substance. Some of them actively deny that there is much useful in the idea; most simply ignore it.

He argues, "Too many scientists have given up on the computer analogy, and far too little has been offered in its place. In my view, the analogy is due for a rethink."

(click to read his essay)

 

This week we have another essay, this one  by  Dr. Robert Epstein, who attempts to convince us that 

neuron soup?Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer

Robert Epstein is no slouch. He is a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California. He is the author of 15 books, and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today.  You'd think we should listen carefully to him, with these kinds of credentials.(click to read his article) . But read on. We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

 

But his article seems to have generated a lot of argument. It's kind of like angry bees.

wigglythingSoon after, Sergio Graziosi had a delightful review of the the flaws, titled, Robert Epstein’s empty essay. (click to read). 

Sergio seems to have a very broad background and seems to be particularly motivated to debunk anti-science or shallow-science articles. He has some very interesting points to counter the arguments of Dr Epstein. To clarify his mood in writing the article he says, 'Sometimes reading a flawed argument triggers my rage, I really do get angry, a phenomenon that invariably surprises and amuses me. What follows is my attempt to use my anger in a constructive way, it may include elements of a jerk reaction*, but I’ll try to keep my emotions in check."

Julie Lee

The next article is by Julie Lee, a PhD student in Neuroscience in UCL. In her blog, titled, "The Not-So-Empty Brain, or Lessons Against Confusing the IP Metaphor. Julie's review is more of an analysis of the faulty logic in Epstein's article. It has some good points, and is worth a read (click to follow).

She summarized her thoughts as: "Epstein’s well-publicised argument is poorly argued as it conflates two orthogonal stances, (1) the information processing metaphor, and (2) the very much non-metaphoric computational theory of mind. Even if these were the same, Epstein frequently contradicts his anti-representational stance with logical inconsistencies. "

 

jeffThe final article gets back to the computer-brain conumdrum, and si titled, "Yes, Your Brain Certainly Is a Computer" Jeffrey Shallit opens his article with a conversation:

- Did you hear the news, Victoria? Over in the States those clever Yanks have invented a flying machine!

- A flying machine! Good heavens! What kind of feathers does it have?

- Feathers? It has no feathers.

- Well, then, it cannot fly. Everyone knows that things that fly have feathers. It is preposterous to claim that something can fly without them.

Shallit pulls no punches. "The most recent foolishness along these lines was penned by psychologist Robert Epstein" and finished with, 'I don't know why people like Epstein feel the need to deny things for which the evidence is so overwhelming. He behaves like a creationist in denying evolution. And like creationists, he apparently has no training in a very relevant field (here, computer science) but still wants to pontificate on it. When intelligent people behave so stupidly, it makes me sad."

In between are some interesting arguments as well as some irrefutable truths. Also particularly interesting is the comments after his article. (click to read more)

Dr.Shallit is a computer scientistnumber theorist, a noted advocate for civil liberties on the Internet, and a noted critic of intelligent design. He is currently a Professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo and is a Distinguished Scientist (2008)

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The Brain's Way of Healing

Dr. Norman Doidge's New Book Validates the Foundations of the Feldenkrais Method

Cover Brains way of HealingNorman Doidge, M.D., on his remarkable new book, The Brain's Way of Healing, which details -- through compelling and dramatic personal histories, including two chapters about Moshe Feldenkrais and the application of the Feldenkrais Method of somatic education -- the miraculous phenomenon of neuroplastic healing in action.

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Kelowna Feldenkrais Training

The Kelowna Feldenkrais Training  started with a dream, and is coming together through daily and weekly work by the team.

A Feldenkrais training has an Educational Director (ours is Julie Peck, from Australia) at least 4 different trainers, a clear educational plan, and must meet international guidelines through the North American Training Accreditation Board. Further, the Kelowna Feldenkrais Training is a registered training institution in BC, operating under the guidelines of the Post-Secondary system.

The website, kelownafeldenkraistraining.ca is in process, and is continually updated. Sometimes information is there in draft format (for the whole team to view), and is revised within a few days. 

For updates and information, join the newsletter using the easy-to complete form, below.

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