This first episode of Feldenkrais Podcast is a talk with Jeff Haller on Moshe Feldenkrais teaching in Amherst, MA 1980-81 and Jeff's perspective on the Feldenkrais Method's potential to contribute to emotional well being.
The people who are coming to me via the NY Times article are intelligent, curious, fascinating people--therapists, professors, lawyers, artists, writers---open and eager to learn. It has been an honor to work with them. PAIN is the reason they all came to the method and they are finding that the same process which helps reduce their pain also supports overall well being, and for many, more vibrant creativity. It is a paradigm shift from our pain-no-gain culture.
In one lesson on the difference between exercises and learning he says, "If you go through these exercises in order to gain something," which is just like the zen in where if you think you're meditating to gain something, it's not meditation, 'if you're going through these processes to gain an outcome, then the outcome will be gone within five minutes after you leave the class.
“Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’” -Carol Diener What's your attitude about failure? Infants and children are constantly trying things they don't yet know how to do. What can we gain from understanding a child’s approach to motor learning?
I was fascinated with his idea that “We act in accordance with our self image.” “Self image” expanded my idea of “body image” to include a perception of myself from the inside related to my actions in the world.
What is your body telling you? Where can you give yourself permission to not do what other people want you to do or what you think you should do? Where can you take action to step towards what you want? What have you dreamed about doing? What are you clear that you don't want to be doing?
I move with my 36 week-old baby in my belly– a delicate dance of reversibility, balance, ground and breath... There is a story that pregnant women can’t move freely or comfortably. I want to transform that. I want to help people know what is possible...
"...willpower and intelligence are merely superficial expressions of the mind whereas their deeper manifestations are imagination and instinct...Educating the imagination is more important than educating the will. Man fulfills in his life what his imagination directs him to do. Each of us contains his life's image within himself. The course of our lives expresses and fulfills this image…
"When a person continues to use a stereotyped pattern of behavior instead of one suitable to the present reality, the learning process has come to a standstill." -Moshe Feldenkrais, Body and Mature Behavior, p 205.
I found the Feldenkrais Method during a confusing search for how to have a more loving relationship with my body after growing up in a family and society that taught me to hate it. The invitations the Method offered were liberating: feel without judgement, move without comparing myself to others, and sense internally instead of looking to others to validate if what I was doing was correct. Through permission and encouragement to imperfectly cultivate my own inner sense of knowing, I found grace in a clunky un-embodied body. I found presence where I had been absent for so long. This coming home to myself was a creative, dynamic process...
These videos continue to be an inspiration again and again. This is a montage of a little baby named Liv doing what babies do during their first year of life. It is these first beginnings that form the initial pieces that someone would learn while doing a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Lesson.
How much does your head weigh? When your head sits on top of your spine it weighs 10-12lbs. As you lower your head forward, it's weight increases. It no longer has the support of your spine beneath it. Where do you need to work in your back to keep your head from falling off?
"The body is not and never will be a machine, no matter how much we treat it as such, and therefore body movement is not and never will be mechanical – it is always and forever expressive, simply because it is human.”
In order to stand up for what we want we need to know what that is. Moshe Feldenkrais' writing (and method) gives me hope. To learn to stand on your own two feet in the context of the world around you is the ground for larger social change.
I always love reading this quote by Pema Chodron. I am humbled and reminded of my humanity and my desire to learn and grow. I feel like it would be a spiritual practice in and of itself to read this quote everyday...