Flexibility! What image do you have when you think of flexibility, a dancer, a gymnast or just being able to do your everyday task without struggle. This is an important aspect that is important in the Feldenkrais Method but not in the way that you may be thinking.
Moshe Feldenkrais once stated that he wanted Flexible minds, not Flexible bodies and what was meant by this was by learning to create choices in the movement to sense and think how we perform the actions we are able to produce more effective ways of moving. By taking time to be aware of our sensations, we can consider other alternatives. That is why the simple act of slowing down is essential in the Method and can dramatically change one’s life.
The idea of choice is an important concept in the Method because it creates learning situations for ways to discover new possibilities of movement from which we can make new choices. One way of doing things offers no choice; two ways offer limited action; however, three ways or more offers the probability of making an intelligent choice that allows you to move more efficiently with ease. Just for fun begin to experiment by being playful and curious in finding other ways of moving!
Strength! Our cultural idea of strength tend to refer to the abdomen as the core but Feldenkrais offers a different perspective. Moshe talked about the fact that muscles never work independently, the nervous system constantly coordinates muscles throughout the body. Real strength involves all the muscles working harmoniously together. By working solely on the abdomen impairs our overall movement and results in weakness not strength. And when we use excess effort or set specific goals we are less able to sense differences to prevent or relieve discomfort and injury.
Moshe stated that ‘Awareness of Movement’ must come first for fitness and healing to be able to move better and feel better. To improve your fitness and exercise practices use the opportunity for learning and here are some recommendations to use next time:
While you exercise pay attention to how you breathe and notice any holding of breath, try and breathe freely and easily.
- Sense and think about the way your ribs move on the inhale and exhale.
- Actively scan and sense your whole body throughout the exercise and note any areas of tension or effort.
- Do less if that is the case.
- Seek to make the movement smaller, slower and pleasurable.
- Any area of pain, seek to protect and seel to move more freely from elsewhere.
- Above all be curious like a child!