The Saga Continues as Interest Morphs into Passion

February 26, 2010


It’s one thing to have a mild interest in something and quite another to develop an all consuming passion. When I ordered the Feldenkrais videos I was excited to finally be able to experience a series of Awareness Through Movement lessons, however, I never in my wildest dreams expected that the decision would change my life’s direction.
The first time that I popped my new Awareness Through Movement® video into the VCR unit I hoped that I would notice changes as I had with my introduction several years before but realistically I felt that may have been a fluke, an aberration. At any rate, I lay down on the floor and began to listen to the calm voice as it guided me through a series of simple movements.
“Bend your knees and stand your feet a comfortable distance apart.”
Easily done!
“Tip your knees a little to one side and back to your starting place.”
Nothing difficult about that!
“Notice if it is as easy to come back to your starting place as it was to go down.”
There was a difference and surprising to me, it wasn’t as easy to come back up again.
As if the instructor could see me through the TV his next remark was, “If the return was more difficult then don’t go down so far.” Do less! By this time I was hardly moving as I tried to make the movement easy and reversible. I began to wonder how this was going to help me to improve anything. At this rate, I reckoned I would soon be completely motionless. However, I set my judgments aside and decided to see it through at least to the end of this 30 minute lesson.
The movements continued to be easy if I paid attention to what I was doing and didn’t strain. Keeping it easy was a challenge as I was one that always had to “try harder” than the next person. At the end of the lesson I was directed to repeat the first movement I had done half an hour before. With much less effort my knees went right down to the floor on both sides and when I lifted them back to center they seemed to float back to their upright position. My question had been answered with a resounding yes. This Feldenkrais stuff was going to change my world. I could see the possibilities and was hooked.
Here is a short version of the first video lesson I experienced.
1.      Lie on your back and bend your knees with the feet flat on the floor.
2.      Take your knees slowly from side to side.  Notice the range and quality of the movement.
3.      Now go to the side only as far as is comfortable and easy.  In other words, if you have to make an effort to get your legs back to a standing position you have gone too far.  Going down and coming up should be both be easy.  Repeat several times first to one side and then to the other.
4.      Continue to keep your knees bent and both feet on the floor.  Lift your arms towards the ceiling and put your hands together as if to clap—keep the elbows straight.  Tilt the arms and shoulders to the R a little a few times and then to the L in the same fashion.  KEEP YOUR HANDS GLUED TOGETHER—IF ONE HAND SLIDES ON THE OTHER YOU WILL NOT BE DOING THE MOVEMENT ASKED FOR—ALSO KEEP YOUR ELBOWS STRAIGHT.  By staying in this constraint you will have to “rock” from side to side and one shoulder will lift off the floor as the other shoulder moves down towards the floor.  Allow your head to go with the movement of your hands. 
5.      Move the head with the arms.
6.      Now, keep the head still and only move your arms to the left and right.
7.      Lengthen the L leg and keep the R knee bent.  Take your arms and your head to the L and use the R leg to help you do this.  After repeating the movement several times, do it on the other side.
8.      Have both knees bent and arms in the same triangle position.  Take the arms a little to the R and the legs a little to the L.  Keep the movements of the arm and the knee equal—i.e. if you move your arms 15 degrees to the right move your knees 15 degrees to the left.  Alternate from side to side.
9.      Keep your head centered and only move your arms and legs.
10. Take your knees from side to side once again and notice the difference. 


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Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.