The Elusive Obvious--How to Turn With Ease

July 27, 2010

This past week I’ve been learning to operate my new Canon Power Shot camera. It soon became apparent that there was something that just wasn’t coming together in my learning. I continued to struggle for the next week as I diligently read the manual. Yesterday, admitting defeat I went back to the camera store for some instruction. In less than 3 minutes my questions were answered and the solution to my problem was so obvious that all I could do was shake my head.

We always seem to be drawn to the complex, the complicated, the convoluted, thinking that the answer has to be difficult. Moshe Feldenkrais coined the phrase elusive obvious as the title to one of his books (click here to see more books by Moshe Feldenkrais) and proceeded to show the world that the most obvious answers, though staring us in the face repeatedly elude us.

Here’s a short turning lesson that demonstrates how a simple change in awareness can make a huge difference in our ability to turn easily. One of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments could be yours when you try this short sequence!

  1. Sit towards the front of your chair, feet flat on the floor a comfortable distance apart and hands resting on your thighs. Repeat each instruction 3 or 4 times pausing for at least one full breath between each initiation of the movement.
  2. Slowly turn from side to side a few times. Notice how you did this movement. Notice your range.
  3. Cradle your chin in your hands. The heels of your hands are joined together, your palms are wrapped around your jaw line and the tips of the fingers are near your temples. Let your arms rest on or near your upper chest.
  4. Staying in this position, imagine that your entire upper body is glued together so the head, neck, shoulders and arms have to move as a unit. Now slowly turn first to one side and then to the other side and stay well within your comfort zone (about 60% of your capacity). With the constraint placed on the upper body you now have to turn differently. Notice that you have to include your ribs and pelvis in the movement.
  5. Bring your hands to your lap and take a rest.
  6. Now turn from side to side. Notice that you automatically turn more easily with greater range.


What a concept--to include more of yourself in the movement to make it easier—the elusive obvious!

Click here for more Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lessons.


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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®.