From a physical perspective, movement in a Feldenkrais® class is considered a mild form of exercise. Even so, the purpose of physical movement differs dramatically from what happens during traditional fitness and exercise.
Physical movement in a Feldenkrais class is a portal for self-improvement through blossoming sensory awareness. How you move and breathe – that is, quality of movement – is the focus of attention. This is one reason the group aspect of the Feldenkrais Method is called Awareness Through Movement®. Moving well, with only the effort necessary for action, requires organizing your entire system in a pattern commensurate with your intention. Strength, flexibility, and adaptability, to name some of the qualities exercise aficionados pursue, are benefits. Even better (at least I think so) is the benefit of feeling better about yourself and being more in tune with your sense of worth and inherent dignity.
A daily Feldenkrais Method® practice can help you at any time of life, at any level of performance – from elders to youth to even babies. What a daily practice looks like will differ from one person to the next, because we are each unique beings.
How might you approach creating a daily Feldenkrais practice?
- Think about some habits in your daily life.
- What are the first 4 habits that come to mind?
- What do they suggest about who you are? Do they serve you in productive ways?
- If possible for you, lie on the floor or a semi-firm surface.
- Lying on your back, stomach or side puts more of you in touch with another surface, and gives you huge amounts of sensory/tactile information.
- Try not to change the way you have positioned yourself; instead just notice and sense.
- Are you comfortable? What do you need to adjust to be more comfortable?
- Take your time and notice …
- what first captures your attention;
- the amount and specific locations of contact between you and the surface you are on;
- where your attention goes to distinguish the sides of yourself (left-right, front-back, upper-lower) and the space within yourself;
- any differences between the left and right sides of yourself;
- places of relaxation/softness and tightness/rigidity (for example, mouth-jaw, neck, gaze, upper trunk, lower back, feet);
- how you are breathing (rhythm, depth, pace);
- how you are using your eyes/gaze;
- any other internal sensations tugging at your attention.
- Shift your attention to the world around you.
- What boundary defines you and separates you from an outer world?
- What captures your attention in this outer world?
- To what are you motivated to listen?
- What parts of yourself are you using to listen?
- Imagine breathing with your ears and listening with your skin. What does this image do for your listening?
The first stepping stone of a daily practice involves noticing sensations and paying attention.
The next stepping stones are unique to you. I or another certified Feldenkrais practitioner can help you find your way, knowing that your journey will follow an important concept – that change is the one constant in life.