Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thank you

A big thank you to Veronica for yesterday’s workshop at the Life Centre in Romiley.

Throughout the afternoon there was a gentle, quiet focus on body and breathing. As usual the time was divided so that we had three lessons  with a short break between each.

Each lesson was a guided experiment, an exploration of breathing. No right or wrong. No forcing or pushing or pain. Just try this. Just notice. Just relax into the awareness. Notice. Notice the in breath. Notice the pause. Notice the release of the out breath.

For a short part of the lesson we were seated. For most of the afternoon we were on the floor. On our back. For one sequence on our front. Sometimes on our left or our right side. Making small movements, perhaps a few centimetres to and fro.  Veronica invited us to tweak our breathing. Make the exhalation a little longer. Or breathe with attention on the movement of the abdomen, or the chest. Or the rib ‘basket’. We learned to notice how the ribs can move much more than we habitually move them. There’s flexibility there. And through bringing our awareness to the different quarters of the chest or rib basket, there was a shift in our sensations. A shift in our felt awareness of our bodies and what our bodies could do. A sense of expansion. An expansion in our choices and in our breathing and in the movement of our bodies.

During the breaks for a brew or a toilet break , some gentle conversation and exchange of views about each participant’s experience. One might notice the ease with which they moved from the floor to standing, another a feeling of standing taller, or of the voice sounding different, calmer, steadier, deeper. Reflecting the breath. Mirroring the mind state of complete relaxation that the calm focus of Awareness through Movement and the Feldenkrais Method enables.

So in a state of deep relaxation and quiet attention to the sensations arising we moved through the lessons. Breathing in a relaxed way. Moving in a relaxed way. Smiling as we went our separate ways. Knowing that our bodies had absorbed a few new choices. Feeling that we could move differently. We could breath differently. We could move with ease.

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everything’s connected…

We know that everything’s connected.

And yet, sometimes, we focus on a troublesome part. In my case, my painful neck.  Attending my first Feldenkrais workshop (title: necks and jaw) and I think I might have expected to do things with my neck. And I did, sort of. Except that I helped my neck by moving my feet.

I recall that I was on a mat on the floor, on my side with my knees bent, thighs at 90 degrees to my torso. I stretched my top leg and, guided by Veronica, explored some movements with my foot, extending it away and relaxing back. This turned out to help with my neck pain so much that, in the months since then, I do it many a morning when I wake. I wake with neck and spine stiff and in pain. In bed, under the duvet, stretching, extending from the hip, I begin to move with greater ease.

There are other moves that I’ve done in Awareness through Movement Workshops or Functional Integration sessions which I use in this way to ease my movement into the day. They involve my hip, my pelvis, my shoulders. This eases movement in my neck.

During a 1:1 Functional Integration session with Jo she talked me through some moves which I now know as ‘The Pelvic Clock’. This is described in Moshe Feldenkrais’ book: Awareness Through Movement. After 40 minutes paying attention to the movement of the pelvis, I was invited to stand and walk and notice. Notice? That I was walking with lightness and ease. Tick. That my neck pain was not filling my awareness. Tick. And yet, the main thing that I noticed was that my breathing was deeper and more relaxed, that my diaphragm movement was soft, gentle, expansive. Jo responded to my comments: Working with the pelvis frees up the diaphragm. I helped my breathing by moving my pelvis.

Working with the pelvis frees up the diaphragm. Who knew? Not me. Until then. Even though I had done a range of breathing exercises and had found them helpful, not even the 3 fold breath had led to such a change as this. Breathing differently, holding my body differently, moving differently. And feeling deeply relaxed. That’s what Feldenkrais does for me. So who knew about the way that everything is connected? Certainly Moshe Feldenkrais knew. His teaching and trained Feldenkrais practitioners enable others to really connect and experience the benefits for themselves.

For those attending Veronica’s workshop on Breathing, we can expect to engage the body in surprising ways and more than likely experience the delight of finding that we are able to move with greater ease. Even the parts that we didn’t think we were working on or might not have expected to benefit. Then again…everything’s connected. Work with the breath and change the way you move.

Being able to breathe more fully and more comfortably immediately brings a feeling of relief and well-being with beneficial consequences for our overall health and vitality.