Today’s workshop was an interesting mix.
There were three ‘lessons’, which might be better described as guided experiments in movement.
In lesson one we were stretched on the floor. Alternating between flat on back, and prone on our fronts. We were exploring our inner crocodile. Well..sort of…
Human babies go through a phase of moving, crocodile like on all fours. And that’s what we were playing with.
It can be that for some this development phase misses out various moves and then those connections or possibilities are not activated. Or, for many others, the capacity to engage different chains of movement is lost over time. Or habitual patterns grow stronger and other modes of moving become redundant. By going back to those earlier phases of movement, we can re-set, we can re-engage and enable, so that more choices become available to us as we move.
Having more choices available can enable individuals to make better connections and this, for Moshe Feldenkrais, was at the heart of maturation.Rather than movement options decreasing with time, we can explore ways to enable them to increase.
So, in part, lesson 1 was about regressing to some of those moves that you might see a baby experiment with before they have developed to the stage where they have learned how to walk. In this way our self- awareness shifted and we became more aware of the potential of the upper back to engage and allow movements.
This theme of experimenting with the movements of a young child or baby was continued in lesson 3. Through working with our feet and doing some interesting (and at times challenging or perplexing) movements we were able to feel more stable and grounded when we stood up and walked around the room. This lesson was based upon the lesson in Moshe Feldenkrais’ Awareness through Movement (Chapter 8: Perfecting self-image).
Lesson 2 provided a counter point to the other parts of the workshop. The focus here was on the face: a variety of gurning type movements which required focus and attention. It was clear how unaware we can be of the amount of tension held in the face and jaw.
These kind of lessons allow us to move with awareness and, through moving differently, to re-set our patterns. There are many Feldenkrais lessons which focus on moving the jaw. Acknowledging a tendency to clench the jaw a little too tightly, this is an area where it feels that much benefit can be gained from very small movements. Made with awareness. And that’s the area I am certainly going to explore a little. Each day for the rest of March, a little bit of Feldenkrais. Moving with awareness. Re-setting. Releasing old patterns. Softening.
Softening and being gentle, another key to the Feldenkrais process. Bring a gentle attention to the movements. With a gentle attention to the jaw or the eyes, a gentle relaxed state of mind develops around the body. This may be another reason why Feldenkrais can be so relaxing. The relaxation spreads. Change happens. It can be profound change. Done with gentle attention. Feldenkrais Method. Gently does it.
Our next workshop is planned for Friday 15 May. Same time, same place.
Theme to be confirmed. We are looking at perhaps more Breathing Choices or Your Flexible Spine. I look forward to hearing of other ideas for workshops. Of course, any theme may have a particular focus and yet, since everything’s connected, in the end, it will affect all of you. Gently done, with awareness, increasing the possibilities of moving with ease.