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Upper Body Freedom : December 7th 2018

– Upper Body Freedom

Our next Feldenkrais Friday at The Life Centre, Romiley, on 7th December 2018

Book as soon as you like.

Early bird fee: £30 before 24th November

Full fee: £40

Booking your place with an email and then post your cheque made payable to V.Rock to me in Romiley.

On our next Feldenkrais Friday there will be 3 lessons. We set up in the upstairs room at The Life Centre at 11-45. Fully carpeted, climate controlled. Lessons begin at 12-00. Gentle guidance through awareness, moving with ease. After lesson 1 a short comfort break of about 15-20 minutes. Hot drinks included. Between lesson 2 and 3 a 10 minute break.

Friday Feldenkrais workshop 11-45 to 15-00 hours.

The Life Centre in Romiley is just opposite the railway station, has a free car park at rear and a cafe serving coffee, tea, snacks and lunches. Ruth’s scones are a particular favourite.

Our December workshop has the theme of Upper Body Freedom. Since everything is connected, whatever the theme,  you might experience a sense that all of the body is better connected after an Awareness through Movement afternoon.

– Flexible Hips & Knees 2019

Anyone interested in an afternoon of moves which will explore and develop awareness of our Flexible Hips & Knees and perhaps enabling more flexibility ? Let me know and we can look to have this in out 2019 programme.

– Flexible Hips & Knees 2019

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Some comments from participants:

I’ll need to change the position of my mirror for the drive home. I feel taller.

Watched the baby Liv videos and was amazed at the similarities to the lessons. Can see more where he’s coming from I think!

I really enjoyed workshop. Could have slept for a couple of hours after!
I love simplicity of feldenkrais and it’s massive effect.
Feldenkrais makes me realise how manic fast everything is …allowing yourself to take time for yourself.

I felt really happy to be back with Veronica’s excellent teaching and to be in Romiley with you and the other participants. The way Feldenkrais  takes us into our body, picturing the bones and muscles does it for me.  And I find myself thinking if only I can remember these moves and practise even a little! How good it would be for me!

 

Babies, crocodiles and moving with ease.

Fresh from our Feldenkrais Friday Awareness through Movement afternoon at The Life Centre in Romiley. Today we’ve been mobilising the spine to help us move with ease. (And with side benefits of feeling more relaxed, more gently present, more aligned and in my case, definitely breathing better).

One way or another, nearly all our movements involve the spine. Sometimes a little stuckness in one part of the body can be eased by mobilising our spine. As one participant commented at the end of the afternoon: It feels as if someone has used an oil can on all my moving parts. (BTW: try a Feldenkrais workshop and see how you rise to the challenge of describing the way it affects how you feel about your body. Feel it in the body. Not always easy to put into words.)

Our lessons this afternoon were themed according to the three ways that we mobilise our spine.

Lesson 1 we paid attention to turning.

Lesson 2 we explored lateral bending movements.

Lesson 3 we were guided through moves bending forwards and backwards (flexion and extension).

There may be further information on these lessons available elsewhere. However, here’s some of what we did in each lesson. There’s often a kind of trance which means that recall can be vague.

Lesson 1: Turning

This lesson took place lying on our backs. (Key Feldenkrais principle: take gravity out of the equation and we can pay more attention to the movements in our body without concerns about falling over!) For each part of this lesson we had our knees bent, feet flat on floor about hip width apart.

We began by with small movements of the left knee. Small movement of the knee tilting to the left. Repeating. Keeping movements small and slow. Noticing if there’s movement elsewhere in the body. Becoming aware of connections. Then a similar movement with right knee. Taking the knee to the left a few centimetres and back. Practicing the movement on an exhaled breath. These moves are not like exercises. They are not building muscles. They are about neural networks and making connections. What fires together wires together. Rest on the in breath. Rest and let the brain pay attention, let the neurones re-wire.

This lesson continued with moving other parts of the body. Always small movements. For example after the left knee, and right knee we moved the right shoulder. Lifting it a few centimetres from the floor. With guided awareness, it is possible to notice that even with such small movements of knee and shoulder, there was movement in the pelvis, the rib cage.

We combined these movements, left knee and right shoulder. We noticed that if we moved our knees and rolled the head, how the ease varied if the moves were both to the left or if there was a cross lateral component, turning the head to the right and tilting the knee to the left. A key part of the Feldenkrais approach is to make these moves so that we sometimes follow our intuitive sense of the easy way. Other times we are guided to do the opposite.

While doing these moves I was aware that sometimes there would be a stuck point, a point of resistance. After the sequence of moves, something softened, movement flowed, there was greater ease.

At the end of lesson 1 we were invited to stand and notice how we felt. For me, there was much more ease in the 7 cervical vertebra, and what seemed like more engagement in the thoracic region.

Lesson 2: Side bending.

For Lesson 2 we were on our side. The lesson was about 40 minutes long and we spent some minutes on our left and then some minutes on our right, alternating throughout as we explored movements. Each time we explored a movement our starting position was on our side with knees bent. On the left side we had our right arm (if necessary) supporting our head, right hand with palm flat and elbow bent, supporting our position.

In this position we could explore movements of the knee and foot. Lift the knee a little. Rest back down. Repeat. Raise the heel. Rest. Repeat. Keep the knees and heels in contact and move the toes, increasing the gap between left and right toes.

Lift our head in our hands (on left side, use right hand to support head and lift). Notice the effect as the rib cage moves and/or the hips move. The spine moves, cervical, thoracic, lumbar all adjust with the movement. This one seemed particularly helpful in enabling a more relaxed movement of the rib cage and allowing gentler yet expansive breathing.

After lesson 2, side-bending seemed easier, gentler, softer, achieved with greater ease.

Lesson 3: bending forwards and backwards

Some lizard movements, some baby movements. Moshe Feldenkrais applied his engineering brain to observations of babies moving to develop his lessons. Just put Baby Liv Feldenkrais Method into your search engine of choice.

By exploring the movements of a baby learning to crawl, you can free up movements that perhaps you might have forgotten that you knew. Crawl like a baby. Then walk tall and with presence. Part of the wonder of the Feldenkrais Method.

Once again we did this by paying attention to the left side of the body and then the right side. By constraining use of one part of the body, there’s a chance to learn more clearly about how the movements happen.

For lesson three we spent a few minutes at a time, on our stomachs, before changing position. Sometimes on stomach, head turned to left, left leg bent, right arm by our right side relaxed at our side (hand near hips), left hand with palm flat about shoulder height supporting the body. On this side we experimented with sliding our knee towards the head and away from the head. Slowly. A few centimetres at a time. Noticing other movements that supported this movement.

We varied the movements, moving the head a little bit towards the knee and back again. Then head and knee moving towards each other. A kind of folding movement. In this position, moving the head backwards. Then moving head and knee as if there was a stick connecting them so that they both moved down and then upwards. For each of these experiments in movement we alternated, first left side, then right side, reducing response in the other side. First with the left knee and then with the right knee. Between each experiment we rested so that we were able to absorb information from the experience.

For the last part of lesson 3, we were guided to be on our fronts with our hands in the position for press ups. Left knee bent. Slide the knee up/down. Look under the arm to the left. Return to start position and then look under right arm slide the right knee up/down. Before you know it you’re moving from your inner crocodile.

Afterwards, invited to stand and bend, the sense of parts being better oiled, better connected, the moves easier. Feeling fully present, better connected.

In the days ahead I know that I will feel the benefits of this Awareness Through Movement workshop. And then, in a few days time I may find myself stretched on the floor, doing some of the moves with as much gentle attention as I can and continue to enjoy the benefits of Moshe Feldenkrais’ genius, Veronica’s teaching and the moves that bring ease, extend range and enable better connections.

Whatever the theme, there are benefits felt through out the body. Every thing is connected. After a Feldenkrais Friday there can be a real sense of the joy of movement when the body-mind experiences such deep connection.

19th October: Mobilising the spine

Autumn’s arrived and it will soon be time for our October Feldenkrais Friday workshop.
The theme is a development of the idea that participants want to be able to bend with ease and grace, to be more flexible in our movements. It involves getting to know ways in which the spine connects with our bodies and enables movements.

As Veronica writes:

By heightening our awareness of our movement, breathing and posture, the Feldenkrais Method® brings us closer to realising our full human potential. Bringing this into our lives, we learn to move more freely with greater ease, flexibility and grace. The Method can permanently improve our posture, balance and coordination, awakening our innate capacity for life-long vitality and continuing self-development.

I’ve noticed that after Veronica guides us through these experiments in movement, my idea of how I move can change and the range of movements can increase. Often there’s a real delight in the process, a  feeling of relaxation which deepens during the afternoon. After 3 lessons, releasing some habitual patterns there’s a shift, a gentle sense of ease, body and mind. Each person experiences differently, though much is shared.
Want to feel the difference that an Awareness Through Movement Workshop can make? You can experience The Feldenkrais Method, here in Stockport on Veronica’s next visit to Romiley for our October workshop.

Bookings by cheque (made payable to V.Rock). Book as soon as you like.

Date: Friday, October 19th 2018
Time: 11.45 for 12pm – 3pm
Place: Romiley Lifecentre, 3 Stockport Road, ROMILEY, Stockport
SK6 4BN
Early bird fee (before October 5th): £30
Full fee (after 5th October): £40
Mobilising the spine with The Feldenkrais Method

 

Mobilising your spine with the Feldenkrais Method

Mobilising your spine with the Feldenkrais Method

Feldenkrais is about learning how to better utilize our bodies, to move more freely and to live in greater comfort.
 
Date: Friday, October 19th 2018
Time: 11.45 for 12pm – 3pm
Place: Romiley Lifecentre, 3 Stockport Road, ROMILEY, Stockport SK6 4BN
Early bird fee (before October 5th): £30
Full fee (after 5th October): £40
Mobilising the spine with the Feldenkrais Method

Stop press

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have decided to defer the workshop planned for 13th July.

Each and every early bird has received an email to let them know.

If you wanted to join us but didn’t know if you would be free to, then there’s another possibility on 19th October, when we will offer an afternoon of Easy Bending, given continuing interest in the theme.

Please email to let me know if you would like our October Feldenkrais Friday at The Life Centre in Romiley to consist of 3 lessons exploring bending movements with a view to enabling you to bend with ease.

Our workshops in the autumn will take place on Friday 19th Ocober and Friday 7th December.

We always welcome ideas for themes for our workshops. In September emails with further information as well as circulating any suggestions received about future workshops.

We look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, there’s a summer to enjoy!

 

Hand/Eyes/Connections

Another afternoon experiencing the wonder of the Feldenkrais Method, with three lessons, guiding us through novel movements with awareness. Small, gentle movements and focused attention, leading to sense of deep relaxation as well as a feeling of better connections between mind, body and the space beyond. A gentle expansion in being and doing.

Our first lesson focuses on the dominant hand. Moshe Feldenkrais observed that almost everyone would hold more tension in their dominant hand than necessary. This lesson offers the possibility of having a gentle awareness of the movement in this hand, without habitual unnecessary tension. 

For about 40 minutes we rested on our backs, on our blankets, on the carpeted floor of the Life Centre. Exploring the movements in our dominant hand (and for every one there this was the right hand) we simply rested the upper arm on the ground by our sides, arm bent at the elbow, with lower part of the arm held perpendicular to the ground. Starting with the hand held with fingers pointing continuing in the direction of the lower arm. Then we experimented with allowing the hand to relax down, bending at the wrist. Repeating, alternating, slowly raising and then allowing to fall, before then following steps where attention was given to different parts of the hand. Moving each finger in turn, for example. Touching thumb to little finger. This sequence of guided movements is extraordinarily successful in relaxing tension that perhaps you didn’t even know you had.

Similarly, in lesson 2 we were able to experience real and deep relaxation in our eyes through a sequence of guided moves. 40 minutes resting with our eyes closed, moving our eyes, in the dark under our lids or under our palms. Anyone who has done a Feldenkrais lesson involving micro movements of the eye might be aware of just how much concentration and brain power is needed. It can be absorbing. It can be tiring. And for some it can result in a few minutes of sleep! Afterwards I felt almost too relaxed for speech.

As our teacher pointed out, there is a rigour in the approach in these lessons and in following through exact directions for these often novel combinations of movements of the eye. It might be enjoyable and it might be relaxing and it also involves a focused attention. Perhaps relaxing and enjoyable in part because of the precise focus of attention?

This second lesson on the eyes involved palming. This technique can give an idea of how relaxed our eyes, our brains and our bodies are. An alert/anxious state generally shows as patterns of light and colour when we palm our eyes. By the end of the guided movements of eyes, palming revealed dark, inky, velvety blackness, suggesting a more relaxed state, not just in the eyes, but throughout the body.

There’s more on this in Norman Doidge’s  book: The Brain’s Way of Healing.

As a rough guide, about 30% of the brain that attends to movement is taken up with hands. Another 30% with facial areas. Our third lesson got our brain linking these areas with a focus on the universal activity of pointing*. 

For a few minutes at the start of this lesson we played with standing and pointing our index finger and just noticing our movements as we looked and pointed around the space we were in. Then, in the more usual position for a Feldenkrais lesson, resting on the floor, we explored connections. For example of our left side with our knees bent, head resting on left arm, taking our right arm so that it extended on the floor pointing above our heads. Extending the arm slightly, just a centimetre or two and then allowing a bit of a roll, noticing. Taking our right leg long and then extending that away. Extending arm and leg, pointing index finger away above heads, foot extending the opposite way. A small gentle rolling action. And much relief across the body. A feeling of lightness.

The Feldenkrais Method is a delightful way to experience better connections. Between mind-body, neural networks, body systems. And with that can come a gentler way of asserting your body’s ability to move with ease.
For our next Feldenkrais Friday we will be exploring ways to bend with ease. Bending backwards, forwards, sideways. Easy bending. So much of our lives involves these bending movements. How delightful it can feel when we can bring a gentle sense of connection to these movements. To experience the benefits, you are invited to join us for our next workshop on Friday 13th July.
 

*For more on the universal nature of pointing see Raymond Tallis’s Michelangelo’s finger.