Clap Your Way To Body Awareness For Improved Exercise And Health


Hi folks! Thanks for stopping by!

FitOldDog at the Opera in Rome

FitOldDog at the Opera, Il Naso, in Rome, not fitting in too well as training gear left no room for a tuxedo in my bag, not that I have one.

Funny how you can learn about optimal body movement at the oddest of times, if you are interested in the issue. We attended an Opera in Rome the other day, as a special treat, and you can see from the adjacent picture that I didn’t really fit in too well with respect to my chosen attire. But I sure enjoyed the show, Il Naso, about someone who lost their nose, or dreamt that they did. The show was followed by lots of clapping, which led to my thinking about my experiences with body movement classes using the Feldenkrais method. I learned that there are many ways to approach any action, including beating an egg, lifting a pitcher of water, standing up, running, or, yes, you’ve guessed it, clapping. In fact, if you injure yourself, your body will find ways to achieve desired actions by changing your movements to reduce pain in the affected site. This response can be damaging in the long run, as it places strain on unusual areas of the body, which are sometimes ill-prepared to undertake the task. This is called guarding, or “chronic psychosomatic tension,” and it can lead to all sorts of problems during physical activities, if the altered movements persist after the injury has healed and such movements are suboptimal.

After the opera was over, I observed the enthusiastic throng of clappers, who demonstrated many ways to approach this applause process. Just watch Deb clapping in the short video below, and see if you can determine which muscle groups dominate her movements, and then work out which ones fix different parts of her body to permit the impact that produces the sound. This is classic Feldenkrais thinking, and it can improve your swim, bike, run, or even how you walk along the street, especially as you age.

Exploring such a question mentally, followed by attempts to determine as many different ways to clap as possible, is a great introduction to the Feldenkrais method of body movement optimization. You get to find which way works most easily and smoothly for you. Then you take this learning into your sport. I do, anyway, and it sure works for me.

For some people, clapping movement is largely confined to the hands, whilst others recruit their entire body (much like our labrador retriever, Willbe, when he wags his tail).

How do you clap?

-k @FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.