Feldenkrais: What’s In A Name? Everything!


Hi folks,

Cat. From: http://goo.gl/1rtnS

We think in terms of symbols, as far as I can tell. For instance, the word ‘cat‘ is linked to an image in your mind. Probably a different image in you, myself, a zoo keeper, a lion tamer, and the person who created the bizarre picture on the right, but an image nonetheless. For me, I think that this word will always be associated with my visual, tactile (soft and black, with sharp claws), and auditory (purring) memories of Alobar, from kittenhood to senescence. Humans are visual creatures, but words have become the symbolic language of our brains in written or spoken format. We stuff a whole world of information and assumptions into a scribbled representation of an uttered grunting sound. This noise maybe perceived as eloquent to us, but I am pretty sure that to a turtle or a frog we just make bizarre, hissing, popping, sniffing, gagging noises. To many of us a picture of an Olympic Medal can be a powerful symbol. If you have a chance to see one, you might want a photograph of you near or holding the medal just to display on your mantelpiece, or whatever the central-heated equivalent of a mantlepiece might be for you. I have actually seen people do this with my own eyes – very odd! I never cease to be amazed at what we humans do, but of course I consider all of my behavior to be completely normal. For an extreme example of symbolic language, just take a look at Mathematics. A single ‘sentence’ of about five ‘words’ can take you a lifetime to understand. Words are powerful to humans, and they can be used to manipulate or inspire us, which brings me to Feldenkrais.

The only problem with Feldenkrais is its ‘silly name,’ whether you are an admirer of Moshe Feldenkrais (which I am) or not. When I first heard the name from Karen, my Feldenkrais Instructor, I said, “what did you say, Frankenstein?” I wasn’t joking. That is the word that my mind used to fill in the blanks because the sound ‘Feldenkrais’ didn’t compute. Our minds fill in blanks all the time, by the way. The Feldenkrais Method guides you through an exploration of the best way of moving, for you personally. I can almost hear people saying in response to this, “Whatever,” but they are unwise to dismiss the wisdom of this interesting man and his equally interesting followers.

Here is a classic Feldenkrais approach to the development of awareness with respect to moving from a sitting position on a chair to standing. It is a very simple but somewhat meditative exercise during which your body is undertaking a delicate dance with gravity.

There are many ways to carry out this important daily activity, some safe and some less safe, especially for the elderly. Whilst making the movement you quietly scan your body for tension, imbalance, or any sense of stress induced by the action. The goal is to locate and eliminate or minimize self-induced stresses which may result from defects in your skeleton, old injuries inducing tightness, or the way you improperly learned to complete that action the first time in your life, and from which you have never deviated.

Here is another video on the application of Biomechanics to safe living, which might just save your hips and thus your life one day when you become elderly, which I hope you do.

Finally, yet another video (there are many available) that shows how ‘Feldenkrais-thinking’ can be applied to neck tension by using quiet, small, meditative movements. When you swim, run or bike, neck and shoulder relaxation is critical for optimal performance and enjoyment. This video shows you an effective technique, which may well reduce your risk of neck and shoulder pain.

I have learned a great deal from my studies of Feldenkrais and I continue to do so each time I go. Again, this is not an advertisement, and I receive no monetary gain from ‘promoting’ The Feldenkrais Method. I just want others to know about it, as Feldenkrais has helped me so much.

-k Your Medical Mind


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.