Feldenkrais Extends Youthfulness
There are ways to keep young. The main one is to keep moving. But what kind of moving?
The Feldenkrais Method, named after its founder Moshe Feldenkrais, is a vehicle for keeping-you-young-through-moving.
Feldenkrais is a kind of exercise class, taught by Feldenkrais Practitioners who, in the U.S., have been trained and certified by the Feldenkrais Guild of North America.
What happens in these classes? First of all, you are indoors, with men and women, in a medium-sized room, wearing ordinary clothes and without shoes. To begin the instructor may ask you to stand or sit, but more commonly to lie down. She, or he, begins with a scan – guiding you to focus inwardly and pass your attention sequentially through your body. The purpose is to register more clearly your starting condition. Then, there will be an instruction to do something. The action will most likely be described and not demonstrated.
What kind of action will be asked? Perhaps, something as simple as raising your arm. The challenging part is to do it with awareness. To use an adult word, this is a kind of meditative movement. But in the terms of a young person, it is a call to feel yourself.
Over an hour, a sequence of instructions will unfold. Remaining in your own inner space, you will take movements slowly and gently that are from the activities of daily living. The point is to attend to the quality of your movement. A goal is to become smoother, more supple and better coordinated, as the young everywhere are.
At first, you may deeply wonder where these movements are going, but gradually insights may arise:
- There is more than one way to do the same thing.
- It is possible to be more relaxed.
- The center of the body can be frozen. Activating it is a task.
- Coordinating the center of the body with the limbs brings power.
- Breathing while moving is often neglected, but helpful.
- Work with the eyes can make a surprisingly big contribution.
- The unknown is interesting.
Near the close of the class, the instructor will guide you through the scan again. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.
In standing and coming out of your meditative bubble, you may prefer to remain silent. Or you may turn to a classmate, smile, and say: “I feel good!”
So simple! So young.