I Feel Good When I Move
The natural condition of the human being is that it feels good to move. Unfortunately, bad things can happen so this is no longer true. In many cases, fortunately, this situation can be turned around by taking individual sessions or group classes in the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education.
Feldenkrais (rhymes with nice) is a system of movement sequences that help you regain comfortable movement when it has gotten away from you, and help you fine tune everyday coordination when you are searching for a higher level.
The founder of the Method, Moshe Feldenkrais (1904 – 1984) might have said that he created a system of exercises, but he didn’t. That’s because he didn’t like that word. As he said with his customary and energetic pointedness: “Lions and tigers don’t exercise. They move!”
The hallmarks of healthy movement that Feldenkrais had in mind include:
Comfort within a wide range of activities
Strength without rigidity
Enviable grace and flow
Awareness of options
Ability to change
Quiet stamina and endurance
Ability to rest and restore
The Feldenkrais Method cultivates these attributes through a great variety of movement themes, distilled into sequences, which are called lessons.
One of the themes is twisting. It is very important for comfortable walking to be able to twist in your torso. Without it, the torso becomes stiff, like a turtle’s shell, and the junctions of the limbs with the torso are overworked. This means life is hard for the hip joints, the shoulder joints and the neck. But as soon as twist is restored, these joints give a great sigh of relief.
In cultivating twist, it is important to go into fine detail. Each vertebra and each rib has to be coaxed into making its individual contribution. Very often, some parts of the torso twist a lot, while others do precious little. You will feel best when each one gives its natural amount.
Since all the parts of the body, and the self, are interconnected, one can begin to make improvement through many gates. For instance, one can begin by working with breathing, by working with eyes, and by working with individual joints, such as the knees and ankles.
Today we are likely to respond to Moshe Feldenkrais’s challenge like this: “Lions and tigers don’t sit at computers!” He would nod sympathetically and then give us a push – to get busy moving in the way he developed. It will bring us as close as possible to the human equivalent of the big cats’ natural grace and power.