“I enjoyed the gentle quality of the class,” remembers Rarick.
The practice of moving with less effort and finding the path of least resistance is at odds with the music world.
“Musicians have compulsive and perfectionist tendencies. We need to be that way to examine the detail of the work we do. If you tell a musician to do it 5 times they will do it 20 times. They are wired to think more is more. Push it more and get it is the motto. We perform under stress and we have to be consistent. The Feldenkrais Method helps you to deal with that situation,” states Rarick. “Because we are small muscle athletes this is important.”
“What Feldenkrais does is help you to understand the direct path to a goal that is not always the best path. Sometimes indirect can be more powerful than direct. The Feldenkrais work shows that to you in a way that you can understand. You can’t make a mistake in a Feldenkrais lession. It’s OK to not be perfect. When you finish a lesson you feel relaxed and calm and you notice you are much more grounded.”
“What I understand by maturity, is the capacity of the individual to break up total situations of previous experience into parts, to reform them into a pattern most suitable to the present circumstance, i.e., the conscious control effectively becomes the over-riding servo-mechanism of the nervous system”.
Moshe Feldenkrais, D. Sc.
Extract from an interview with Alan Questel (By Tommie St. Cyr)
St. Cyr: I’ve always loved a particular quote of Dr. Feldenkrais, “If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.”
Questel: He said it often and it is one of the underlying tenets of our work. It may sound like an obvious and simple statement but if we pose it as questions “Do you know what you want?” and “Do you know what you are doing?” we find that they are not so easily answered. These statements, or questions, are the source of the inquiry that Moshe spent his whole life developing. (…)
St. Cyr: How does this relate to the actor?
Questel: In many ways. On the most basic level we are tuning the actor’s instrument, that is their body and voice. Every time one does a Feldenkraislesson they have the chance to broaden how they experience themselves. This is a felt experience that is represented in how one moves. Internally the actor feels different and is often perceived as looking different from the world.
St. Cyr: How does this actually happen?
Questel: Well you’re sitting right now. If I ask you “What are you aware of in sitting?” You may say “My back against the chair or my buttocks on the seat or my feet on the floor.” But if I ask you “What is the back of your neck doing? Or your chest? or your shins?” Your attention goes to these places and you either say, “It’s doing this” or “I have no idea what it is doing.”
But the fact is these parts are always involved in everything you do; your whole self is involved in everything you do, but we only sense certain parts of ourselves in our actions and its generally the same parts. By using our attention through systematic movement sequences we can learn to expand our perception of ourselves. Now if we bring this idea into movement and actions it allows for different kinds of communications to take place. If you got out of your chair to get a drink, it would be different than if you got out of the chair because you realized you sat in something, which would be different than how you would get up if you saw a child about to hurt themselves.
(from Association of Theatre Movement Educators (ATME) January 1995-Volume 3, Number 1)
Scientists have proved that the brain changes while learning.
This process is called Neuroplasticity (from neural – pertaining to the nerves and/or brain and plastic – moldable or changeable in structure), also known as brain plasticity, and it refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses which are due to changes in behavior, environment and neural processes, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury.
Neuroplasticity has replaced the formerly-held position that the brain is a physiologically static organ, and explores how – and in which ways – the brain changes throughout life.
The Feldenkrais Method® is based on this idea, the idea of being able to change the way of thinking, of moving and of behaving by introducing in your neuro-system new efficient ways to use your body in a more functional way.
The Feldenkrais Method® is easy: the lessons use basic everyday words, the touch is gentle and communicative, you are encouraged to cherish comfort and to reduce effort. The old idea of «No pain no gain» makes chaos in the nervous system and effort in the body. It should be thrown out from the daily vocabular, and we can show you how.
The Feldenkrais Method® is efficient: it has a reputation for helping people when everyone else failed. But you don’t have to be injured or helpless to have benefit from the method. We work with musicians, dancers and athletes which just want to perform better. Feldenkrais method is efficient because it uses the principles from physics, physiology, learning theory, psychology and brain science.
The Feldenkrais Method® is safe: movements are done slowly with lot of rests and you’re encouraged to avoid mechanical, unaware repetitions which are often cause of injuries, discomfort and pain. The basic skill of the method is learning to keep the movement in range of safety and ease, limits where curiosity and learning process can be activated.
The Feldenkrais Method® is evident: everyone learns in his own time but you can notice and appreciate changes already after your first group or individual lesson.
The Feldenkrais Method® is flexible: There are hundreds of lessons and strategies and everyone of them can be adapted to fit for every individual’s requests and abilities.
The Feldenkrais Method® is interesting: People often complain about boring excercises. It uses the fact that the nervous system is attracted by new sensations. Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais created Awareness through movement® (ATM) and Functional integration® (FI) by using non habitual movement patterns made from different variations to regain function and vitality.
Through the ATM and FI lessons you become aware of your tendency of making inefficient movements that are responsible for many types of pain that we usually feel: back pain, neck pain, knees pain, joints pain are all expressions of a not efficient use of our body. In order to stop this important signal that something in our body doesn’t work very well we have to learn new patterns, new alternative movements that will help, at the beginning, to have a better understanding of the inefficient use our body and then to introduce new efficient, effective and functional ways to move. This will be the beginning of the healing process that will bring us to a total recovery or an evident reduction (at the beginning) from pain.
The Feldenkrais method® is based on the evidence that everyone has a different type of intelligence and one of these, mentioned by Feldenkrais as the Kinesthetic intelligence, is responsible for our feeling balanced and coordinated in space. For Feldenkrais scoliosis usually starts in a young age, much before the time in which it expresses itself. Already at the age of 6, under a close examination you can find the precursor of a future scoliosis and it is at this age that the child should start receiving lessons in order to develop this very fine type of intelligence that other children have developed. In any case through the Feldenkrais Method it is always possible to reorganise the posture in a better and more functional way: this means that a student can correct the scoliosis or integrate it in order to make it functional. This will allow one to use the body in a more efficient, effortless and painless way. Besides, the above analysis is true not only regarding scoliosis but also all other possible deviations from the optimal posture (khyphosis, Lordosis, etc).