Finding Our Feet For The First Time…

Baby Steps

…a Feldenkrais ‘foundation’ course…

The first question new folk usually ask me is “what is Feldenkrais”, and the second is “How does is differ from…” *something else* the questioner already knows something about. There are many answers, but the one that I would like to explore in my first every Summer School is the connection between how we approach teaching people to be better and more effective independent learners and the early developmental process we all go through as children. 

Moshe Feldenkrais was married to Yona Rubenstein, a child development expert, and her perspective helped him recognise how naturally and spontaneously we humans accumulate new learning and new abilities when we are allowed to explore and discover and play in an unconstrained way. What is holding many adults back from the continuous learning process that evolution has designed us for is the less flexible ways of thinking and doing that become instilled in our nervous systems once we are pressured into learning by rote, in a physically limited environment, with an expectation of narrowly defined “correct” outcomes – in other words exactly what our current education system is founded on. So this will be an alternative foundation course, one that explores the foundations of life-long learning. Each day will be the natural preparation for the next stage of development. Just as in real life it will not matter if you miss a day as this holistic learning process allows for the gaps to fill in naturally, but having the recording for each day will enable you to go back to any development stage that feels particularly relevant to you. 

My natural interests mean that we will be looking at the development of the voice and the organisational importance of the eyes as we go along, and my current researches into state-of-the-art anatomical science means I will be including not just neuroplasticity, but also bio-plasticity and the elements of our development that are already in place in the womb. 

Each daily lesson and discussion will be recorded so that you won’t miss a day, and will have plenty of time to explore both the Awareness Through Movement and the interrelated Embodied Voice sequences after the Summer School is over. This will be an ideal way to prepare for joining a ongoing regular class. I will have three weekly classes running from September onwards– two on Zoom, and one live (SE14) –however there are many other classes to choose from, and other teachers to connect with, all over the world, both live and online, so there will be nothing to prevent you getting the full benefits of a regular Feldenkrais practise wherever you are in the world.

Contact me if you would like to book a place, and do not hesitate to send me your phone number if you would like to have a conversation about the course – I will be writing more about it and posting information up on the Writing section of this website .

Syllabus (still being finalised, but this will give you some idea):

1.   First breaths – sucking, and squawling

2. Flexing – Hands & Feet – Bell Hand #1

3. Flexing and rolling – 180 degrees of horizontal motion – Eyes #1

4. Flexing and rolling – 180 degrees of vertical motion – Eyes #2

5. Rolling and coming to sitting from lying on your side – Bell Hand #2

6. Extensors – Crawling

7. Integrating Flexors & Extensors – Rolling On Belly – Eyes #3

8. Hands and Knees – Lying to Sitting to Standing – Exploring Locomotion

9. Exploring Coming To Standing From Lying, Sitting & Squatting. 

10. Moving in any direction without preparation – including up!

Here is Irene Lyon’s sweet baby, Liv, to give you an idea of the sort of movments we will be exploring…

..with the potential to get us all moving about with ease on the floor again…
…and finally, a longer compilation of Awareness Through Movement ideas from my International community!

The Feldenkrais Method

Would you like to get more done with less effort? 

Would you like to achieve athletic grace without dull, repetitive exercise? 

Would you like to improve your core functioning in a way that benefits your mobility, your strength, your balance, your breathing, your emotional ease, and your posture, in a way that is easy to maintain with gentle, playful, joyful regular practice?

Feldenkrais has something special to offer––something more global, more whole-self, more “organic” than simply offering you looser shoulders, better posture, more mobile hips, a freer neck––although these are all potential benefits, they are just side effects.

Many people are familiar with the idea of moving more “ergonomically” but I am pretty confident that most of those people would not associate that word with having any fun. Fun is fundamental to Feldenkrais, because we humans learn best when we are having fun as we go along – you only have to spend time in a room full of happy toddlers to see this learning process in action.

The Potent Self is my favourite of Feldenkrais’ books about his Method. His writings tend to offer a dense mix of  human development and neuroscience – his sense of fun is more recognisable when he is interacting with a room full of people all rolling about on the floor. The Potent Self – subtitled A Study Of Spontaneity And Compulsion – is the book that helped me understand why my Feldenkrais training was making such a big difference, not just my physical health, but also my emotional health, and therefore my ability to feel at ease in social situations.

Moshe’s understanding of the relationship between health and our inner sense of “safety” prefigures the work of Dr. Stephen Porges, and as my hyper-vigilance began to recede my enjoyment of life increased exponentially, and that process is continuing to this day.

By making the connection between personal potency and the vast field of human potential that continuing self development is central to, I am hoping to get some of you Feldenkrais virgins curious enough to come along and try it out. An immersive daily course is an excellent way to discover what this work has to offer, and those in the know – my regulars – come along to a class whenever they can, whatever the theme, because they know they will end the class feeling taller, livelier, lighter on their feet, more coordinated, breathing more fully, and even – perhaps surprisingly – stronger. They also know that these changes will last for a while, and some of them even do their “homework” and maintain these improvements for longer still.

For many of us the joy of watching a skilled athlete, dancer, or martial artist is seeing human movement at its most vibrant and graceful. Athletic movement is beautiful precisely because of its economy, efficiency, natural elegance and its distinct humanity. We look at the fluid grace of these masters of movement and imagine that this level of ease is beyond us, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, athletic power takes work, but when we do not waste our energy in inefficient self-use and poorly coordinated action then grace, fluidity and intrinsic strength emerge spontaneously.

Of course it takes attention and practice to change the way we do what we do, what it doesn’t take is more hard work; in fact just the opposite, as soon as you start to bring Awareness Through Movement into your life you will begin achieving more with less effort on a daily basis.

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