Feldenkrais as a “Method” came from a man with a huge curiosity about the fundamentals of human potential; Moshe gathered information and ideas from many sources, but the concepts that form the core of his Method came out of his deep understanding of physics (both engineering and neuro), child development (via his wife) and the martial arts, specifically Ju Jitsu and Judo – he taught and wrote about Judo for much of his life. I came to Feldenkrais via Tai Chi and the similarities were unmissable.
“The difference between Rou (resilience) and Ruan (softness) is rather significant – the former is like a coiled spring or stretched elastic band which has the potential to bounce back with full force while the latter is like soggy noodles which has no power, no potential apart from being consumed. To use another example, water in itself is soft but large volume of water can produce waves powerful enough to destroy any thing on land.”
This extract from a Tai chi blog echoes Moshe’s dislike of the word “relaxation”, and I understand his rejection of this image of flaccid collapse, but I usually let the word go by when teaching, as ‘feeling more relaxed’ is often the way a new client describes their first dawning of awareness of a new way of being for themselves and their overworked nervous systems.
All of these conceptual aspects of life include an understanding of spiral forces in human movement – the coils of the spring store and release energy in a way that has established the image as one of our most popular cliches. It is how we punch and kick, and is easy to see in these actions. It is also how we shift in two dimensions – upwards and forwards, downwards and sideways, backwards and leftwards. Spirals help us fly through the air to twist over bars and ropes, they come into play as we swim and climb trees. I wrote an article about it not that long ago, so I won’t go on too long here, just wanted to share some great video of spiral movements, human and otherwise, for you to enjoy, and maybe you will fancy coming to one of my workshops, discover your own spirals, and begin to connect with some of the unaccessed potential energy inside yourself.
This is a film I used in the first article I wrote but it is so perfect for my thesis I am including it here – this film of athletic Shaolin monks in action, complete with biophysicial analysis, reveals movement spirals in slow motion for easy analysis:
This dancer plays with hoops and spirals and claims the name “spiraldancer” for her YouTube channel:
And here is another dancer, one who seems to be able to isolate each of his muscles to move them individually and then recombine to create movements that look almost impossible:
This very young climber is employing more subtle spirals to extend her reach and find purchase on her climbing wall – don’t miss her triumphant yell as she reaches a satisfying place of stability on her way up:
Humans are obviously just the end of a long sequence of evolutionary development that has the double helix of the DNA sequence at its core – so here are some amazing creature spirals to finish – this is beautiful, but it is a snake, so you are free to bypass if they make you nervous!
And spirals are particularly obvious when big handsome mammals are swimming underwater, like this jaguar:
Let’s finish with a fascinating slow motion demonstration of a slinky moving in a really unfamiliar way:
Moving In Spirals – Free Yourself From Gravity!
When we “move well” we barely notice the muscular power we are using – each action morphs smoothly into the next, requiring only easy natural self-awareness, not effort. This is because our bones are supporting our weight the way they evolved to do, leaving our muscles free to act spontaneously and with full vitality. Much of what we do is performed without this ease and awareness, so that we huff and puff and sigh and groan our way through the necessary activities of the day, hauling ourselves out of bed, collapsing into chairs and struggling back out of them, grunting as we pick something up from the floor (having braced ourselves in order to be able to bend down in the first place), and grunting again as we reach upward to change a bulb or access a shelf. The elegant design of the human skeleton allows for each of these actions to blend easily into the next until we are making all our transitions in a way that has the effort-free fluidity of dancing. This workshop will explore these skeletal spirals in ways that you can apply to all your daily activities!
Contact Maggy for upcoming workshop information:
07976 640737 or 020 7642 1457