Moving In Spirals – Free Yourself From Gravity!
December 16th, 2 – 6pm, £60/£50
81, Tressillian Rd, Brockley, SE4 1XZ
When we move well we barely notice the muscular power we are using – each action blends smoothly into the next, because our bones are supporting our weight the way they evolved to do, leaving our muscles free to act spontaneously and with full vitality. The elegant design of the human skeleton allows for our every action 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! More info here…
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 quote, extracted from a Tai chi blog echoes Moshe’s dislike of the word “relaxation”, and I understand his rejection of the state of flaccid collapse this word evokes, but I usually let it go by when I am teaching, as ‘feeling more relaxed’ is often the way a newcomer describes the experience of the more aware and responsive way of doing and being they have discovered during the lesson, both for their busy minds and their over-aroused nervous systems.
All processes that explore and enhance our highly evolved embodied selves include an understanding of the fundamental spiral forces in human movement – the coils of a 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 how we kick, and is easy to recognise in these actions. It is also how we move in three dimensions – upwards, sideways and forwards; downwards, backwards and sideways; backwards, upwards and leftwards. Spiralling enables us to fly through the air and to twist over bars and ropes; they come into play while we swim or 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 un-accessed potential energy inside yourself.
The film I used in the first article featured athletic Shaolin monks in action, instead here is a somewhat gendered take on the same spiralling power, by a woman who is a master of her skeleton, and her sleeves – and again, slow motion allows you to really immerse yourself in her movements…
This dancer plays with hoops and spirals in a soft easy and fluid manner – enjoy!
Much of modern dance accesses the same motion that we break down into its component parts in Awareness Through Movement, so that it looks like a Feldenkrais class on fast-forward:
This dancer is a master of pop-locking, movements intended to mimic robots, yet currently way beyond the capability of actual robot technology *Strong Language Alert:
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