Move Better – Feel Better – Be Better – with Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement
Move better - good movement is healthy, efficient, enjoyable to do, good to look at, and it helps maintain the healthy running of your whole self – strong bones; elastic, responsive muscles; healthy, pain-free joints, and of course good balance and coordination!
Feel better - when we know how to move well, everything we do feels better; sitting is ok, even if it is all day; walking is pleasurable for longer, joints and muscles stop complaining, you can break into a sprint or squat down to pick something up without hesitation…
Moving better means better breathing, which is good for your mental and emotional state, as well as your internal organs and your immune system.
Be better - better at living, better at learning, better at (not) ageing, better at adapting when something unexpected comes along, better at pacing yourself, i.e. stopping when you need to stop before your body reacts by forcing you stop.
Feldenkrais is different, moving better will make more difference to you than just being stronger or more flexible - recent research makes it clear that when we move better in old age – specifically getting up from the floor with ease – we live longer.
In this workshop I am focussing on increasing freedom and mobility in the joints of our arms and legs – weightless, integrated arms; strong, resilient legs; intelligent, supple hands; elastic, durable feet – great lessons for anyone who would likes lots of movement – after this session you will be able to reach better, crouch and squat better, walk better, and play better!
Intensive Workshops in North London – this Summer and Autumn
The Skylight Centre
Highbury & Islington, N5
HumanSong–Spontaneous Self-Expression From The Heart
A Feldenkrais Embodied Voice Workshop
August 28th – 31st (Tuesday – Friday)
11.30 am – 5.30 pm each day (11.15 am – 5.15pm on Weds 29th)
Early Bird fee £260 / £300 after June 18th
An Overview of HumanSong:
Birdsong is a constant and enduring source of joy for the human heart – the natural exuberance of these many and varied voices, going about their business in our midst, are as reliable a source of pleasure in the town as in the country – an ever-present musical backdrop in all our lives.
As a city dweller I enjoy a great deal of the humansong around me too – the young boys shrieking in their bedroom next door, wordless communications blasting through the walls from all the other homes surrounding my ground floor flat; flocks of teenage girls and boys passing my window all through term time, singing, shouting, teasing and showing off as they make their way to and from their playing fields.
Nevertheless, as we mature spontaneous outbursts begin to feel less and less appropriate, and from quite an early age we begin the process of inhibiting and containing ourselves. Most families, some more than others, impose often unacknowledged restraints on how much attention we draw to ourselves, how much noise we make, what we are free to say and how we are allowed to express ourselves. If I sneak a peak at the passing schoolchildren there are already some that are near silent – young people holding themselves apart from their more exuberant companions. How old were you when you began to feel self-conscious and in some way fundamentally inappropriate?
HumanSong is the term I am using to evoke the full range of spontaneous natural resonant frequencies and qualities that the human voice can produce. We come into the world squalling -communicating pure un-contained human emotion – loud, uninhibited, demanding, assertive and beyond reason. As we grow we discover more of the capabilities of our instrument, tuning into the human soundscape surrounding us, becoming better able to distinguish and convey meaning, developing our listening abilities in tandem with our range of expressive vocal noises, preparing our selves to inhabit and expand the human soundscape that surrounds us.
HumanSong is not singing, but it is the core of our ability to sing with our whole heart.
It is not speaking, but it is the foundation of our extraordinary communication capabilities.
It is not performance, but it enhances every aspect of performance.
It is the essence of our enormous range of communicating behaviours – speaking, singing, and mimicking all the other sounds around us – animal, musical, mechanical, digital, and those of the natural world.
In this workshop we will be expanding our sensory-motor awareness, and diminishing unnecessary and habitual constrictions in every part of our sound-making selves – vocal structures, respiratory structures, diaphragms and sphincters, and the fascial-musculo-skeletal system that forms the physical foundations of our vocal ease and power.
The Feldenkrais Approach to Well-Being
Many of us are so used to living in a state of compulsive muscular resistance that we cannot remember what moving with ease feels like. Awareness Through Movement teaches you to let go, to sense with full clarity the unconscious constraints that maintain the invisible corsets we live and move and speak and sing from within – and to .
Feldenkrais teaches us how to unravel these persistent muscular tensions, using carefully designed movement sequences as a very effective way to lower muscular effort throughout the whole self, and the long-term aim is greater ease in every aspect of life. Every time you can catch yourself in the act of tensing back up again, you learn a little more about yourself, your limiting beliefs, your true feelings, and your suppressed desires. Once you start to get a handle on what is making you so resistant and wary and armoured against those around you, then it becomes possible to begin to truly renew yourself.
I aim to have a recorded version of this course available at a discount rate for attendees in time for this workshop.
Awaken Your Serpentine Spine–Feldenkrais & Core Potency
October 13th & 14th
11.30 am – 5.30 pm each day
Early Bird fee £130 / £150 after July 31st
It is pleasing to realise that graceful movement comes from an agile torso and an awakened spine. We resist the force of gravity most effectively not by making ourselves more solid, but by being more responsive. In Japan, where the ground is particularly unreliable, early architectural engineers discovered the way to keep a building from falling down every time there was an earthquake was to design them to be unstable – it is amazing to watch these buildings withstanding earthquakes due to their flexibility rather than their rigidity – true dynamic stability in action! Imagine how these enormous structures shift, as they adjust to the moving ground, and then imagine trying to control the necessary adjustments manually. We make the same kind of complex shifts to stay upright on a moving bus – now imagine trying to activate your torso muscles in the right sequence consciously!
In this workshop I will be updating my core resilience process to a more energy focussed theme – Dynamic Core Potency means…
The muscles of your torso are working in natural synergy
Your breathing is full, responsive and effective
You balance with ease whatever is going on under your feet
You can sit comfortably for long periods
Walking is light and fluid, and your legs and your head both weigh less, and you walk more like a dancer
Your movements are effortlessly graceful and strong
Your spinal/neural energy centres are better aligned, increasing your sense of inner integration and vitality
Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement
It is a very rare upbringing indeed that does not include encouragement to struggle and strive as the only reliable way to achieve better results. This brainwashing begins in early childhood, long before we have had a chance to discover our own preferences and inclinations. The requirement to please others, and seek validation outside of ourselves, is usually so entrained in us by the time we reach adulthood that we have no need of any further influence to keep up the pressure on ourselves throughout our lives. Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement is the perfect tool to enable anyone who wishes to undo all the unconscious habitual muscular control this constant pressure creates – for many of us this search for individual well-being only begins when the strain becomes too much, and our physical and mental health begins to suffer – and for the most sensitive of us that can happen so early in life that it feels impossible to imagine an easier, more pleasurable, more joyful way to be.
I am developing the concept of the Art of Allowing, to describe the ability to achieve the fluid, playful, spontaneous way of being that Feldenkrais is designed to help you master. Of course mastery is a slow business, and we all know that the most valuable skills repay the commitment we make to explore and develop them: these workshops will include simple-to-follow practice notes, and ongoing support from me, so there will be no reason not to get the maximum benefit possible from the new way of being you are learning to embody.
Awareness Through Movement and Embodied Voice workshops are ideal for you whether you are beginning the process of improving your health and mobility for the first time, or are perhaps already on a path of self-healing, and thus familiar with practices such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Aikido, Open Focus Meditation, and Heart Rhythm Meditation – Feldenkrais can enhance any practice designed to improve our health, our posture, our sleep patterns and our daily sense of joy.
Learning to move freely and spontaneously in all dimensions, with mindful self-focus and heightened sensory motor awareness is a wonderful skill for…
Self-calming and de-stressing
Self-healing and pain relief
Self-awareness and self-knowledge – plus
Self-development and personal growth
Become the most self-aware and fully integrated version of yourself – use mindful movement to bring your whole being into unity and harmony. This intimate workshop will be ideal as an introduction to Feldenkrais or a great way to renew your relationship with Feldenkrais and reboot your practice if you have had a break from classes or private lessons.
The connection between Awareness Through Movement and mindfulness is pretty easy to recognise, and perhaps can even provide a way to develop a better understanding of what Feldenkrais is all about. Using the brain’s ability to learn, unlearn and relearn (the practical meaning of “neuroplasticity) as a tool for health and well-being should be obvious, but somehow isn’t. Even when it is better understood it is mostly in the context of curing serious neurological problems, not for those of us who have just developed bad muscular habits and self-defeating approaches to new challenges in life. I have been thinking about these ideas for a while now and am beginning to finally put them down on paper. I think Feldenkrais is particularly useful for those who find it difficult to meditate effectively! Developing your Awareness Through Movement skills can enable you to move, do and be in a mindful way throughout your day. For more on this idea, you might like to read my most recent article on this theme.
Call or email Maggy to make enquiries or to book your workshop place:
07976 640 737 or 020 7642 1457
…and if you are new to Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, here is a brief introduction.
Moshe Feldenkrais wasn’t only an engineer, he was also a Judo teacher, and his Method reveals his expertise in both these areas of practical knowledge. As he experimented with ways to teach his judo students to be better fighters he began to be interested in how we learn, and what gets in the way of learning. He was particularly struck by how ingrained habits of movement can be hard to unlearn and he taught his fighters to work with rather than against their own natural responses when under attack. He saw that all of us have the capability to continue to develop new abilities throughout our lives, and that this capacity to upgrade our own brains and refine our sensory-motor awareness was the ideal way to recover from injury and prolong the healthy functioning of our selves, physically and mentally. He was confident that learning how to move less habitually and with more awareness would naturally lead to releasing us from habitual emotional attitudes and patterns of thought as well. Here is a snippet of Feldenkrais lecturing about movement and Campbell Soup!