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Welcome to TCF, Twin Cities Feldenkrais

Group and private Feldenkrais study with Nick Strauss-Klein

“What I’m after isn’t flexible bodies but flexible brains.
What I’m after is to restore each person to their human dignity.”

- Moshe Feldenkrais, D. Sci., 1904-1984
 

Notes, Announcements, & Updates from Nick and TCF

Salon.com publishes chapter on Moshe Feldenkrais and his method from new book by Norman Doidge, M.D., The Brain's Way of Healing

doidge healing coverLots of excitement these days among Feldenkrais students and practitioners: a new mainstream neuroscience book by a respected physician and professor devotes two of its eight chapters to Moshe Feldenkrais and the Feldenkrais Method. I’d like to introduce it to you as “required reading” for Feldenkrais students and anyone curious about the method. Here’s a collection of ways to learn all about the book.

Salon.com has excerpted a portion of one of the chapters and you can read it right here!: “She will dance at her wedding”: Healing the girl born without part of her brain. The origin of Moshe Feldenkrais’ therapeutic method reads more like a spy thriller than a neuroscience textbook. 

This book, Dr. Norman Doidge’s The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity, is a brand new New York Times bestseller and the #1 book on the Amazon.com neuroscience list, following up on his excellent book The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science.

Here’s a description and some book review excepts put together by The Feldenkrais Guild of North America. And Ilona Fried, a colleague of mine, has written up an excellent book review of sorts with some responses and descriptions.

The excerpted chapter also contains the best description of The Feldenkrais Method that I’ve found available in one place. In the Salon.com excerpt you can read all about the man, the history of the method, and a wonderful story of its application. Unfortunately Doidge’s list and discussion of the principles of The Feldenkrais Method didn’t make it into the Salon.com excerpt.

I had a chance to present the Feldenkrais Method to a class at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing last week. In an effort to learn, teach, and promote this excellent new book, I created this list of Doidge’s eleven core principles as a study guide for understanding the Feldenkrais Method. After exploring a brief Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lesson together, I handed it out to the class as a basis of discussion about our learning through movement moments before. This experiential then intellectual study proved to be a very effective way to introduce and contextualize the Feldenkrais (meaning neuroplastic) learning process.

The discussion that follows each of Doidge’s core principle headings in The Brain’s Way of Healing includes accessible explanations, quotations from Moshe Feldenkrais’ books and resonances with his biography and extensive study in many fields, and context from contemporary neuroscience.

These chapters and the whole book are an excellent resource for anyone interested in Feldenkrais or mind-body based wellness. If you’re not familiar with Feldenkrais it’s a great place to start, and if you are, please help our growing community spread the word by recommending this book to your friends and family!

First series of audio lessons now available!

I’m thrilled to have my first series of related ATM lessons online and ready for listening. It’s called Integrating the Legs for Standing, Walking, and Running.

Today I also added the Paypal Donate button. The time and money costs for the project are significant but I believe it’s important to make Feldenkrais study easily accessible to all, with no barrier to entry. Your donations are much appreciated! Thank you for your support, and please spread the word!

The Brain That Changes Itself

I’ve just finished a book that’s very popular with the Feldenkrais community (I’m quite late to the party, actually): The Brain That Changes Itself, Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge. It’s a fascinating read consisting primarily of stories and studies illustrating neuroplasticity, the science on which the Feldenkrais Method is built. The author ends the often very uplifting book with an interesting warning, using a paraphrasing of Rousseau (who died in 1778) speaking about the popular concept of his time known in French as perfectibilité (the idea of the changeable, improvable nature of humankind).

[Perfectibilité] provided hope, but was not always a blessing. Because we could change, we did not always know what was natural in us and what was acquired from our culture. Because we could change, we could be overly shaped by culture and society to a point where we drifted too far from our true nature and became alienated from ourselves. While we may rejoice at the thought that the brain and human nature may be improved, the idea of human perfectibility or plasticity stirs up a hornet’s nest of moral problems.

 

I find myself making many references in my teaching to how we hold our pelvises forward or “tail tucked,” keep our knees close together in seated, collapse from our true height in order to socialize, etc… — all ways that we deny the most natural, functional, and sustainable self-use dictated by our anatomy in order to meet cultural expectations of what is proper.

Doidge’s book is full of remarkable stories of healing and human improvement, but he ends by reminding us that neuroplasticity can lead both to human improvement and rigidity. Attempting to become aware enough of ourselves and our interactions with the world to know the difference is a primary goal of Feldenkrais study.

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