New series of free streaming audio lessons, sourced directly from Moshe Feldenkrais

I’m pleased to share with you that I’ve made significant progress in my free audio project. This fall I set out to capture good recordings of my live classes with lessons I’ve sourced directly from Moshe’s 1972 classic Feldenkrais text Awareness Through Movement. As of now we’ve got five already available online, with a sixth currently in editing, coming early next week. (more…)

Exploring Moshe Feldenkrais’s book “Awareness Through Movement”

ATM book cover

Click to view on Amazon.com

I recently began teaching this five-week Feldenkrais-Fundamentals class. To share a rich resource with my students and inspire myself to dive back into a classic Feldenkrais text, I’m choosing all the lessons directly out of Moshe’s 1972 book titled Awareness Through Movement.

While it’s one of Moshe’s most accessible books, his dense scientific writing and broader musings about the social and anthropological implications of his discoveries can sometimes be a little hard to connect with. My intention here is to share one possible approach to making a practical course out of the book for members of the public, both for my current students in class and others who might be studying it. I’ll be highlighting sections I think are most important, but doubtless those of you who know the book well may have other ideas. Students and practitioners should feel free to leave comments below!
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Free ATM Audio Project Launch Day!

I’m so pleased to announce that my free ATM audio project is finally fully launched! This is the public launch of a project begun years ago, to meet requests from my ATM class students for recordings of classes. Some of the recordings date back to 2012, and the web design work began about a year ago. About a hundred hours of work in the last four months have led to fresh recordings of lessons I felt should be improved on (I’m really pleased with them now!), and discovering and surmounting a surprising number of technical hurdles, to get to the point where we’ve got the web design and audio tech working as well as it is today.

I’ve organized many of the recorded ATM lessons into a web course called Integrating the Legs for Standing, Walking, and Running. There are also other ATMs available.

You can find them all at my main audio portal: click here!

All the lessons are free! Please try them out, and if you find them valuable, consider a donation to support the project.

Here’s a little more info from my press release to the Feldenkrais Practitioner community regarding the Integrating the Legs set, if you’re curious about the details: (more…)

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 cover[Update: added a link to an excellent Brain Science Podcast interview with the book’s author, talking about this new book.]

Lots 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. (more…)

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. (more…)

Questions after a first Feldenkrais class

I had a new student come to class recently, a 28 year old woman with some varied personal and professional interests in Feldenkrais. We’ve carried on an email dialogue and I asked her permission to share some of it with you.

Hi, Nick.

Thank you for the first class in the ATM series at the Marsh. It was really interesting for me… There were some things that I’ve been told about my body (e.g., that I have a right anterior innominate tilt to my pelvis and that I over-supinate) that I actually felt during class. While I had some intellectual understanding of what the terms meant, I had never experienced it in that way, physically sensing the embodiment of it. (more…)

Pain, willpower, and skill

Moving Out of Pain starts Oct. 14

We all experience pain. It’s a natural and essential message from our nervous system, designed to keep us safe and tell us when we need to rest and heal. Sometimes it seems to take over our lives. Whether it’s brief or chronic, mild or severe, physical or emotional, research shows that it’s how we relate to our pain that makes the biggest difference in our ability to perceive the causes and make the changes we need to find relief.

Unfortunately we’ve all heard too much cultural programming: “Push through the pain.” “No pain, no gain.” “Good pain.” These point to a willpower-based response to pain, where our experience is denied and we try to “tough it out.”

Anyone who has struggled with pain for a long time knows meeting pain with an iron will is a dead end. A favorite teacher of mine once told me, “Willpower is what we use when we lack skill.”

So how can we relate to pain differently? How can we become more skillful in encountering our sensations–unpleasant and pleasant–and learn from them to guide our own healing and improvement? (more…)

Alan Questel on Balance

For my ongoing Tuesday morning JCC Awareness Through Movement class I’m studying Alan Questel’s recorded workshop called Balance as my primary source this session. You can drop-in any time. For class students and others interested in diving deeper, here is a link to an article by Alan, and here’s 6 minutes of audio with Alan discussing balance, from the introduction to this workshop, in free sample mp3 form. Both sources touch on many of the issues that we will in class, at least indirectly. The article is written for practitioners, so it’s a little “inside baseball,” but it talks about the issues, and how Feldenkrais Method problem solving is applied to balance concerns. It also seems to have never been edited. Alan is a fine thinker and teacher–I’m not sure why the article lacks some polish.
Nick

“Which comes first — the motor pattern or the feeling?”

Which comes first — the motor pattern or the feeling? [A “motor-pattern” is any neuromuscular organization of the self: an action, a tension, etc. A “feeling” as Moshe uses it here is an emotion.] The question has been the object of many famous theories. I stress the view that basically they form a single function. We cannot become conscious of a feeling before it is expressed by a motor mobilization and, therefore, there is no feeling so long as there is no body attitude.

-Moshe Feldenkrais, Embodied Wisdom, pg. 30

Feldenkrais Resources treated me with that succinct quote yesterday. Moshe was very good at making himself clear in a few words. He’s just often hard for us to hear because he was decades ahead of science in what he intuited about being human. His ideas chaff against our notion of having both a body and a mind (he might instead say that we are a self).

But science is catching up! Also yesterday (a great coincidence) a student in my Tuesday morning class put this Wall Street Journal article in my hands, which included this: (more…)