Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tai Chi and Feldenkrais, Two Goods make a Better


Tai Chi is Good for you

How come?

  • Because you move slow.

  • And you pay attention.

  • And you are standing up and moving from foot to foot.

  • Moving foot to foot is a good movement, e.g. walking.

  • You are having to concentrate on arms and legs at the same time.

  • You are potentially aware of breathing at the same time.

  • Breathing, sensing, moving and attention: all at the same time.

  • You are connecting to Earth and gravity and intention and moving.

  • You are moving slow.

  • You are, if you are in the grove, enjoying yourself.

  • This is good, to move slow and to enjoy yourself.

  • This can be a fine meditation, a way to take our attention off the usual.

  • This can be a fine meditation, coming back to the present.

  • This can be good for our health because we get things moving.

  • This can be great for our health because we calm and happify our being.

  • And so on.

Feldenkrais could assist this process

In traditional Tai Chi, there is always the "right" way to be in each posture, and that's fine, except that in Feldenkrais we learn about learning. And we learn by making comparisons. And so, instead of just putting one foot here and the other back so many inches and to the side so many inches, we could experiment with how it actually "feels," in the good old here and now sensation, to put our two feet in all sorts of different lengths and widths apart.

In traditional Tai Chi, there is always a "right" way to place your hands and arms in each posture. Instead of just cramming ourselves into the "right" way, we can experiment, a little higher, a little lower, to the left, to the right, what about the elbows this way and that, what about the wrists.

In traditional Tai Chi, a good teacher will spend some serious time alerting the student to the transitions between the postures. With Feldenkrais, this awareness could be amplified, by taking these transitions and even within them creating variation and distinctions and possibilities.

In other words, all the wonderful things about Tai Chi could be made more wonderful with the addition of Feldenkrais. What if the weight, supposed to be 70% front foot and 30% back foot in some poses, was 80/20 or 50/50 or 90/10 ? What if the weight was on the inside of the foot, the outside, the heel, the toes? What about on the toes of one foot and the heel of the other?

And are we following our breathing now, even as we read about this?

Tai Chi, in going slow, already opens us to the possibilities of connecting with ourselves in a deep and profound and healing way. To add the variations and playful learning aspects of the Feldenkrais Work to this, is to simple give our minds and our bodies and our mind/bodies, to say nothing of our spirits, one more chance to expand and exult in this adventure, this adventure of being alive.

No comments: