Friday, December 19, 2008

Who am I? Who are we all?

we have someone come into our lives.

they are very important.

this is because they give us a chance
to realize
how we are an experiencing
awaring being

they are a person
for whom we can give
this gift:

our awaring
our listening
our looking

within the feldie
our touch

our touch
to guide them
into their unfolding into "more"
of who they could be

what does that mean?

The less we are sure
and the more we are curious,
the better.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sitting twisting

try this

sit at the front edge of a chair , bench, rock or log

put one elbow near a knee,
and with the hand of that arm,
cup the side of your face

put the other hand behind your head,
elbow toward the sky

do two games:

pelvis in circles

up elbow in circles

let these circles talk to each other

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

standing, head, eyes, self, Self

from a 108 chapter book
on how to be happier
in 4 levels:
moving and learning,
emotional learning

this a moving and learning chapter,
(all short)


Tapping the heels revisited at a higher level.

Stand, preferably outdoors, maybe even in mild sun coming toward your eyes.

Tap, tap on your heels at least thirty times. (This given earlier: rise on toes, easily drop back down on your heels.)
See if this is different than when you began all this learning.


Tap, tap now again at least another thirty, and do this: slowly move your head to the right and left (many taps to get to the right, many taps to get to the left), and as your head is slowly rotating, have your eyes, not fast, but much faster than your head, be going to the right and left.

Notice if you do what we all tend to do: jerk the eyes from one side to the other.

See if you can make their movement, though faster than the head, slow enough to be a smooth and continuous movement.


Try this again.


Try this again.

Rest. For “extra credit/ fun,” you might want to try:

Do this again, adding on slowly lifting the arms forward and a bit out to the sides with the use of your lower back, and lowering them.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

What are feelings? What is thinking? The prison of conditioning.

I'm in the midst of a, to me, amazing, project
and have not much time to devote to this
this is so huge
that I wanted to get some
starting ideas/ understandings out
and see what they might stimulate.

What are feelings? What is thinking?
The prison of our conditioning.

1. Very few pure E-motions out there.

a.The mother bear, dog, person, skunk
perceives a threat to her young,
inner mobilization flashes up,
something like anger,
she goes into action to repel the threat

b. We are the one she is chasing.
Fear could be the name
for our inner mobilization
and getting the hell out of there.

2. Most, so called "feelings"
are far, far more murky,
often no action, just some tendency
to action,
a combination of inner sensations
and a bunch of words in our heads.
(the first two, "pure" emotions,
where pretty word free).

That our feelings combine sensations,
often unpleasant in ways we don't directly
pay attention to
and a "story" which we often obsess
over offers many
ways out of feeling traps,
and I won't go into these now.



We have some internal reaction,
or not,
but the story possibilities are huge.

a. We tell ourselves the "they are angry" story.

From here, we can go off with the "they are always
getting angry" story, go into a being angry at them

We can go into the "they are angry and I'd better watch
out" fear kind of story.

We can go into a "they are angry and I'd better attack
before attacked" story.

We can go into a "this is so hard always putting up
with this story."

And more.

b. We can tell ourselves a "they are sad" story.

And "feel sorry" for them, wonder what we can do.

A "feel burdened" story, as we "always have to take
care of them.

An "angry" story: "Why don't they get it together
and stop bring that sadness around."

A sad story, "they are right, I forgot, but now
I remember how hard life is."

Another sad story: "they are thinking about our troubles,
and now I feel bad, too."

A weary story: Oh dear, prop up time.

And so on.

Cheerful even: "Oh, goody, fixing them time."

c. We could have more neutral responses:

Curious: what's up.

Concerned without baggage: is something bothering you, can I help.

Amused: you are so cute when you frown.

Loving: I love all your shades and colors. This frown thing
is just one more wonderful aspect.

d. Feelings and reality:

the frown might have been, from their point
of view: anger or sadness

then again in might have been a stomach ache,
or worry about their work,
or an experiment in facial muscles

4. Thinking is what?

Are any collection of words in our head

Moshe has some interesting things to say about thinking:

As in, most people never have real thinking.

Most thinking is just mental masturbation.

Looking at the reactions to the frown,
and say it was just stomach gas,
we can see that the mental abilities
weren't put to very good use.

What would real thinking be?

5. So:
What is feeling?
What is thinking?

A lot of unclarity,
and oh yeah,
this bit to add to the stew

to place "feelings" as nouns:

I am angry
I have sadness

rather than verbs:

I am angry-ing
I am sad-ing

turns them into something therapists can
live off of for years,
but cut us off from the sort of
dynamic change and experimentation
that this work opens up for us.

6. Back to:
What are feelings?
What is thinking?

The lack of clarity,
shows for me, how well Moshe was
"thinking" in his beginning chapters in
Awareness Through Movement
about the stuckness of humanity,
and improving moving being the quickest
and most clear way
to get people out of being the same,
the same as everyone else
and the same
as they always have been.

A longish start,
but it's been mulling since I
had the "not enough time to write"


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beginnings of an Answer for Lynette

wonderful Lynette
asked about the Alexander Yanai Lesson #512.

If you know what these are:

If not: they are 550
lessons Moshe Feldenkrais recorded
as he gave them on Alexander Yanai Street
in Tel Aviv, Israel,
over a period of many years.

So: here's a start to a rather convoluted

You are lying, on belly,
left leg long,
right knee up toward belly on the side,
right hand down alongside body
and under right thigh, with palm down,
left hand standing near the head, elbow up.

And you bring,
the right hand up to the head

Here's my beginning take on

In standing:
one would be standing on the left leg,
the right knee would be bent,
sort of in "tree pose" of yoga,
right foot on right thigh,
right hand down near crotch,
palm facing backwards.

As if taking a sword from a scabbard
on your left hip,
you pull the sword out with your right hand
come across yourself in the front,
and end up pointing
the sword to the sky
directly above your right shoulder.

the upright
end play with the lesson is this:
on knees, upright,
right arm going in circles either backward,
or forward at your side.

The lie down version,
my cutting to what I think is the chase:

One right side,
knees bent,
left hand standing in front of chest,
right arm hand down in crotch area.

Play first just with extending
so knees are straight down from spine,
as in the standing on knees position above.

Then use this extented knees/ thighs
arched back position,
to bring the right arm
under the body and in circles
this way
and that.

Obviously it's a big lesson,
and a hugely valuable one,
and begins to show how much mileage
we can get from working on the "downside"
parts of us,
those the are often "trapped"
in babies,
and in our habits
are "trapped"
out of our awareness.

just the start.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mysticism, the work of Idries Shah, letter to feldie forum

When I first read Marty' s Mystical remark,
I thought of a couple of things,
and then thought the world could live without those

That is probably still an accurate guess,
but since Jeff's delightful threading in these waters,
here goes:

1. The Sufis have a strong and clear teaching about
avoiding and/or leaving behind mystical experiences,
for many of the reasons that Jeff mentions,
and most importantly, that they keep a person back from
real development.

Quotes below.

2. Not too long ago I was receiving a lesson from Marcie
L., and she asked about the lessons my trainer gave. (Don't guess,
doesn't matter.)
I said, they were amazing, though more mystical than anything.
I didn't mean this as criticism,
but I certainly didn't think of this as praise, since
a this sort of "oh wow" experience, at this point in my learning/ growth,
seems to bring the Functional
Integration lessons to the level of stimulation
rather than information.

3. Idries Shah, burst into the world in the 60's
gifting the world with all sorts of previously hidden
or poorly translated Sufi material.

three main strands:
a. Amazing stories, that operate at many levels. The best, Tales of the Dervishes, is must reading every five or ten years.

b. Explanation and overview and opening view into
the real world of Sufism,
the best book being, The Sufis.

c. The teahouse, underground route to Sufism in the humor
stories (supposedly) of Mullah (not a bad word back then) Nasrudin .
The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin.

4. Some quotes from the Sufis:

(page 375, my old edition, in section, Miracles and Magic):
"This limiting effect of the sense of wonderment
is the reason why Sufi teachers have spoken against
indulgence in the ecstatic experience,
which is only a stage in the development of the Sufi. Lost in awe and wonderment, the Sufi Seeker is halted when he should be going forward
to the realization beyond.
The seeking of temporary (or even permanent) mystical
experience is therefore spoken of as a 'veil.'"

page 380 : "The Sufi's task is to organize himself
as to make possible for the meaningful operation of an organ or perception
and action
which will have a continuing effect."

page 381: "Both high magic and ordinary mysticism,
viewed from this light,
become for the Sufi merely the struggling on of a partial
methodology which will simply reproduce its own pattern.
Unless it evolved far enough to enable it to reproduce more than it inherited,
unless, in fact,
there is a genetic amplification of scope and sufficient power
of reproduction of that scope,
the whole thing is a creaking anachronism."

5. The first story in the Sufis,
called the Islanders,
read side by side
Moshe's beginnings in Awareness Through Movement
about the fate of humanity resting
in whether we will all be fitted nicely to be like
everyone else,
or find the way to become that which we truly could,
makes amazing tribute
to the breadth of Moshe's vision,
and the deal I sometime harp:
the link of Moshe and Gurdjieff
and the slight problem of sleeping me, you, us, humanity.

Chris Elms

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sitting to Standing

One of the great gifts
of Moshe Feldenkrais

was his engineer/ physicist


looking at our bodies
moving in the real world

with real possibilities
and real

the constants of gravity
and a big head at the top
of a long spine
and the big muscles
around the pelvis

being a good three
to start with


if you are sitting:
where is your weight
in this world of gravity?

On your butt.

If you are standing:
where is your weight?

On your feet.

So, sitting to standing
is shifting the weight
from butt to feet,
a movement of the center of mass
of our bodies

try two ways.

At front edge of chair.
Put one hand in your hair.
Bend forward,
Pull your head easily, sweetly,
and down,
as if looking under the chair,

until your weight is clearly over your feet.

Then come to standing.

Put one hand behind your neck,
with fingers as far down
your back as possible,
pointing down.

Warming up,
noticing arching and rounding in your back:
Elbow goes down
and stomach comes in,
elbow goes up,
and stomach comes out.

Do the warm up
feel the weight in your pelvis,
the shape in your spine/ back,
the in or out
of your belly.

Find a place where elbow
is kind of pointed up and forward.
belly out,
the arching shape in your spine,

and from that

bring weight forward to
your feet,
and see if there's a way
you can arch
your back, lift your butt
at just the right time,

just a tinsy little bit,
and raise your pelvis
ever so slightly,
like half an inch,
off the chair.

Go slowly,
back and forth from there.

Take lots of rests
and feel
imagine this through.

Play with two ways:

head down,
and pelvis just barely off chair.

head upish and forward,
and pelvis just barely off the chair.

This is a week's long

Don't rush.

Your patience and curiosity
will be rewarded.


Monday, November 24, 2008

on back, arch, flex, sidebend....learn, learn, learn

starting position
Okay: here's some beginnings to an amazing learning.
These positions
are just places to come to and away from
with awareness

The more of yourself you can feel,
all your bones,
your shape,
what's happening to belly,
to spine,
to breathing,
to legs and arms.

Soft face,
easy neck,
awareness as you go,
not just at end points.

So, above: start with right foot "standing",
left leg under,
left hand behind your head.

arch and twist
Push very easily on your right foot,
and push out your belly,
and arch your back
and twist the right side of your pelvis to the left.

Go back and forth,
many times, between this and the "starting position."

Feel what happens in your spine,
your ribs,
your foot pushing into "ground,"
your belly coming out as your back arches,
your spine twisting also.

Feel, feel, sense, sense, learn, learn.

Rest after 10-20 times
of slowly, learning-ly, pleasurably doing this.

sidebending too
Now, with both hands behind head,
both elbows staying down,
add a sidebending of your head,
nose staying pointing to sky or ceiling,
as you do the movement.

Feel all the above,
plus spine making three
and interesting shapes: arching,
side bending.

Again, 10-20 times, each time learning
a little something more.


fingers in toes
Now, if you can,
take the fingers of the right hand
into the toes of the left foot.

Take your time.

Go toward the foot
as you arch and twist, if your hand needs
some help.

Maybe "cheat" by lifting yourself a little
as per next step.

If you "can't" don't worry.
Imagine it.

Now, combine doing movement #2, the
arching and twisting

with coming back to #1,

and then folding in like this in

Slow, slow,
resist the crank out, sittup urge,
do little,
do 80% of what you think you can.

80% of your "limit"
and 200% of your usual awareness.

This is great learning.
Great spine awakening.
Great awareness awakening.

Do 10-20.


Imagine how this would be
on the other side,
everything reversed.


arm out 45 degrees
Take your right arm out
at about 45 degrees from your body.
Imagine the elbow as a fulcrum for
rolling up.
Push the elbow into the ground a number of times.

roll over elbow to up
This is difficult.
With left elbow behind head, roll over to the right,
weight over right elbow,
head kept low,
left elbow pointing low,
roll over right elbow until you are in this reclining position.

We need another picture here,
of after rolling up,
bringing the right elbow more
under your shoulder to hold you up.

This is to show the people already Feldenkrais
and Anat Baniel practitioners
some possibilities.

For the lay people,
once you are in this semi reclining position,
leaning back on the right elbow,
left hand behind the head,

you arch and
fold your back,

as below pictured

on elbow, other elbow back
your back arches,
your elbow comes back,
your spine twists,
your belly comes out,
your spine lengthens.
And your foot presses down.

Go slowly from this "limit,"
again going to 80%
with 200% awareness,

to the folding in the next

on elbow, leaning forward
Feel the twist,
and what happens in ribs,
and all of your spine,
and your whole shape.

Go slowly, slowly
learn, learn,

aware, aware,


Saturday, November 22, 2008

loving of moving, tuck in/round, and spring out/ arch

folding in,
as in bringing belly in
tilting pelvis toward chin
round the back,
bring arms in

then, rotate to the front,
arch back,
tilt pelvis a little so butt toward head
(just a little)
head upright
spine long
push through feet and hands
and Earth

breathe in,
get ready

breathe out
push out belly
push into ground and hands

brush knee this is called,
one hand pushes forward
one by the other knee

the whole of Tai Chi
except reverse Monkey
can be done as a series
of breathe in, contract, coil, round

and press up and out
expand / push/ pounce

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Round and ready, arch and expand: gardening and life


shovel in




is a sweet chance
to see
if all the rolling
around on the floor,
and working in chairs
and this and that

can translate
to the "real" world
of action

like martial arts,
a chance to move our big muscles

unlike martial arts,
a way to feed ourselves
and connect to the Earth

and a series of photos
hinting at the rounding and breathing in
and loading to use power

then arching, pushing, extending
breathing out
using power

a hint of the usefulness
of doing both sides
in gardening

one sided lessons amazing on the floor,
but "out in the world"
we tend to get stuck in a pattern

I like 3 right handed digs
right foot in, hold shovel nearer
the end with right hand
and then three left foot left hand

dig left foot

19, rounding to get

ready left hand forward

throwing, left hand nearer

the change helps
me not "go to sleep"
as I enjoy
moving soil rather than
fighting to get it done

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Five lines of our us, six directions of our spine

we sit in a chair

five lines:
two legs, can we sense them,
five toes each side, usually
the calf, the knee, the thigh
the hip joint

sense both legs,
heels, ankles
both legs all of them

two arms
more digits,
fingers this time
all of them
and the hands
and the wists
you know the parts,
all the way to the shoulder socket

where do these guys fit:
sense the spine pelvis ribs shoulder blade

might as well throw
in awareness of the head
and the end of the spine

that's us

that's a lot

and sitting:

on what?

where are we balanced
out with gravity?

and the directions of the spine:

the earliest
the fetus:

1. bending our spine in a C pointing forward
mid back back
pelvis rotating forward at bottom part
sternum down
head forward

sort of the slump thing
and it could be a lengthened
C forward

can we do it
both ways

2. the easiest for the spine
wrists behind head
if we can
or back of hand to opposite cheek
and rotate,
feel the spine shifting
one vertebrae atop another,
rotate right

3. rotate left

what's left?


4. C pointing backwards
belly forward,
arching back
looking up in a lengthening way
not shortening neck
butt rotating up toward back of the head
breathing soft
rotating to front side of pelvis
feel us
getting taller


5. wrist again behind head
or hands interlaced
now making side facing

tilting left first
not a pizza tower
but left elbow down
left hip up
shortening ribs over there
and back to center
C pointing left (open part of C)

6. open part of C to the right
right elbow down
right hip up,
shortening R side ribs
lengthening L side,
feel weight coming all
to L side of pelvis

and sitting
5 lines
6 spine moves

this can be a little
a lot
of awakening of awareness


Friday, November 07, 2008

Awakened Movement

sukha party

To move


To move

to be alive

To move

to move toward
or away
from various things in life

To move

a chance
to dance

To dance

a chance
to express
our life,
the joy
the other stuff

And what would awakened movement
be like?

A chance
to move dance
and motion
in ourself
in a slow
and aware way

or even,
after we've gotten the sense
and feel of it,
a fast
and aware way

to move so we know
how we are moving

and can slop
change directions

while we move

A nice state,
a nice practice

I think

Then again
are just

And experience
is all
we can
really know.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

skeleton, halloween, five lines, death, happiness and so on

on belly over table

Once we were born
Someday we die

long time
in skeleton-land


spine holds up head
arms off shoulder things

legs off pelvis thing,
at hip joints

if sitting:
we are sitting on the pelvis thing

sense that

move and
and love
from there:

grab someone cute
and have some fun:

now we are alive

we'll be dead


(for waking up)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ideas for discovering movement

sukha dance

take a position
any position

feel, sense, know yourself

see what you might do
in movement for
three different reasons:

1. to notice parts, places and connections
that feel grumpy or unknown
or wanting more love
and see
what might move there

2. think you are a baby/ kid
and wanted to move
to a toy
or food,
how would be transition
into action

3. think you are in combat:
and wanted to get out of trouble

and wanted to attack

what would you do


Saturday, October 25, 2008

maximum instability, and what it means to be human

three roses

someone on Feldyforum asked
about how to create maximum instability

here's my thinking
if we aim at maximum instability that's useful
and even poised, for maximum mobility

take the human body
raise the center of gravity as high as possible
and lessen the base:

thinking like an engineer here we go:
on toes
on toes with arms raised
on toes of one foot with arms raised

and with props:
on toes of one foot with arms raised, holding rocks, a long pole, another person
all the above and on a ball, a slippery surface (ice, watery), a tight rope

going about to the human max:
on toes of one foot on a ball on ice holding another person above one

going beyond the bounds of the human, I think:
on toes of one foot on a ball on a tight rope holding another person above

and Moshe has lots to say about this:
from Body and Mature Behavior, page 96-97 newest edition:

"In the unstable balance the center of gravity is as high as possible,
and the potential energy is maximum.
No supply of energy from any other source
is necessary to change the position.
The displacement feeds itself on the stored potential energy.

When its center of gravity is maintained at the highest position,
the human body is fit to move
in any direction
with practically no expenditure of energy,
and even this minimum is drawn from its
potential energy.
The potential energy is restored
so that all movement starts from this configuration
of maximum potential energy.

The standing body is thus ever ready for
translation (non rotation motion, in footnote)
movement at short notice. In that respect
it is more perfect than the body of
any other animal,
which may be faster in one particular direction,
but has not the all-round freedom of movement of

Thursday, October 23, 2008

weird ideas about "stability"

viri one with rocks

I've just had, recently this amazing
realization about all this "stability"

First, an experiment:
extend your arm, you pick,
lengthen arm out at hand,
and at same time
bring shoulder blade backwards

you have a "stabilized" shoulder

now, try this:
bring c7 backward
and thrust your jaw forward:
you have a "stabilized" neck

which is to say,

sooner or later I'll post on
the non-tragic (via work of Byron Katie)
separation from a wonderful sweet partner,
who is a yogi
and among my faults. her faults, her mother, my mother,
her this, my that, the usual imperfection not wanting
to see imperfection
doesn't like to hear these
ideas about "core stability"
which is the same nonsense:

immobilize a person,
turn them into a post,
and call that "stability"

minor problem:
humans are designed for maximum instability
= mobility

much more on this as we go.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

what's great about yoga, what's limiting

people move
people realize they have a body
people pay attention to their five lines
people have some challenges in balance and new "shapes"
people might be pointed toward spiritual evolution
people get out of houses, cars, (though usually drive to class, ah, well)
people see they aren't the only one who could learn and improve
people move from posture to posture

this is the most important part
of a yoga class:
people move from posture to posture

and maybe:
people are pointed to something higher in life

alignment, balance, and shape fitting are implicitly posited
as the core to real change in life


life is not posture, alignment, shape

life is movement

how can we combine the two?

stay tuned for cml #2

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chris Movement Lesson #1. arching and chairs and fun

chair kneeling and back arching

In the fabulous
amazing and
life transforming
Anat Baniel Method,
our training group this last days did a number of lessons
kneeling over a table

I was curious what using a chair would be like
and discovered,
quickly, that the head is not supported
the way it is when we kneel at the low
tables especially deigned for the Feldenkrais Method

chair kneeling and back arching

this segment, as they are called
(nine days, from on Saturday to the following Sunday,
of various intense learning and upgrading of our nervous system,
awareness, skill level, and more),
we also did a ton of work on the head pelvis connection
vis a vis the "power center"
of the strong muscles connected to the pelvis
especially-2, the muscles of the lower back,
lifting both arms, head and thighs
in achieving upright "posture"

There are
and we did
lots of ways to stand on hands and knees,
or knees and forearms,
or sit in a chair
and use the lower back muscles to arch one's back
and lift either head or arms or legs or all three:

below shows
but not all
of the possibilities of a chair
to encourage
discover this
"power center"
in our lower back

please note:
the slower
and less Donkey-like
we do these

and the more we use the minimum
of effort
and maximum
of attention

the more we will

rolling the head easily
side to side
as one does these
is a nice way to make
sure extra effort is
not being used in
our necks and jaws

noticing and softening
the breathing while to these,
is another

chair kneeling and back arching

chair kneeling and back arching

chair kneeling and back arching

chair kneeling and back arching

chair kneeling and back arching

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gurdjieff, Moshe, living and sensing and waking


Picture this: Into a group of goody, goody, vegetarian,
sugar avoiding, meditating till their knees dropped, make up avoiding,
purple and die dye wearing, oh so pure souls
storms a
chain smoking,
over weight,
wildly naughtily and profoundly profanely humorous,
sugar and meat eating,
Television watching,
attention as It promoting

Moshe at Amherst?
I don't know. Wasn't there.

But this certainly was my Gurdjieff teacher breezing into Berkeley to save a bunch
of us from SAT (Seeker After Truth), a goody, goody group,
as deep as possible into the "spiritual materialism" that Chewing Gum
Trungpa talked/wrote about .

Said SAT, was Claudio Naranjo's baby, and since Claudio
was greedy/ open to everything,
we were greedy/ open to everything, Tibetan Buddhism, Gestalt
therapy, Scientology (just the methods, a few, not the cult,
sorry if anyone is offened), the Gurdjieff legacy (Claudio's gal friend
had been a small child around the infamous G.), the Sufi stories of
Idries Shah (highly recommended, today, tomorrow and forever, including
the humor branch in the stories of Nasrudin),
and lots and lots from Claudio's year in the desert with Oscar Ochazo,
later of Arica fame.
With The Arica-ish influence came the endless route of torturing ourselves
and others with the Eneegram, and that's another, very long story.

But, we were very good
and Kathy and Claudio were crashing and SAT was crashing,
and in breezed above mentioned overweight swearing
chain smoking New York Jew.

He had a group in New York, which included writers for New Yorker,
and founder of National Lampoon. They, east coast branch, had bought
a farm in upstate New York and spend the weekends doing the
Gurdjieff version of meditation:

sense both arms, fingers to shoulders
sense both legs, toes to hips,
be awake and aware to sounds coming in the ears,
be awake and aware to reflected light coming
in the eyes

go about your entire day doing this,
and doing real things:
making gardens,
build barns,
dig pounds,
move rocks,
create pathways.

Stay up late working,
sanding floors, painting walls with one inch
wide paint brushes,
sometimes stay up all night,
sometimes two nights in a row.

This group didn't do the G movements,
and another group, the group of this fellow's
teacher, did, sort of.

But even with this other group
(which ended up also, like the first guy's East coast
group) migrating to warmer, tree and space and fun Berkeley,
was more interested in working as meditation,
and they had a theater group, Theater of the Blue Rose.
A play a month, ten months of the year, Rose Tatoo, Cabaret, Glass Menagerie,
and so on, not light stuff, two weeks rehearsal, two weekends on, bam it's
off and on to the next play.

So, anyway:
This was a great experience,
that also feel apart with the leaders not quite
able to be as awake at all times
as they wanted us to be,
but at least:
real work,
meditation as something that isn't on a pillow
but in real life.

I often think, that if Moshe had copied this
aspect of G,
and had his "followers" out in the country,
doing their five lines
and awareness through movement while doing
"real things"
the whole indoors, martial arts, aspect of the work
might have been expanded to rather amazing
levels.(For example, Anat, who adores Moshe,
might not have a dungeon of darkness as her learning space)

But, what an experience:
the West coast branch,
since we already more or less lived in country
beauty by living in Berkeley,
didn't buy a farm to practice work/ meditation:
we rented a big factory space and
restored an old car,
eating cookies and drinking coffee after work
'till twelve or so each night,
a nice, amazing shift for many of us,
and certainly a switch from habitual patterns.

And the sacred dance:
second teacher, teacher of first,
and everything first was
except overweight,

(and the war they got into
another, long story)

did teach, via one of his ex girlfriends the
"movements" for awhile, on the stage of above mentioned
Theater of the Blue Rose
(when people in that group were between jobs
and needed to save money, they'd sleep on the stage at
night..... and the jobs: what can you do and cultivate
consciousness: lots of cab drivers, carpenters, garden makers...
last two I found big fun, frustration, huge learning in,
and need, occasionally, long before I came to FM as career,
the need for ATM for aching back).

Oh,yeah: Movements on the stage.

Don't remember much:
beautiful music.

Here's the way my mind works:
the main thing I remember is Virginia,
the teacher of the movements, complaining
to David, the G teacher, about people coming
late, and David saying,
"It doesn't take a genius to come on time."

Maybe this is enough,
on what was a long, weird and wonderful
fifteen year,


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What would Wake Up Yoga be Like?


Ah, la, life is so good.

Wake up Yoga would be about using the
silly/ wonderful/ interesting/ curious/ artificial/ brilliant/ idiotic

of yoga,

to wake up to:

1. Now

2. The miracle of being in a human body

3. The constancies of life on Earth:



4. The constancies and challenges of the Human Form:

Two legs

High center of gravity

Designed as a column with rotation the simplest action

Place of seeing/ hearing/ smelling high up

Place of balance and strength far down from this place

Power in the middle, small delicate muscles at the edges

5. The miracle of the Human Possibility:

Awareness ( the now again, and more: awareness of our habit, and
awareness of other variations)

Slowing Down to Learn

Learning as its own joy

Joy when we quiet the rest of the nonsense down

Learning quicker and more pleasant when we don't "try hard"

6. Making the impossible possible
The possible easy
The easy elegant

Something like that:

And more about going inside and finding who and how
you are

rather than the tired old monkey see
highly skilled monkey do
and monkey try to imitate highly skilled monkey

Like this:

Lie on your back.
Feel the sweetness of the floor.
Raise one leg to standing, i.e. foot flat on floor, knee toward sky.
Press into the foot standing and rotate that hip
Keep the other hip on the floor
Push out your belly.
Come back to flat.
Go back and forth, and LEARN

Try breathing in on the hip rotation/ belly out
Try breathing out on the hip rotation/ belly out
Notice the two changes in your spine:rotation and arching
Notice even more: which vertebrae are doing what
Notice: is your neck free
Notice : is your jaw and breathing free
Notice: are your finger soft and free
Notice: which way would your spine like to side bend along the floor
Notice: the way your foot presses into the floor
Notice: the force of your foot against gravity and that moving through your whole spine
Notice: how much fun, delight and learning it is, to Notice

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Mini Cure for Depression

cotton woods

the depression

we can weave ourselves
down and under,

the Work of Byron Katie
I'm doing at
and 108 Days: Undoing with Love

is one way out
of this trap

is to just get to now

and especially
the now
of being in our bodies
and learning
to be happier
and more at ease
in there:

like this
mini lesson:

notice pelvis

turn head left

pick one

turn half way that way,

move eyes left and right

close eyes
imagine fixed ahead eyes
and turn head right and left from half way L or R,
whatever you picked.

come to middle

go halfway again
close eye,
R and L on pelvis

stop, open eyes and turn head fully
that way:

notice improvement in ease and range

and if you had depression where would it go
while putting attention on
some many real
and tangible parts of our functioning
and learning

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Executive Clarity


Listening is essential
and most people
out of the present

they listen a bit
and then chatter inside with what they are
going to say

Speaking with attention and awareness
on ourselves
and the person to whom we are talking
is essential

and most people don't:
they talk to some
wish for approval,
wish to be right,
unloading some old tape,
wish to be smart,
wanting to get attention

in corporate life:
being at ease
and aware of our bodies,
happy in them,
moving easily,
breathing freely,

this can make all the difference:
in health
in happiness
in creativity

This isn't usually taught,
with "corporate training."

I teach it.

Being present
is essential
to really living our life
as we live it.

This isn't usually taught
as part of corporate training.

I teach it.

Love of others
and love of the Earth
aren't usually taught as part of
corporate training

I teach it.

This is by the day,
and will transform your home
your work life
your whole life

The bottom line:
a better bottom line
body ease, joy and learning.

This is good.
You are good.

Come partake of the possibilities.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Knees please, go slow, go easy: learn and heal


we've been dealing with Knees
around here

a sweet and amazing
the knee is really amazingly
designed to do not very much,
but it's a huge responsibility:
to transfer the power of the center
down to the feet
to transfer the information and
grounding from the feet up to the pelvis
and from there
to the spine

and it's the feet
and the hip/ pelvis that are supposed
to have lots of mobility,
and the knees
just kind of do not very much
going this way or that
as they bend and straighten
and transfer the force

how to improve your knees?

lie on the floor,
one foot standing on so that one knee is
up toward the sky
and one leg long

if one knee is "iffy"
start with the first best
knee as the one
pointed to the sky

and with the foot pretending to be walking,
or doing yoga,
or standing around,
push a little weight into the standing foot,
and experiment
play around with
the different ways you can
push into the ground:
side of foot
other side

then do easy
feel good
interesting circles with your pressure thru
the foot into the ground

and reverse

and rest

and same, first best leg:
come to foot standing again, and press into the ground
a bit,
so the pelvis is rotated,
and circle the knee,
but think of this as coming from the hip,
and feel as part of the circle, a nice sweet
arching of your back during big parts of the

and reverse

and rest

and then
in imagination or "reality"
do the same thing,
with your second best leg/ knee

there's lots more
and lessons are cool,
if you are so inclined,
four more months around Sonoma

try linking like this:
Neurological Upgrading Lessons


Thursday, September 18, 2008

undoing relationship, keeping love, happiness, learning and awareness

for some reason,
can't publish over at


here it is:

So life can be
and life can be hell

when people undo a relationship,
they make it hell for themselves and their partner:

they blame
get angry
try to enlist others to "take their side"
feel frustrated
sling mud
drag up the "worst" about the other
rehash "the list" of all past sins
focus on what's "wrong" with the other
blame the other, the parents, other people
try for revenge
fight over the kids, the property, the story about who did what to "ruin" things
much more

You know that
I know that
you've done it, or seen it

my several times

and then
there is my friend
and maybe yours:
the Work of Byron Katie

Like this,
find the unhappiness
realize you are unhappy,
find the thought behind, beneath, bound up in
the unhappiness
write it down

like this:

Judge your neighbor (or Reality)
Write it down
Ask 4 questions
Turn it around

let's today take a common one:

"The relationship is a failure because it's ending"

There it is
a great story, thought to suffer from.

And Marlie and I are dissolving,
that's the reality that this
thought wants to fight.

So let's do the four questions and the turn around:

Q 1: Is it true
"The relationship is a failure because it's ending" ?

Well, common wisdom would say yes,
but we aren't look for common wisdom,
we are looking for truth.

Other people might say yes,
but again,
this is about my truth.

And is it true,
deep down that
"The relationship is a failure because it's ending" ?

And the answer is no?

First because as Marlie takes the main impetus,
and I love her for wanting what she wants,
I show me and her
what love really is.

Second, as Marlie strikes out on her own,
without the usual meanness and blaming,
she shows herself and others how to end something
without the usual cruelties.

Third, I have a vision of creating
with a partner a land based center/ village even
devoted to
being present
almost raw eating
yoga mixed with Feldenkrais
huge amounts of silence
organic growing and being

this is not Marlie's vision.
She and I are both being honest
and kind to explore what life would be,
even if it means leaving behind a huge amount
of love and fun and common interests
and just
good old fashioned affection.

Q 2: Can I absolutely know that it is true
"The relationship is a failure because it's ending" ?

In the Big Picture,
not being God,
I have no real stance as to what is best for Marlie
or for me.
If this is what she wants
and this is where I'm pointed,
this that seems more true.

Q 3: How do I react and how do I live
when I attach to/ believe the
myth/ story/ thought/ concept
"The relationship is a failure because it's ending" ?

I feel bad
like a bad little boy
like giving up
out of touch with now
out of touch with joy
out of touch with love
a mess

not breathing
not being useful to myself or others

Q4: Who or what would I be
without the story/ thought/ belief
"The relationship is a failure because it's ending" ?

I'd be free.

I could come back to love.

Grateful for now.
Grateful for the fun and not fun
and learning and everything we've had
over eight years.
Honored to have been in this life.
In love with Marlie and myself.

And what's the turn around to
"The relationship is a failure because it's ending" ?

The relationship,
ending in awareness and love,
is a huge success.

ah, my.

Down into the poop
and back up again,
the good old Work of Byron Katie.

It's work
and if I work,
I'm back to my real self:

in love with Marlie just as she is

that's a nice self
to be in,
I feel

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

new life: go slow, learn, heal

this world is an amazing place:

if we lie down
out of gravity

and very slowly
move one part of ourselves
and keep moving that part easily
and awaring all the while
and follow that movement back
somehow to our spine


then move another
with awaring
and following:
back to the spine
back to the spine

and usually
moving in a way
that keeps the belly soft
and the chest
and head free

doing all that
and connecting up
in various combinations,
the two sets
of moving
and awaring
and connecting

what's going to


waking up
to now


the newness
of what
we could be

is all this true?
try it
see for yourself.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

sept 11

didn't write my Wednesday ramble
is a famous

september 11

"went wrong"
if you/ we/ one
held the story:
no one can do rude
and senseless attacks
on Americans
in America

I'll skip any talk
of perhaps
attacks have come from
our organized violence
as the military
(and composed
of fine
and sometimes confused
and often idealistic
and often brainwashed
and sometimes clear as a bell
young men)

can get into habits

the enemy
has been the ruin
of a million marriages
throughout history
and probably
even this moment,
this very moment
a million relationships
are suffering from the




and so nations,
and the
so called "leaders,"
go for habit
rather than
and attack

many suffer as
a result



our bodies:
we often
fall back on
the same habit,
find an enemy:
the pain,
the clumsiness,
the inflexibility,
the limitation,
the I can't do that

and attack

and gosh,
just what that place
like a child confused
and afraid
and having a "bad day"
is someone to slow down,
pay attention,
and discover:
what's going on?

how can we make that a little better?

how can we pay attention in
a soft
and easy

nice idea for
of course
even for ourselves

more thoughts
on sept 11
and the "enemy game"
over at the Brain Plasticity
and Amazing Changes blog


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Distinctions: Yoga/Tai Chi and the Brain vs. "normal" Tai Chi and Yoga


Some classes start soon
Monday at 9:30 AM
in the morning

They are called Yoga / Tai Chi and the Self / Brain

what is the Self?

It's the real you,
the real me,
the one who is in us,
and always free,
always aware,
always present,
always open to the experience
and the wonder
of being alive.

Some yoga classes talk
of this,
and very, very few follow through.

So be it.

The major distinctions
on a watching what we do,
how does it feel to do it
level are these:

In the yoga class,
there will never be one
to do any pose.

Every pose will have variations,
among which you can discover
who and how you are in your
body at this day
of your life.

In the yoga class,
the pose gets to be the focus.
That's fine, in a way.

In a way,
it forgets that postures
are just positions we take
on the way to something else,
and that core to human
life is movement.

Every pose in Yoga/Tai Chi and the Brain
will have an element of movement.

In most yoga classes,
you are given
a pose,
and expected to put yourself in
that pose,
whether you are ready or not.

In Yoga/Tai Chi and the Brain
every person,
or every level will have something
to learn and to discover.

In most yoga classes "teaching"
doesn't think about "learning,"
which is:
students learn something.

In Yoga/Tai Chi and the Brain
the goal
in all parts of the class will
be to create situations of learning.

This makes "most yoga"
sound kind of punk,
doesn't it?

Oh, well.
"most yoga"
is still wonderful, as a way to get out
of a sedentary life,
and especially, if you are naturally
athletic, will give you useful
and interesting ways to get stronger.

Even there though,
"most yoga" encourages far too much
use of extra effort,
and it's really too long a story beyond saying this:

human bodies were designed to be unstable.

that instability is the key to amazing mobility.

"stabilizing" the core, or the this or the that,
comes at the expense of mobility and
really being able to use yourself

And Tai Chi.

the normal way is a fixed
done only to one side.

In Yoga/Tai Chi and the Brain
we will learn to move both ways,
and we will learn variations
within that pattern.

In "most Tai Chi," huge effort
is put,
on getting the form "Just So,"
while giving lip service to relaxation.

In Yoga/Tai Chi and the Brain
the emphasis, will be on discovering
and loving your body,
and what it can do,
and what it can't do,
and the possibilities
that come open as we begin to move through
the tai chi

for the snobby sound.

"Most Tai Chi"
is miles better than doing nothing.

And I hope
you'll find Yoga/Tai Chi and the Brain
a useful adjunct to your ongoing practice,
in either Tai Chi or Yoga,
or a
great way to begin a much
and I think,
far more useful
for yourself.

Who knows?

The experience
is always in each of us,
in each moment.

This is good.

Even now,
this now,
is the only one we have.

This is good.

Come experience
your Self
and your Learning
and your pleasure,
if you so wish.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You are wonderful

w and oscar

Here's the secret to life:
we are alive.

That's it.

We were born.
Some sort of end to the earthly existence happens.

And now,
right now,
we are here, wherever your here is,
wherever my here is.

This is good.

The secret to life is:
I am alive and that is wonderful,
and you are alive
and that is wonderful.

Means not knowing.
Not knowing means a chance to
a chance to
a chance to
be more, know more, feel more, understand more
and to
thrive in that change.

What do you wonder about?

I wonder about how to spend all of my moments
in the states I reach sometimes:
states of being profoundly happy with myself,
and with others.

I wonder about how to create a world
where human beings are free
to take care of each
and to take care of
the Earth.

I wonder how to create change
without being "upset," and "uptight"
and just plain old angry,
at the way certain systems
and institutions seem to be
set up
for the destruction of the Earth
and the making it hard for many
people to live decent, healthy and happy lives.

I wonder how to be happy
all the time,
without resorting to denial
and the phony happiness of
thrashing around
and making a lot of noise and hoopla and using
myself and/or the Earth much more
than is kind.

I wonder
how we
as the family of humans,
can rediscover that certain habits
are not helping us much,
whether at the relationship level when we
have the habit of blaming our spouse for
when we feel bad,
or at the national level,
when many governments have the habit of organizing
around attacking and being at war with
some defined "bad guy."

There is more to wonder about.
Even now, talking, and thinking and writing about
how can I
how can you
stay in our present,
in our breathing,
in some sort of peace and happiness.

If I am wonderful,
being full of wonder,
you are wonderful, too.
And what, can you happily
and peacefully wonder about?
And when is the wonder unpeaceful?
And can that change over the course
of this book?

I wonder what it will be like
to write a book
over 108 days,
starting each day's reflection
as a blog?

I guess we'll find out together.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

stretching brains, not attacking tight muscles

barn in morning
barn in morning

a muscle can contract
it can stop contracting and release and return to loose

if a muscle is chronically contracted
and you try to "stretch"
the body has an automatic "stretch reflex"
to tighten against that,
so if you do succeed in
"stretching," you will be
actually only succeeding in tearing
the muscle

ah, so what to do?
find the muscle on the other side
use it
as you use it,
see just how much
and honestly
you can uncontract
which is to say let go
which is to say release
which is not to say stretch
the muscles on the other side

so "stretching" hamstrings is cruel
and useless
and using the quadraceps
and honestly stopping when hamstrings bind
and honestly seeing about letting go
as the effort goes into softness at hamstring side
and appropriate use
(to lengthen leg, not to stretch anythng)
of the quads


if not,
come get some lessons,
amazing results in
all sorts of areas of ones
from this:
use effort where it should be used
let go where it should be let


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pose, Warrior, Warrior Pose

terri and marl at flower
Non warriors with the great teacher: Earth and flower and Life

Sad but true:
the warriors are out there
posing away right now.

The Russian hot shot.
Some Georgian hot shot.
Even the brilliant little boy who
is playing President, is busy posing:
I am warrior.

I can send enough
(not myself, of course)
to blast,
push away,
push around,
get my way.

E gad. A world lived out at the level
of sandbox bullies,
whether the so called Terrorists,
or the now hung dead Bad Guy Sadaam Hussein
or the Bush Sr
or the Bush Jr
or the Lyndon Johnson
or the JFK
or the Truman
or the Hitler
and on
and on.


And the poor idealistic
young men,
full of love for something bigger than themselves,
and anger at they don't know what,
and testosterone,
and whoosh,
they are off getting killed
as some older man or men
go through their warrior pose.

And then in yoga:
we hold

What are we posing as?
Doing it right?
Get our act together?
Taking our punishment?
Being good to our bodies?

And sure,
yoga can be just plain old fun
and interesting,
if the teaching were just
about finding and discovering ourselves
in the moment,
and in the movement,
and so often,
that gets so lost
in the

And warrior poses.

What are we at war with?
Our bodies?
Doing it wrong?
Being weak?
Not being young any more?
Our teachers for being better at
than us?
Our bad habits?
Our wish to not be in pain?
A lifetime of not being perfect?

Who knows?

How could we do warrior
as a heart opener,
and no posing,
and lots of learnig.

How could we do warrior
as a shoulder and leg support
with no enemy?

How could we do warrior
with a sense of learning to
press down into the sweet Earth
and letting it all fly up
from there?

Play with it one your own.
Come to me from private yoga lessons.
Join the neurological upgrading lessons.
Go home from yoga and turn the war into
What would that take?

Won't that be interesting to find out?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Learning by Going "Slow"



the idea:
go slowly
and life will be more available to us
in its everyday

this miracle:
We are alive.

It sounds so corny
so obvious

and as Moshe Feldenkrais
it's the elusive obvious
that is
so useful and powerful
in our lives.

and say
we are teaching Feldenkrais
taking lessons
and want to
keep improving

what's the best
way to do that?

Give ourselves
at least twenty minutes a

Find a nice firm surface
to lie down on,
the floor,
a firm, really firm couch
( I have one made from plywood with
some packing mats and a carpet over it)

Lie down
but with awareness

Not the discharge
wiggle moving

but exploring
how does
to that

in ourselves

what can we discover

how much can we love
going slowly
and trying
out some new, old,
easy, a little less than easy

how much
can we
and learning

this is a nice
spend some time


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The seduction of Stretching

some of garden
and the old barn back behind

Stretching is good
for teachers who want to lord
it over their students,
especially if the teacher is
more flexible than the students.

Stretching is a great way
to get the student
concentrating on self pushing
self pulling
self attacking
self violence
and then if they can't "do it"
then they can feel inferior
or bad
or worn out
or in pain
or all of the above
and won't have enough energy left over to realize
that the "teacher"
isn't "teaching" them anything,

that the so called
is just more of the
try harder
hurt yourself
breathe through the pain
"let it go"
that can be seen
at many levels
in our society

is that true?
i'm not sure.
it sounds right,
but anything can sound

in health clubs
and yoga places
the pushing a little more
and getting to the edge
as you hurt yourself
just a little bit
is way the norm

and is it part of our society
or are we moving toward
the fat lazies
at the end of Wall-e
unable to make any effort

these are all questions
than just coming to the present
this one
the only one
and being in our
in our
and if it
feels good
getting up from this silly
going outside
and look at the sky
and sense the fullness of us:
ten fingers, ten toes, belly, eyes, ear and nose

now that's a
that won't hurt!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Neurological Upgrading Lessons


Chris Elms doing this for the first time in his life, at 63:
Feel younger, more at ease, happier in your body.

Whole Brain
Whole Self

to come to the
of moving,

In these lessons, you either sit or lie down,
fully clothed,
on a firm and comfortable
table, chair, or bench.

You are guided
to being present
with yourself
and your breathing
and your awareness.

functional integration with Wenonah

From that being present,
in easy and gentle increments,
you are guided,
by touch
and word,
to new and better feeling
of using yourself
and being in your body.

These lessons
to beginners
appear to be "body work."

back ease
neck ease
shoulder ease
grace and joy in movement
moving as if 20 years younger
ability to "work out" without the usual masochistic nonsense
discovery of whole new movement, dance and voice possibilities
discovery of the miracle of having a "body"

new ideas
trying new things in life
sudden creative urges
letting go of old, boring patterns
rekindling love of learning

the giggles
a sense of fun
a sense of mischief
a sense of humor
a sense of delight
loving other people
and yourself

These touch guided "lessons"

(a far gentler touch
than you may have ever

Wenonah being held in head

30-40 minute lessons.
You lie or sit comfortably and fully clothed
on a low and firm table.
You are moved and very slow, very gentle, very
brain awakening ways.

Best taken in sets of
5-10 lessons in one week

(10 for children is amazing)
for two weeks and then taking some time
feeling the amazing changes,
and then setting up an ongoing schedule
of 1-3 lesson per week for several weeks on
and several off.

The more you bring one lesson
close to the next
the more the reprogramming of your brain
and action
as a new set of habits and options
ways of being in the world.


contribute to
  • increasing everyday joy,
  • decreasing depression and anxiety,
  • and can
  • radically improve thinking
    and problem solving abilities
  • Sports can get better
  • Sports coaches can radically improve their capabilities
  • High performers
    can improve their already fine level of skill
  • Musicians can learn to tune their bodies
    and their instruments at the same time
  • Carpal tunnel and the aches of sitting around too much,
    or repetitive work can transform
  • Actors and executives can be more in touch
    with an inner clarity
    and vitality
  • Cerebral palsy
    can undergo amazing transformation
  • ordinary aches and pains can be undone
  • and your
  • whole life
  • set out on a course of
  • improvement,
  • joy
  • and
  • learning

If that's not enough
for you
check out the list at
BENEFITS OF THE Anat Baniel Method

To come to skill and understanding
in these lessons,
I studied 5years
in the Feldenkrais Method,
with 1000 hours of training.

The next level up from the Feldenkrais work
is the work of Anat Baniel,
who has kept the magic, and rigor and discovery
alive and thriving in this amazing
system of learning, change,
development and transformation.

I am certified as an Anat Baniel Method
have completed
200 days over four years
(21 of the nine day segments of the Anat Baniel Method

Advanced Training in the Anat Baniel System:

Special Needs Children: 31 days the first time around, and then redoing this training, for 4 nine day segments, for another 36 days

Vitality and Anti-Aging: 18 days, plus redoing the first nine day segment once again

High Performers and Peak Learning: 9 days