Thursday, March 26, 2009

How "the method" Works, Part One: Teamwork, part one


How many on the team? How many are coming to the party?

A party of one: not a real party.

A soccer or baseball team of one or two, again, not so great.

And one way of seeing this work is to think of it as reminding the various parts of us that they aren’t in this moving and living thing on their own.

Let’s explore this example.

Sit at a table or desk.

Put your right hand on the table and slowly move it out and away from you, thinking just of your hand. Go out and back slowly, just paying attention to the feel and sense of this.

Now rest.

Now, do the same back and forth movement, and think of your elbow and your hand moving forward and back.


Now, think of shoulder and elbow and hand. Go slowly and try to notice as much as you can and make the movement slightly new and interesting to you.


Now use the other hand to discover and feel where your right shoulder blade is. See if you can feel the top, the edges, the bottom. With your left hand still behind you and on the bottom of your shoulder blade if you can do this comfortably (or have someone else touch there lightly), move your hand and arm forward and back, feeling the involvement of your shoulder blade.

Go very slowly, and try to sense the movement, no matter how small in the shoulder blade.


Now do the same movement, but with your left hand on the ribs underneath the shoulder blade. See if you can feel some movement in them as the hand and arm and shoulder and shoulder blade come forward and back.

Rest. In all the rests, feel the difference right arm to left, and the greater awareness of that whole side of your body. Notice differences in your breathing and other areas in your right side.

Now. Leaving the hand alone, just move your right shoulder blade and ribs forward and back. And then go back to moving the hand and arm, the whole teams.


Now, leaving all the arm stuff alone, think about moving the right side of your pelvis forward, as if you are rotating your belly bottom to the left. Perhaps moving your right knee forward will get this going. Go slowly forward with your right hip, and then back, and feel perhaps what happens in your spine and ribs.

Rest, noticing as above.

Now, move hand, elbow, shoulder, shoulder blade, ribs, spine and right side of the pelvis in one cooperative movement, forward and back. See if the movement is clearer and easier and fuller with the “whole team” taking part.

Now let’s expand the party to include two people, to do this exploration with another person, or a special needs child. Have them sitting at a table or desk, and very easily move their hand forward and back along the desk or table.

Now, very very gently have your hand underneath their shoulder blade and more following along than guiding, and the other hand on their elbow, help the shoulder blade and the hand feel as if the are part of the “same team” of moving the hand forward and back.


Now, with one hand on their elbow, and one very very lightly on the ribs under the shoulder blade, again, more just going along for the ride, help them feel the ribs and shoulder blade and elbow as all part of one “team” moving the hand forward and back.

Don’t push.

Don’t demand.

Just explore and help them explore how their team works together at this moment in their lives. The better this feels for them, and you, the more the learning and ease-ing and increasing of awareness and ease and skill.

There is nothing to do “right.”

There are tons of little details and sensations to learn and explore, for both the people in this dance.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Strength out of gyms and into Life

check the links before,
people knowing how fitness
can be built in real ways,

all that's missing is working with
sledge hammer
wrecking bar
and other fun stuff:

real work, too for real strength

Here's the links:

Man in Nature, swim run jump happy fitness

another man in woods, getting cool and strong

And one more link
the article in Men's Health
(a really weird/ interesting sociological/ psychological document)
that started it all off:

Fitness in the Wild


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

flexible hearts

non grudge holder

a few weeks back
I did one of those things I
do every once in a while

which is to say,
I send out some communication,
this time an email,
this presents me in the "I am right" mode
which as always,
has the unfortunate, "you are wrong" mode
tagging along

I made a mistake.
I realized it.

I felt bad.
I apologized.

And the other side didn't
for anything but

that's their business.

Wasn't so terrible what I
just a bit insensitive,
and now they want to hang

that's their life.

If I go into "I'm right, they're wrong"
they should forgive,
I'm right back where I started.

But, one thing,
that I've come to realize,
is that any areas in my life,
where I'm holding onto a grudge
or a demand
that the other person
'shape up'/ change/ see things my way
and so on
is a place of
mental and emotional inflexibility
that I have to/ get to work on.

And, as in our bodies, so
in our minds and hearts,
when we go past (when I go past)
the inflexible to the flexible....
it/ I feel so much better.


Making the inflexible flexible
Making the flexible varied
Making the varied delightful

Monday, March 16, 2009

Special Needs Children and Learning Challenges

Update from a posting of October 17, 2006:


Sometimes children need help in their learning.

They may have been born with a neurological issue,
such as cerebral palsy or a stroke, or brachial plexus.
There can be complications in utero or at birth.
Hospital procedures can go awry.
All sorts of traumas can occur.

For these neurological issues,
as well as children with "ordinary" learning challenges
(as in reading and math and social adjustment and co-ordination)
(invented by Israeli physicist, judo master and child development expert, Moshe Feldenkrais, 1904-1984)
and even more especially the method as refined
in the Anat Baniel Method for Children,
(see Overview, Anat Baniel Method for Children)
is the supreme way on this Earth of helping these children.

This is because in these methods,
we recreate the natural pathways of learning
and wake up the brain to its possibilities of
change and learning and improvement
in a way that no amount of physical therapy or surgery ever can do.

Think of a child learning to crawl.
She or he sees no one crawling,
gets no crawling lessons,
isn't pressured to learn,
doesn't even think about learning to crawl.
He or she just moves this way and that
and learns hundreds of ways to understand
and move
and sense
and coordinate themselves.

A huge amount of learning
involves pushing down
and raising this and that
part of themselves against
the ongoing pull of

And then one day,
wanting to get across the room
or yard
the child "miraculously" pulls together the twenty things
they need
and crawl.

This is organic learning.

This is learning based on function.

This is learning where the brain, the body,
discovery, intention, and action all
merge to create an
upgraded human being.

This is why this method is so amazingly effective.

For a summary
and continued explanation
see Amazing One on One Lessons

You might be excited to
experience the amazing videos
working with three children.
Watching the progress of these
three children over a period of time
you can see the almost miraculous changes.
Try this:
  • Grace, Isabel and Carter Transform and Heal.

  • This work, for a child with learning difficulties,
    is the fresh drink they have been desperate for all their lives.
    They are not pushed, or prodded, or force to "do it right."
    They are not "fixed," or moved in ungentle ways.

    They are given small pieces of real and immediately felt learning
    (inner and organic "learning,"
    not the imposed kind that gives "learning" a bad sound to many children, and adults)
    and they begin to renew and change almost before our eyes.

    For lessons,
    a free initial phone consultation,
    Chris Elms
    at 707-721-6835

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    gravity, learning, dance, life, fun, yes

    in the feldie
    the better we understand
    our relationship
    to gravity

    the better we can function

    this cat
    has mastered
    a four legged way
    of relating to gravity:


    and here's someone who learned
    it as art
    not necessity,

    note the differences

    Tuesday, March 03, 2009

    The Feldenkrais Method®

    right now,
    for those of us who are practitioners
    and can stand it,
    there is a ridiculous
    tempest in a teacup
    battle raging:

    Is there a Feldenkrais Method?
    Is there anything that Feldenkrais practitioners
    find in common?
    Are we burdened with the name Feldenkrais,
    or given an anchor that keeps us on track?

    And so on.

    first off,
    third question:
    I love describing the method
    as coming from someone
    way good at judo
    a real discover and experiment scientist
    a physicist interesting in the engineering miracle of the human body
    a student of learning fascinated with how babies organically learn so much
    so fast

    The three PhD bigshots
    who never ask questions
    and always answer have weighed in:
    nah, no method,
    no common set of practices.

    La, la.

    So be it.
    Their opinion and two bucks will get them
    a bus ride across town.
    My opinion and two bucks with get
    a bus ride across town.

    And, here's a kicker:
    if you really want to remember what the
    Feldenkrais Method is,
    delve into the
    Anat Baniel Method.

    A book is coming out soon;
    by Anat Baniel,
    making very clear
    nine essentials of
    vitality and learning:
    1. movement with attention
    2. slow ( the brain can't learn new if it's going at normal speed)
    3. turn on the learning switch
    4. subtlety
    5. flexible relationship to goals
    6. variation
    7. imagination and dreams
    8. enthusiasm
    9. awareness

    we could also posit these as fundamentals of the Feldenkrais Method:

    we are two legged beings
    we live in gravity
    we were engineered for maximum mobility
    we have a rib cage that gets in the way of things
    we have small feet with many toes
    we have a pelvis around which big muscles have most power
    we have a spine composed of many vertebrae,
    this spine holds up our head and shoulders and arms
    good use of the spine seems pretty useful

    learning based on function
    has a lot more bang per buck
    that learning based on structure
    or this is right
    or how to use the muscles

    learning based on action
    in the real world
    leads to a better life in the real world

    almost anything can be learned
    if broken down into smaller chunks
    even better if this chunks shake
    up established patterns
    and orientations

    reversible motion is good motion
    motion that comes from or increases our lengthen is a good thing

    doing things one or two ways is stucks-ville

    real learning is fun

    sensing ourselves
    --brings us into reality
    --creates conditions for amazing change
    --gives us back the real world underneath all the words

    more could be said,
    but that word statement kind
    of gives me the stop now