Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feeding,, Fighting and Feldenkrais

Before I launch forward on my 4 F essay, I'd like to recommend you try and
play with
and benefit from
the little qigong exercise I presented yesterday.

This morning, in the local park where I do my morning Tai Chi,
I played around with it,
and came up with a sweet variation that takes it to a whole new

that, with pictures I hope, I'll present tomorrow.

For today, though, practice at least as much breathing out during the expansion
hand floating into the air phase of the movment.

And barefoot, barefoot, especially outside on an uneven surface: great for you and your learning, lvoing, connecting self.

Feeding,, Fighting and Feldenkrais.

Feeding, F…ing, Fighting and Feldenkrais.

Why in that order?

Because if we don’t eat, we’ll die, and so a system that is about increasing happiness and well being and vitality in life has to keep us alive, and to stay alive we need to eat. And let’s have some fun: what is the most important movement to a human being who is no longer sucking at the breast?

Answer: bringing at least one hand to our mouth.

This is a movement that has a FUNCTION.

 If you come to a practitioner for a private lesson, they are called Functional Integration lessons, and if you were to lie on your back on that pleasantly firm Feldenkrais table, and the practitioner were to begin to bring one of your hands in the direction of above your head, she or he would first bring your hand toward your mouth, and then in front of your face, and then, bit by bit, probably, toward above your head.

This function, hand to mouth is a big deal to our brains. The brain doesn’t think about muscles and bones (as far as I know), but it really loves and knows this movement apple to mouth, fork of yum food to mouth, celery stick to mouth, glass of water to our mouth. So if a practitioner were to just “make better” this movement of hand toward your mouth, in sitting, and lying on your back, and lying on your side, that “better” would spill out into all sorts of ease and clarity in movement in back, neck, ribs, shoulder, pelvis, breathing, hands, fingers, and probably even more.

The goal isn’t to get your hand to your mouth. If you couldn’t do that, you probably wouldn’t be coming in for a lesson. You’d either be dead or hospitalized. The goal is to piggy back onto the importance and deep seated nature of this function to improve all sorts of things: your use of your shoulders and neck and pelvis, just for examples.

And then there is the “bigger” picture of feeding as in where does the food come from? And can Feldenkrais help that?


Let’s say you want to raise some healthy food, save some money, get fresh air, sunshine, exercise, slow down your life a bit, reconnect with the Earth. Where am I leading us? 

 To a garden, of course, 
and all that leaning, kneeling, pulling, shoveling, swinging a pick around, up and down, all this is a great chance to limber up and keep young and flexible feeling and moving in our bodies.

To say nothing of the pure meditative value of being outdoors, assisting Life to be even more abundance, sensing our movement and our breathing and our connection to the Earth in the moment.

Yes, yes, and what of the various “aches and pains” that keep some of us from gardening?

F to the rescue. 

Group classes, private lessons, follow various blogs (click on movement lessons from labels to the right) that include lessons, make up your own, but have a garden: it’s good for you and good for the Earth.

There are other foods, the meats, cheeses, fish, seeds, fruits, and so on, which you could raise, or go out and hunt or fish or plant trees for. F would help with that.

And then that unfortunately or not disconnected feeding necessity of going to the store and paying good old fashioned money, can F help us stand on our own two feet and earn our living?


It’ a long story, but let’s just say, that part of the “side effects” of lessons seems to be a sense that we can start out on a path with an intention, and by awareness and flexibility, keep pursuing that intention much more easily and enjoyably than if we hadn’t been doing lessons.

Or so it seems to me.

Okay, feeding and F. One helps the other.

Now F…ing, which I’m tired of typing so will just use the well understood three letter calling card to modern day attention: S-E-X.

Do we need sex?

As a species, yes, though a strong case could be made for having a lot less reproduction, and for having the population headed back to something like a fourth of what it now is, and boy is that a trouble to the economies based on this endless growth idea.

And a long and amazing discussion could be had about the awareness part of Feldenkrais and the focus on the process and how that could all contribute to a world not so hell bent to consume itself into extinction, and we won’t have that discussion here.

We’ll just say this: sex seems to be good for people who can find a decent and loving partner, good for the spirits, good for old fashioned mammalian needs to be touched and to touch, good for balancing the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, good for the breathing, the sleep, the practicing of paying attention to someone beside to usual “me, me, me.” 

And good clean exercise for the pelvis and spine, some nice opportunity to move a central part of our moving organism. That is either a sloppy sentence or a way of viewing ourselves that I think is useful, and part of Moshe Feldenkrais’ contribution to seeing the human being as a marvelous engineering project. 

What is this pelvis between two legs that walk and run and stand us and the spine that holds up head to see and hands to grab, hug, put apples in the mouth, shoot arrows at moving future meat, what is this pelvis about?

A lot.

And my F trainer once said, perhaps even on the first day of training, that “the punch line to every Feldenkrais joke is the pelvis.”

In my training since with Anat Baniel, the key to the huge shift she and her students get with special needs children is kicking in their lower backs and the power of the pelvis.

Same with results of all this work with high powered musicians or athletes: get the pelvis and lower back to hold up the head, so that shoulders and head and arms and free, and you have a happier, more easily moving person.

So sex and Feldenkrais go together like the hands on a pelvic clock. That’s sort of an inside joke, but if it doesn’t make sense, buy Moshe’s book, Awareness Through Movement

and read and do the lesson called… the pelvic clock.
Will Feldenkrais help your sex?

And now fighting, which is silly, or not to include in this list.

Let’s think historically, as in why you and I are still here. Somewhere back there we probably had ancestors that fought off the cold, or bad guys, or wild animals, or forest fires/ floods and so on.

Moshe Feldenkrais himself, learned of necessity, hand combat and judo for survival reasons in the early days of Palestine before Israel became a state.
Many a martial artist has or could improve their tai chi, karate, judo, aikido, boxing, with two hints that Moshe stressed as central to martial arts: one having the power connected to the pelvis region and that region always clear and connected to gravity, and two: having a flexible and mobile neck and eyes, so we can always look around to find the enemy.

Or friend.

Or lover.

Or food.

Any Feldenkrais lesson could and perhaps even should increase our clarity, ease and power in our pelvis, and ease and mobility in our neck and breathing.

What’s breathing got to do with it?

Well, even more important that eating, we need to breathe. And the easier our breathing is the easier our life is.

Or so it seems to me.
How about for you?

And so I could have said: Breathing, Feeding, F…ing, Fighting and Feldenkrais, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

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