Monday, December 05, 2011

Piggybacking on Evolution

Piggybacking on Evolution

What we do, as Feldenkrais and Anat Baniel practitioners, is elusive to many, and extremely effect, often. One way I’ve come to see as one source of our effectiveness is what I call “piggybacking” on evolution.

Many types of bodywork seem interested in “fixing” this problem or that. Many want to balance something. Many wish to release “blocked” energy.

And we just move people slowly and gently in ways related to this famous word “function.” Functional Integration we call what we do when we aren’t being lazy and called it FI. I’m a big fan of keeping that word Function front and center, and this piggybacking phrase of mine could be little more than another way of saying that.

Then again, maybe it hints to a bit more.

Take one of the simplest and most effective Functional Integration lessons. ( Notice I did not say FI). The client lies on their side, both arms forward, one palm on the other. We work with the shoulder via the vertebrae and the ribs and the pelvis and gently moving the hand forward and the usual this and that.

And what are we doing this “working with” the shoulder.

We’re doing what I call piggybacking on evolution, which in this case is a human body evolved with a shoulder very loosely connected to the other bones of our body so that the “function” of reaching forward can be incredibly fluid and accurate and of almost infinite variation.

Evolution helped us create such a shoulder to help the hands reach forward for food, for love, for craft, for cooking, for wrestling, for opening doors and throwing spears.

We have a big batch of vertebrae, all of which can contribute to this reaching forward function.

As practitioners we don’t have to sweat “range of motion” or even “relaxation.” We “just” have to help that amazing product of evolution, the human shoulder, become even better at becoming a shoulder.

We can roll the ribs. We can engage the neck. We can connect the pelvis to the shoulder. Every little thing we do that “wakes up” that shoulder to be a better “functioning” example of the shoulder that evolution spent millions of years creating for human beings, every little bit adds up, because it’s way IMPORTANT to four million years of humanity that this shoulder be a better and better shoulder.

And that’s what I mean by “piggybacking” on evolution.

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