How much effort are you using right now to read this? To sit in a chair? To breathe? Some people may not think they are using effort at all. But you are alive, and your body is using some effort to be upright against gravity or else would fall down. What would happen if you engaged with less effort in your activities and utilized that extra brain power to sense more around yourself?
From my experience in athletics and scholastics, if my cohorts and I weren’t giving our 100% (or 110%) effort and Continue reading →
People with knee pain or injuries often are told to strengthen their knee to overcome their problem. While strengthening can be an important thing, there may be some strain or misaligned patterns that can slow healing or restrict function. Strengthening exercises without good alignment can actually create new problems or exacerbate old ones. Surgeries or knee replacements can be a godsend, and good aligned movement is important to prevent further injury or damage. I recommend Continue reading →
For hips to function well, the sensation of the legs through feet to the ground needs to be clear. In an earlier post, I have a series of lessons to wake up this connection to the ground through tapping the bones of the feet and using a fist to beat or vibrate against the thighs and lower leg to connect with the bones. Once this connection is felt, it’s easier for the hips to function. Walking and standing is easier and lighter. With Feldenkrais work, these lessons work because of your attention to sensation during the activity.If you simply tap your foot or beat your leg without bringing your awareness to these feelings and sensations, there is less or minimal improvement. Continue reading →
As summer winds down in the Northwest, as you may have read from the previous post, I decided to walk barefoot outdoors as much as possible. Research on the effects of barefoot walking show that many foot problems and joint injuries are relieved from walking barefoot outside, on the earth. However, even with my Feldenkrais training, martial arts, meditation and other physical training, my feet got pretty sore in the past weeks from walking barefoot too far, too fast. Getting back to barefoot walking takes patience, curiosity
and skin conditioning to develop the new coordination and dexterity. Here’s what I’ve learned from research and practice on how to begin the process of walking barefoot outside: Continue reading →
My work with the Feldenkrais Method® can greatly relieve low back pain, one of the most common areas of chronic pain in the body. In helping people become more aware of how they can use their bones for support in movement,relief can be immediate.
“I can’t move my head very far to the left,” my client M said as she turned her head to demonstrate her problem.
M’s neck stuttered slowly through the turn, like a gear mechanism with something caught in its cogs. Her eyes narrowed and squinted with a willful look. Cords of neck muscle fluttered like a taut rope along a flagpole banging against the metal. Her head stopped halfway before her chin approached her shoulder. I could sense an invisible wall of resistance. Something refused for her neck to go further.
As we paddled to shore from our dolphin swim, we noticed a small, dark head about the size of a tennis ball near the reef. A sea turtle. I looked at my partner and said, “I have to go in,” and slid into the water with my snorkel gear. Something in me told me to wait. So I gently tread water, took slow breaths with my snorkel and watched the turtle under the surface from about fifteen yards away. Last year, I nearly collided with a giant, nearly blind, turtle who swam toward me but at the last moment ducked just inches under my body. However, this turtle acted differently and had turned in my direction and glided toward me.
Think of moment when you felt truly alive. Maybe it was an ecstatic moment: a long awaited kiss, a rigorous athletic event, a surprising sunset, a raucous lightening storm. Or maybe a painful moment that shook you up: heart-break from the loss of a loved one, a serious illness, a sprained ankle, a plunge into a frigid river.
Experiences are heightened by our senses– touch, sight, smell, sounds, taste, and physical orientation. The stronger and clearer the sensation, the deeper the experience.
People often ask me whether it is good for the body to stretch. I think it depends on the intensity of the stretch, but read on and decide for yourself.
In general, stretching commonly involves pulling against the nerves of a muscle (golgi tendon organ and muscle spindles) which tell you by tightening when to stop a movement. In other words, overstretching is often felt as forcing the body to lengthen against this resistance. This is a special kind of message to the nervous system where the mind commands the body to overcome the body’s boundary of protection. Imagine holding on to a teddy bear while somebody else is trying to pull it away. That’s an extreme example of feeling of resistance to force.