Archive for the ‘Organic Learning’ Category

Staying Healthy with the Feldenkrais Method ®

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

“Health is our ability to realize our avowed and unavowed dreams”! (Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais)

How do we come by our individual habits whether they be in how we think, feel or move ourselves? This is the story of our lives. Some of our habits serve us well and some hold us back, limiting full expression of our wishes and dreams.  Too often we don’t even realize what is limiting us!  Our individual story, our history of what we interpret happened to us defines our experience of the world.  Our story encompasses a litany of emotions of love, nurturing, abuse, trauma, accidents and pleasure.
“Life is movement. Improve your movement and you will improve your life”! (Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais)

Movements originate in our brain. The brain has a “blue print” for every act we intend to do. When we want to change our habits or ways of action, it is not the muscles we need to change. We have to change our brain’s habitual patterns that activate and organize the muscles. Dr. Feldenkrais, through research and his own experiences, discovered a way to make this possible. He devised a way to change habits that get in our way and improve them with new more beneficial ones that will become as natural to us as the ones we come to realize don’t serve us as well.

Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais – an Israeli physicist, engineer, scientist, Judo master and the originator of the Feldenkrais Method, introduced his work to the United States in the 1970’s.  The premises of his work was not about prescribed movements as in dance, Pilates, Yoga or Tai-Chi, but rather about the natural movements we learn as babies and use every day as adults to function optimally as humans.  The more optimal we function, the healthier we remain.  This doesn’t mean we don’t get sick but rather that when we do, we move through it faster, easier with less prolonged symptoms.

Dr. Feldenkrais’ method has given ordinary people the means to make the activities of their daily life more pleasurable and pain free.  It enables one to expand their range and quality of movements regardless of age, diagnosis or physical conditions. And now, decades after Dr. Feldenkrais’ innovative approach to improving our quality of life, we now see that all the latest brain research agrees with Dr. Feldenkrais about the importance of healthy, well coordinated movements to the health of the brain.  Makes no difference whether we are babies, minors, adults or senior citizens.

The movement lessons, called Awareness Through Movement® are done lying on the floor, in all different orientations as well as in sitting and standing. The movements are easy and gentle to explore.  They are designed to awaken in you what you actually do and how to make whatever you do feel easier and more comfortable.  Too often we think we are doing one think and in fact are doing something quite different!  It’s as if we are saying yes and no at the same time!

Where are you holding, where do you feel tension? Do you stop breathing? Do you habitually stiffen your jaw when you move? How much or how little do you feel yourself, is it only when you hurt?  How much of your whole self participates in a movement, do you actually use all of you? Poor Neuro-Muscular and skeletal use limits our physical, mental and emotional life. They also limit our performance, be it in athletics, music, dance, theater, or in anything we do even if it’s something like bending down, reaching for something on the top shelf, or turning to veer into traffic or park.

So what if you believed for a moment that you could enhance an improvement in how you think, feel and move, what would it be worth for you to reclaim some of your sense of vitality, potency, being able to do what you want, when you want without pushing yourself to the limit, straining, stressing, striving only to regress into discomfort?

Why not search for where you can find an Awareness Through Movement Feldenkrais class and join in, come lie on the floor and feel what a difference it can make!

The “S” Words, Which Ones Do You Choose!

Monday, July 29th, 2013

What comes to mind when you think about the “S” words.  Often we smile and think of the explosive word that releases tension in a frustrating moment.  What about the words that are so pronounced in our culture of stretching, straining, stressing and striving.  You know the dictate of, “No pain, no gain” – REALLY!

I’d like to transition our focus to the “S” words that have created so much more for me.  Think about exploring something, especially when it’s new with the focus of Safe, Satisfying, Sensing ourselves, Slow to notice what we’re doing or at least attempting to do, Small to discern little differences, Smooth vs. jerky, Soft instead of jarring ourselves and Subtle.  There are so many other “S” words to add to this list like, Silky, Sexy, Slippery, Skillful, Sliding….  When we take the time to listen, we can find a better path to travel from which we can hone our skill, improving and developing speed to go fast, strong without difficulty and finding that with NO PAIN we create a massive GAIN!  No baby pushes to the point of pain, they stop, recalculate and begin anew.  This is what we did when we were babies until maybe we were taught how to strive, stress, stretch ourselves to the limit and pay a hefty price in time.

So next time you are interested in going to the next step, “Slow down, you move too fast, gotta make the morning last just trippin down the cobble stones, lookin for love and feelin groovey”!

Don’t Want to Loss it, USE IT but it’s in the HOW!

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Here’s what I keep learning, more and more each day!

Our capacity to COMFORTABLY GET DOWN to the ground and COMFORTABLY GET BACK UP AGAIN is serious stuff!  Maybe you notice in yourself or certainly in others around you an anxiety to get to the floor and back up again.  As adults we rarely go to the ground and play around “down there”.  For many of us it scares us.  Fear of pain, a difficulty in figuring out how to do something we use to do but don’t feel as safe because of stiffness, or maybe there’s concern about losing our balance and falling?  Any of this sound familiar?

When we lose this curiosity to play and ground-time, what happens is a decrease in our ability to function efficiently.  Fear of falling becomes the norm and we slowly lose our independence.  According to new scientific research, it can even determine how long we live!

When we learned how to move and get up off the floor for the first time it happened by accident.  Think as a baby -> infant -> toddler, how you had to discover balance, skeletal support and muscular efficiency.  We didn’t think about it, it just happened, standing up on our own two feet for the first time, it took us by surprise!   In truth, it took lots of time with lots of curiosity that fueled our play, our explorations to continue to figure out how to do something that enabled more in our lives.

When we give up on this play time, the result is too often a stiff body and rigid mind, neither of which can bend and play, or discover an invent like we once did.

Unfortunately, most of us have lost this curiosity and desire to play with our body and imagination in the way we once did.  We might diligently work out, reps and sets, doing our exercises but is this with awareness or are we just in a pattern where our brain tunes out?

Remember how as a kid we made believe for hours, fantasizing in our joyful imagination of what could be.  Can you remember how that made you feel, the endorphins and good hormones that fueled our healthy growth?  Do you ever wish you could revisit those moments of feeling so good, free an uninhibited?

When we keep exploring with awareness the richness and diversity of movement that our body can offer, it opens up richness and diversity in both thought and creativity! When we cease this richness and diversity, our body and brain get dull along with it.  You know the saying, “Don’t use it, lose it!”!

Here is what I keep learning and share, continue to explore new and different things that you have a desire or interest in.  Do little bits at a time, bring your attention and awareness to what you are doing.  Anat Baniel, a phenomenal creature of learning from the origins of The Feldenkrais Method (R) speaks of “Awaring”.  Just like playing, thinking, feeling, sensing, loving, we need to keep our attention with mindfulness in action, just like any verb/gerund.

I do this daily, playing, exploring whatever I do with a freshness and newness to everything.  I bring an Awareness Through Movement (R) into everything I do, with intention and pleasure.  In doing so I keep my mind and body active, freer and happier!  Wishing you the same!

The “D” Words

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

It’s been quite a while since my return to blogging.  Hectic schedules, days filled with teaching, clients, learning and growing and although I have had every intention of blogging, where has the time gone!  So I am back to share an idea, something that has been formulating in my mind for a while now.

So often a client or student will share with me their “diagnosis”, maybe it’s their difficulty in doing something they use to be able to do.  Their “Disease”, “Disability” or “Dysfunction”, and I notice how these “D”words take the life out of them.  We too often become reduced to a description or a label that is put on us.  How can we move through whatever difficulty we find ourselves in at the moment and move forward and beyond the “D” words?

There are so many resources now in books, tapes, trainings to enable us to return to a place of knowing ourselves, feeling ourselves in a place of ease, comfort and inquisition.  Learning to be curious and ask better questions of ourselves, to know ourselves as we are and as we hope to be.  Some of the approaches I suggest are to remain in a place of listening, non-judgmentally to your thoughts, wishes, aspirations.  There is “Whole Body Focusing”, “Open Focus”, Feldenkrais (R) Method of Somatic Learning, Guided Imagery and many more ways to return to a place of quieting from our daily rushing about, living an out of body existence instead of being in our body, sensing and feeling ourselves, our emotions, mental thoughts and images.

We are a society drugged with pharmaceuticals, not bothering to ask questions as to whether this medicine is really necessary.  We are driven by fear of the unknown and the authorities we give our power over to.  Be willing to ask questions of treatments and options.  Be a team player, partner with your medical support, for that matter with those that you interact with be it work, home life, medical concerns, a sport you play…

It is not simply a medical model I speak of, also the muscling and obsessive pushing, “gym rats”, obsessed with an imagine and attaining it at what cost.  I am all for health, fitness, dancing and having once been a “gym rat” myself, I have learned that this too can become an obsession we drive ourselves to the tipping point, doing damage to our joints and overall health and well being.

Are we asking of ourselves the questions that lead us to answers, always inquiring how to attain and achieve your desired goals.?  That is my thought to share.  How many new and different thinks do you experience on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis?  Are you passionate about something, anything?  Find your passion and begin to follow it to a place out of the complacency of not doing anything new or different that challenges you to renew, revitalize, restore and regenerate yourself.  Who do you want to be and how might you find a path to get there?  Be willing to dream again, move beyond your known and beliefs of what you can and cannot do.  Be bold, explore, go easy, gentle and without judgement and find where this can lead you.  Maybe new horizons will appear before you, to revitalize you!

This is my wish for you today!  Enjoy life to the fullest, in the moment with a thought of what can come that will make you smile and bring joy and greater ease and simplicity!  And by all means, live life with Passion!

Brain Power, How to Keep it, How you Lose it!

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

As we age and mature, what are the thoughts that concern you the most?  For some it is a fear of falling, others realize they are beginning to forget details, or they can’t do what they use to do, or want to do.  How often do you speak about what you use to be able to do instead of focusing on how to do more of what you really want?  We make excuses that attempt to sooth our discouraged spirit, lick our wounds so to speak.  Do you often find that you are talking about yourself as what you used to be able to do?  What are you not learning here?

We now know that our brains are constantly developing new neurons, the building blocks of life.  Many decades ago this was refuted although there have been many great thinkers and leaders of this work that were establishing this thread as far back as the 1940’s.  Dr Moshe Feldenkrais was writing his “Mature Body and Behavior” then, following up with “The Potent Self”, all engaging in this process of learning.  Today there are programs that explain all about Neuroplasticity.   What does this mean?

Our brains have the capacity to continue to develop new neural pathways.  We know and continue to see that those who continue to engage in new acts, functions, learning new things, are curious, are the ones that stave off modern day illnesses that take away our vitality: Dementia, Alzheimer’s, even Parkinson’s Disease, or maybe it’s the aches and pains of Arthritis or a full recovery from surgeries.  When we stop learning, using ourselves as we did with interest as we did when younger, we lose what we don’t use.

You want to know how to stay feeling younger, more vital and vibrant?  Do new and interesting things!  It is a mind set of You Get to Do this, instead of the “have to”, should, or if only I could mindset.  What is it you really would love to do that you make excuses for not doing because of some trauma or ache or pain?  What’s your excuse?

Find the things that engage you that instead of saying, “if only I could” or “I use to be able to do that”, if it’s something you would love to do or simply have an interest, give it a go!  It’s not about being cavalier, rather listening and figuring out how would I make this possible?  We did this as infants, figuring out how to do something we desired, it’s called survival!  We used ourselves, efficiently, with all of our sensory organs (telereceptors in our head: 2 eyes; to ears; 2 nostrils, our mouth and also the end of the alimentary system, the other end, and then all of our kinesthetic sensory touch abilities).

Engage in life again, being curious, doing new things that interest you.  Notice the language you use, does it serve you well or does it derail you to stay stuck in your known.  From our known there is comfort at first but too quickly it turns into complacency and stagnation.

Move into life, do things that give you joy and open your horizons again.  Since you are reading this it means something intrigued you to read on.  How many varieties of activities and new interests do you open yourself up to?  Do you find yourself only doing what you know how to do, never engaging in new things to give it a try.  Do you only try something once, poo pooing it and then take a pass or do you become curious as to why some really LOVE it, what are you missing out on?  What do they see that you don’t? 

Find where to begin and begin at the beginning, learning how to learn, not thinking about if you are good enough, learn how to “make the impossible possible, the possible easy, the easy pleasant and the pleasant elegant!”  It’s your birthright, don’t give up, it’s your life, I hope you live it to the fullest!

How We Use Our Brains!

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

There’s been much talk of late about the neuroplasticity of our brains ability to remap territory.  If someone loses the use of a limb as many of our returning soldiers do, or goes blind or deaf, how is it that they can relearn through using other parts in their brain that were designated for the lost function. Dr.  Moshe Feldenkrais was exploring this back in the 40′s, how do we learn.  Now modern science is playing catch up.

Even with all our technological advancements in the allopathic western medical arena there is still so much that eludes us.  When medicine and science are not able to answer or fix the problems, here is how we can continue to persevere, grown, learn and reap all the joy life has to offer.

This is an amazing story of one family who against all odds keeps a belief and spirit of how to learn.  It is a tribute to how we develop, learn, how we can employee so much of our brain power that we don’t use, and how to continue to improve and make life pretty amazing.

To learn more about the boy who sees without eyes, click here!

Hydrotherapy, who’s this for?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

There are so many ways to take care of yourself, especially in this hot summer heat wave but what if you are injured, paralyzed or dealing with a serious health challenge, can water therapy help? The answer is yes! While in the water we are more buoyant and able to maneuver without the added weight of gravity pressing down on us. Especially when there is the need to rehabilitate, water or hydrotherapy is a reliable way to do the work in awakening our brains, nervous and musculoskeletal systems, in fact, all of our 11 systems that make up the human bodily functioning but that’s not just for us!

Many years ago I took my beloved Shembala, an English Black Lab for hydrotherapy to aid and improve her elbow dysplasia.  By the time we became aware of this condition it was too late to attempt surgery.  That is often done when the dysplasia is in the hip but elbows are another story all together and if a surgical intervention is to be considered it needs to be while they are still pups.  The results were impressive.  Shembala regained much mobility and although we could never get rid of this condition, we improved her ability to function and live life to her fullest while we had her in our lives.  And now here’s another story of a 6 year old cat named Nazzaning.  To learn more about this wonderful success story of Nazzaning who after an accident suffered with a paralyzed front paw and quickly rehabilitated the use of his arm and paw/fingers with hydrotherapy. To learn more, click here.

It’s Hard, Really Hard Sometimes to Change Unless You Want to!

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

I’ve been following the focus and thoughts of Dr. Joel Fuhrman for several years now. I too have difficulty always being as focused and diligent in my eating regime yet I realize that I can continue to renew my focus.  I notice the things I tell myself, becoming more mindful and returning when I fall of the wagon so to speak to a more balanced, enjoyable and delicious diet that enables me to live life to the fullest!

We all know people who are seriously charging to an early sick bed or worst. And we know how “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink!” And you can, non- judgmentally present them with information that when they are ready they can make better choices and turn things around. You know, if you’re alive, your hearts still beating and your brain still alive, there’s time.

Give yourself the time to read more about this amazing turn around story that all thought beyond hope. This is a real life story, person and a life now living to the fullest. Learn more about Dr. Joel Fuhrman by clicking here.

Laughter and Exercise both Improve your Health!

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

How many times have you heard someone tell you what the have to do or they should but you can tell by their expression and body language that their heart really isn’t in to it. Maybe it’s about working out to improve their health or lose weight, it could be any thing that we resist doing. Now what if you could connect the effects of enjoyable exercise and laughter, that’s a thought! You know what it’s like when you’re watching a show with someone or at an outing and someone tells a joke or something funny happens and you begin to laugh and laugh and before you know it you and others are laughing uncontrollably until one of you is grabbing at your gut begging with tears of laughter to stop so you can catch your breath! You know how you feel, rejuvenated, alive, you feel great! When you feel good you don’t feel bad, now that’s a thought! What are the things you are telling yourself, are they good things, insults, what you should be doing, self defeating language or beneficial things?  What if you thought of the things that make you laugh, I mean really give you a chuckle, how many times a day do you do that! We all have experiences, things that we reflect on in our lives that fuel us. Do you fill yourself up with negative thoughts and actions or positive, and how often do you laugh and then laugh out loud.? It’s contagious, laughing and those who catch the bug of laughter don’t always have to know what’s so funny because the excitement and joy of laughter is too much fun to challenge.

So think about the things that make you smile, make you happy and then take it to the next step and reflect on the things that make you laugh even if you are laughing at yourself with humor and love and go take a walk, hike, garden, play with your kids or pets, go to the gym and enjoy the things that you get to do.

To learn more about a study on the benefits of laughter in reducing stress, appetite, weight loss and improving your health, click here.

Feeling Better? What’s Learning Got To Do With It!

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Working in the complimentary alternative medical field (CAM), I too often meet clients that want to be fixed. Something has happened in their life dynamics, they’re not happy, the pain becomes chronic and then all the justifications as to why this has happened develop. They’ve run the course of different disciplines still looking for an answer, is there one? The answer is yes and there’s something you can do about it!

“When you get injured, you limit movement to stop the pain. Once the pain is gone, though, you don’t start to move as if you were never injured — the brain still remembers the injury and protects the area,” says Elgelid. Such compensation can lead to further problems. “Unless you retrain those movement abilities, you limit yourself more and more.”

Our problems are not always from an injury but often from a lack of awareness as we move through our careers or sports passions, locked in habitual patterns of thinking and moving that limit ourself and lead to these debilitating concerns. Sometimes it’s simply that we’re not functioning or playing as well as we know we can.  How do we maneuver through this hurdles when the standard and honored approaches don’t do the trick? To learn more and find out what you can do now to improve how you live life so that you can do what you want when you want, click here!