Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

LEARNING: How to Be Okay with Stepping Outside of Your Known!

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

As we developed not only in Utero but once born, our process was to learn about ourselves in our environment.  Everything was a new experience.  We became interested in observing everything around us.  In that process at first nothing was differentiated, we as babies moved a bit spastic and everything moved together as one unit.  Slowly, as we began to feel the ground force underneath us, how to push into the ground, we began to develop our ability to sense and feel ourselves in our environment.  Everything informed us.  We were endlessly curious and investigated as we learned how to move ourselves around in our new environment.  As this process became a bit more known we developed our abilities to differentiate so that our hands crossed our midline, we felt a bias that one hand came to our mouth easier, we rolled to one side faster, found our way back to our back but not without some struggle at first to find the path of greater ease.  That path of finding greater ease came with some resistance and frustration so we rested, paused and re-evaluated what was driving our attention. We explored over and over again until a pattern of ability became a habit, something we didn’t need to pay so much attention to.  Then we moved forward to another function that drew our attention.  As we developed there was in a sense an internal hierarchy of patterns of development that healthy babies find deep within us.  At some point as we continued our development we grew to a higher level of independence, this took many years of play, exploring without an intention to be good or do it right.  We were and still to this day, driven as social beings to be included, liked, loved, needed and so as we grew more and more these desires began to also mold our self image.  At some point with most of us we developed to a level where we felt, “it’s good enough” and moved on to another function.  The question is, was that level of accomplishment and development as optimal and efficient that it might not be wise to revisit some of our habits or might it be worthwhile to re-investigate some of our patterns to advance them and therefore ourselves into a more optimal functioning of mind, body and spirit?  I think so and that is my driver and life’s work as a Feldenkrais ® Practitioner and Assistant Trainer.

I developed a belief long ago that for me has been a driving force, advancing myself and my growth forward, seeking more optimal patterns that improve the way I think, feel and move.  When I move better, I like myself more,  I feel happier, my brain is freer from noise that interferes and this allows me to become more productive with less effort and exhaustion.  I’m also endlessly curious as to what makes me tick as well as others.

If every aspect of learning, adding new information into our known, comes with some level of resistance, how do we continue this process is my life’s quest!  I find many people become too habituated to their known without a curiosity to move outside of the comfort zone.  Maybe the question is, has one been pushed with too much resistance and shuts down because an experience created too much effort and lack of pleasurable experiences?

Can we find those things that appeal to us, are easier for us and from that entrance way can we find a lead into areas that are not as simple for us?  I think that is the path of optimal learning, finding the level of resistance that is acceptable, pausing and revisiting the explorations on a daily basis until they too become new habits.  Resistance begets more resistance and if learning is pushing against resistance, maybe becoming more mindful as to what is the amount of resistance we can mange is a good thing!  That seems to me to be the answer.  As babies we learned little bits with consistent explorations on a daily basis.  We didn’t give up, if we had we would not have survived.  Resistance is a good thing, it enables our bones to maintain structural integrity, it leads us to elevate to a higher level of endurance and resilience.  What we need to begin to recognize is our spectrum of tolerance to resistance.  We each have a sliding scale of what we can handle based on what we are doing.  We can begin to recognize where the level of what we can tolerate is different and in each situation learn how to modify the levels of resistance in our quest to develop.  When we can become aware of this process we can continue to learn and improve so that we don’t shut down our curiosity for an improved quality of life.

An athlete moves into resistance, increasing little bits regularly to develop and hone their skills as does a musician, any performer, a scientist in pursuit of a solution to a problem….  How can we apply these skills to how we improve ourselves is what grabs my interest.  As long as we are alive, we have the ability to grow and improve some aspect of life.  When we give up, retire from this interest and curiosity, we decline in all aspects of quality of life.  Life is a gift given to us, what we do with this gift is open to many possibilities.  How to harness the skill to improve, advance and continue growing so that from uninhibited to learning how to inhibit to over inhibiting we return to a place of balancing between what we inhibit and what we open ourselves to in our process of growth, learning, improvement and ability!

Thought of How we create Change for the Better!

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

So here is my offering and thoughts as we turn towards Spring and another Awareness Through Movement class this Tuesday!  With Spring comes the budding of life, hope and rebirth and what does Feldenkrais have to do with that?

In approaches of Feldenkrais, both ATM classes and private Functional Integration sessions (FI) we explore movement patterns. These patterns represent our current as well as past behaviors.  Now behaviors are composed of multiple physiological and psychological neuronal/brain connections, and each forms a unique state, which is a specific pattern.  Since everything is connected, then the advantage of perceiving and working with patterns is that you can initiate a shift from anywhere that will enable  an initiation and reconfiguration of the whole way we experience ourselves.  This creates a change in how we think, feel and move from within!

Patterns we develop are caused by a variety of experiences.  Some of these experiences are good, favorable but not all and for many, some were traumatic.  These experiences that live within us can result in subsequent re-experiencing of overwhelming physiological-psychological patterns.  Thing about times when you might have smelled or seen or something flashed through your brain and a Deja’ vu occurs.  These patterns are in a sense locked in us, they shape us over time.  Our functioning creates our structure as well as our structure creates our functioning, but we don’t have to stay in a place that isn’t where we really want to be!  We can move from there!

In order to create a shift to something more pleasing, desired and in fact attainable, awareness of what you not only do but think is required.  An interest and curiosity in yourself is essential without judgment and that’s a hard thing to learn.  But here’s the key!  Since we know that our experiences embody themselves in how we think, feel and move, then you also realize that any feelings of anxiety and panic result in a feeling of extreme dis-empowerment.  This to often results in a sense of loss and the ability to have choices in self-governance and that leads to a feeling of ones loss of control.

Here’s where the Feldenkrais approaches enable a person ways to put them in charge again, giving each one of us multiple entry points to how we improve our state – body and mind – putting us back in the drivers seat!  Once a new pattern is created or awakened from it’s dormant sleep, we draw attention to it, then help to compare it to the habitual (older more hardwired) patterns.  This process enables the individual to activate it on their own, on demand so to speak, creating a newer, more optimal choice they can call upon.  By bringing the whole pattern into ones awareness, this creates new pathways in our brain and in our physiology.  It is this process that enables one to initiate change on their own, regaining control of our lives to find easier ways to live and do all we care to!

Relief from Chronic Pain – What Does Feldenkrais ® and Neuroplasticity Got to Do with It!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

In our current times we have become familiar with the term, Neuroplasticity.  This is a modern terminology that Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais was speaking about in the 1940’s.  Finally Scientists today concur, our brains are malleable, learning tissue, coordinating and creating new connections versus the older, now dismissed belief that we were born with only a certain amount of neurons and once past a certain age our brains stopped growing.   Our modern research has come to realize that our brains create new neural pathways and alter existing ones so that we can adapt to new experiences.  This is the process of learning and how we create new memories and patterns as we live longer.  Our brains keep growing, making new connections – this is how our brains really function.

This is what the Feldenkrais Method is all about!  We are learning how to learn! In fact, we are remembering how to learn, something we did as babies before we could be taught.  We explored gently, sensing and feeling ourselves in our environment, in our daily experiences, creating patterns and habits for how we would respond, react and survive.  How to learn to adapt, not only to new stimuli and stresses but also how we respond to old stimuli that has triggered us, often in not so pleasant ways.  We learn how to create new and improved responses to these triggers and inputs that help us find better, easier, simpler, nicer ways to live our lives.

It is in practicing these easier patterns of efficiency that we enable these newer or remembered patterns to usurp some of our more obsessive and nagging habits that too often have lead us to chronic pain, different levels of discomfort whether we are calling it, feeling tight, sore, stiff… You know the things you say to express, it’s not so nice.  Are you satisfied with that or are you curious as to how YOU CAN CHANGE that obsessive behavior, did you even realize it was a form of being obsessive?

There are many lessons you can play with and feel right away something nicer!  Come to an Awareness Through Movement ® class and feel for yourself in just one lesson how you can begin to find strategies that make your life easier, nicer and can lead you back to fulfill your dreams that maybe you allowed an authoritative figure take away from you with a diagnosis or simply saying, it’s your genetics, you’re not so young, it’s age related…  Are you really willing to settle for that?  Maybe so but me, NEVER!

It is through my gentle and easy explorations with The Feldenkrais Method that I find and found the vital, potent and youthful me no matter what my age!  And this is coming from an A Type personality who has learned from my experiences of what striving, struggling, pushing, forcing and that old saying that has done more harm to us than good – no PAIN, NO GAIN!  You can make NO PAIN, GAIN possible too if you want!

Look into The Feldenkrais Method, Awareness Through Movement classes or a private session called Functional Integration ® and feel for yourself what you can do to make life so much nicer.  What have you got to lose, your tiredness, chronic pain, fatigue, depression.  Replace it with feeling great, more efficient, getting lots accomplished with more energy, feeling potent, capable and life just gets nicer!

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”!

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.

How To Protect Your Spine!

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

We all know that best intentions don’t always lead to desired results, and when they don’t, who’s to blame? We are too willing to give our power over to someone we consider an authority to teach us how to do something but are we really listening, sensing and feeling what we are doing? Too often the answer is no and then when we incur a problem we are frustrated, angry and sometimes resentful to try something new. We become jaded and either don’t explore other possibilities especially if immediate results aren’t guaranteed or we jump to the next trend in hopes it will be the magic bullet that fixes the problem! Thereafter, it’s the doctors office for a diagnosis and often a prescription to try and fix us or allay the problem we created for ourselves with the best intentions of improving our dynamic. So the question is do our actions best serve our intentions?

A little knowledge goes a long way and if we took a little more time to investigate and really sense and feel if what we are doing is the best approach we could stave off a lot of the compiling issues we create for ourselves. Well, good judgment is a by-product of bad judgment! How quickly do we learn from our experiences to make better calls that serve our intentions?

Stuart McGill, professor of Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, Canada has outlined a healthy, balanced approach to improve and maintain the concept of true “Core Stability” without straining, damaging and pushing our spines to the point of trauma. Have you ever heard of, it’s how you do what you do that matters, and “less is best”? What is your intention, to strengthen, flexibility, how about both! Think about saying yes and no at the same time! How easy is it to drink and talk at the same time, not very, so why is it so difficult to understand that there are times when we are saying yes and no in our musculoskeletal organization that compromise our actions and over time create a lot of the aches and pains, bulging, herniated, slipped disks that we as a multitasking, driven culture experience. It’s more about what we are doing and how we are going about it. Here is a site from the New York Times that dispels the myths of the latest trend of core exercises. To read more, click here.

A Conversation About Our Potential with Aimee Mullins Eleven Years Later

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Eleven years later Aimee Mullins, Olympic athlete, model and humanist returns to TED to share a conversation about our potential. How we can ignite our imagination and provoke our senses so that we can learn how and what to do with our potential. This is a beautiful expression of our humanity and all of our potential in it that makes us beautiful! To follow her story up to the present click here.

A Philosophy of Growth – Doing What You Want to Do and Then Some!

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Have you heard of Aimee Mullins?  You need to!  She is an amazing young woman who was born with a birth defect, missing both her fibula bones that required her to have both her legs amputated below the knees when she was one year old.   That hasn’t stopped her from making her dreams come true.  Here is her first interview on TED, telling her story that is truly amazing.  To learn more click here.

Feldenkrais (R) and Fitness, How to Further Improve Your Skills

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Here is a wonderful approach that can be applied to any and all disciplines to enhance the ease and effortlessness in performance whether it be sports, music, theatre… These are the comments of an athlete who partakes of Awareness Through Movement (R) classes from Stacy Barrows, a Feldenkrais practitioner and PT.

“…The students in this ATM class ranged from PT’s, Pilates instructors and personal trainers. They were patiently ready to follow a discovery process that led them to easier movement and softer postures. All with more comfort and less pain by report.” This blog appeared the next day from one of the participants:
“The workshop consisted largely of the instructor leading the ten participants through a series of nearly-imperceptible movements, usually done lying on the floor in a darkened room. I’d done a few hours of Feldenkrais work in graduate school and so knew a little about its wonders, but I sensed the skepticism among some of the other students: What could THIS be doing? It didn’t last long, because almost instantly, most of us felt different. Taller, longer, more aligned, more easy in our movements. As a guy with some theatre background, I noticed that the voices in the room sounded richer, more resonant. And, as cheesy as it sounds, people looked happier. I was, once again, blown away, and totally sold on its benefits.”
To learn more read here.