Last week was a hard one for me and pretty much everyone I know. The mere mention of the name “Kavanaugh” seems to be enough to make people visibly cringe, like they were sick to their stomach or tasted something bitter. I personally spent that week mostly in bed with a nasty cold, listening to the news, spending way too much time on Facebook, and watching so many of my friends get truly rattled, shaken, knocked off balance.Read more
For me, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® is mindfulness in motion. And in my experience, no one makes this connection more clearly than my teacher Russell Delman. Russell will be teaching a two-day seminar on Freedom Through Awareness November 17-18 2018 in Newton MA, with a free talk on the evening of November 16. (Save $30 when you register by October 26!) Here is Russell talking about Moshe Feldenkrais and the progression from embodiment, to being present, to awareness, and finally to freedom. Take a listen – the clip is just about four minutes long.Read more
LESS: effort, strain, injury, pain, stiffness, stress, suffering…
MORE: ease, agility, power, creativity, flow, flexibility, pleasure, satisfaction…
These claims are made by Feldenkrais teachers (including myself), as well as by teachers of other mindfulness-based approaches to self-improvement. But how exactly is it supposed to happen?
Here’s how it works in the Feldenkrais Method®:Read more
Musical performance begins with a musical intention, which is translated into a series of movements involving weight, speed, orientation in space, and relationship to gravity. For the music to soar freely, without causing injuries, you, the musician, need to experience the joy of efficient, elegant movement in gravity. This experience will not only protect you from injuries, it will inform and influence your phrasing, your rhythm, and your palette of sound.
Properties of sound – time, space, weight, rhythmical impulse, gesture, momentum towards an action (a leap against gravity), process of speeding gradually and slowing down gradually – are all properties of movement. When, for a musician, these properties are not experienced in their movement, two things happen – the brain does not have the appropriate image of the action needed for the musical gesture, and it cannot send the right impulses to the muscles. The action is then clumsy and can result in injuries.Read more
It is said that when two martial artists of different traditions fight, the winner does not prove the superiority of his martial art, but merely the superiority of his own kung fu, or fighting ability.
Similarly, when you are on stage, the audience doesn’t care what degrees you have, who you studied with, how many hours you practice a day, or even how good your chops are. Your audience wants to be moved. They want to feel a connection with you and with the music you are presenting. How well you do reflects your ‘musical kung fu’ – your ability to perform and convey the music behind the notes.
As it turns out, we musicians have much in common with martial artists. My own vocal and instrumental technique is full of lessons I learned in my years studying tai chi, not to mention the lessons I’ve learned from the Feldenkrais Method. And did you know Moshe Feldenkrais was a Judo master? In fact, much of the method is based on Judo.
Here are just a few concepts martial artists and musicians have in common, as well as some lessons certain martial arts have to teach musicians…Read more
What’s the best way to breathe?
Through the mouth or through the nose?
More in the belly, or more in the chest?
It it always better to breath deeply?
Some techniques teach the expansion of the abdomen as you breathe in, others as you breathe out. Which is better?
Here is what Moshe Feldenkrais had to say about the right way to breathe:
“I am generally against breathing exercises in the commonly accepted notion of breathing exercises…”Read more
Spirals are embedded in every level of our being, from our DNA to the structure of our bones, ligaments and muscles. Learning to feel these spirals and take advantage of them is a major theme in the Feldenkrais work. Realizing the flow and ease that come from moving with spirals has been one of the most enduring lessons I have learned in my own movement – one of those things that doesn’t go away even when I’m stressed and fall into all my old habits.
This is why my spirals workshops and classes are among my favorites, and why it’s one of the three of four themes I like to teach in my summer retreats at the World Fellowship Center. One of the things I don’t get to do all that much in my workshops, though, is to explicitly examine the anatomy which we so clearly learn to feel in our Awareness Through Movement lessons. So here’s an attempt to take a look a these spirals in writing. (Or scroll on down to the bottom of this post, if you just want a quick way to feel these spirals for yourself.)Read more
Many students say to me at their first private Functional Integration lesson something like “I know I need to strengthen my core.” (This is almost as common as “I know I have bad posture”). Sometimes they refer to their own experience, telling me that they feel weak, or that they tire easily, but more often their personal experience is simply that their back or neck hurts, and they heard from someone (often a skilled Physical Therapist or yoga teacher) that the pain in their back is due to weak “core” muscles.
When I help them feel what they’re actually doing, it usually turns out that they’re tightening those “core” abdominal muscles all the time. No wonder they feel weak! If a muscle is always engaged, it has less strength to engage further – its potential is already in use.Read more