What I Learned About My Body from a Man I Will Never Meet

FM Aim

As most of you are aware, I am reading and moving in preparation for my first semester (of eight) of the Feldenkrais Method training in October.

I’m reading The Master Moves and in going through and doing the first lesson, on Monday, I figured out some exercises that relieve the pain in my hip. I followed Moshe Feldenkrais’ words, “you cannot do it” (correctly) – find a way to do it properly – make the movements smaller and smaller until there is no pain. Do it without preparation movements – if it hurts – make it smaller and smaller until it doesn’t (and at first it was me lying on the floor, feet standing and the only movement was a minuscule push from my feet for there to be no pain).
Over the course of the past 2 year I’ve noticed the movements I do to prepare to move so that there is no pain and I’ve been aware of the fact that some of those compensations are affecting correct function elsewhere. (That crazy dance to perform one simple move!) Yesterday I moved without the preparations. So slowly at first I wasn’t moving at all but then by the end of the day it was more natural. It took a while to get to full speed but I’m practically delirious that the pain isn’t there and at how much more natural my hip movement is.
In lesson one,  Feldenkrais describes sitting cross legged (to ease someone with a sore back) and he says not to force open the knees, just to lift the knees gently rhythmically. I used this and it was helpful. I found that if I wanted to sit cross legged (or in any way that externally rotates my hip in sitting), I needed to keep my knee up and “pulse up” in a smooth and gentle way (w/least amount of effort), for a minute or so, after which I can sit cross-legged without pain.
I got up Tuesday morning and walked around without having to wait for my hip to relax to move. I thought that this must be what it feels like to have this hip respond “normally” to rest!
I also noticed  that I tend to ignore my left hip – the “good” hip – the one that doesn’t hurt. Every now and then I will notice how quietly it moves through my life and how easily it does what is asked of it.  I’m paying more attention to how my left hip does what it does.
In the same vain as I stopped sleeping with a pillow under my head, I’m no longer sitting on strategically arranged pillows. No more favoritism – I’m treating both hips the same!
Moshe Feldenkrais talks, in one of the videos shot of a training moment, about the importance of being lazy.  We’re conditioned to attempt to give 100% to everything every moment of every day. It’s impossible and results in many of the complaints as we go through life: inability to relax and sleep well, chronic fatigue, depression, ulcers, poor movement habits.  If this doesn’t really connect for you, try this:
Every day, walk around with a dumbbell heavy enough for you to notice it’s weight without it exhausting you in 20 minutes. You’re going to carry it around with your elbow held at a 90-degree angle (so that your biceps muscles are constantly contracted to same level). At the end of your day, I’d like for you to pick up dumbbells that you know will fatigue you in 12 to 15 repetitions and perform bicep curl exercises.
Warning: there is a chance that doing this experiment will result in an injury or at the very least some discomfort.  There’s nothing safe or intelligent about this experiment. That said, you’re welcome to try it out but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
To continue, don’t miss The Importance of Cultivating Laziness, coming next.
(Photo quote: “The aim of the (Feldenkrais Method) is a person that is organized to move with minimum effort and maximum efficiency, not through muscular strength, but through increased consciousness of how movement works.”

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