The cutest Feldenkrais® Video you'll ever see.

...and maybe the simplest.

My talented colleagues Irene Gutteridge and Jenn Ström shot and edited this wonderful short film of baby Liv over the course of several months. What a joy to watch her grow and progress, as she learns to roll over, come up, and go!

Embedded in this short piece is an important message for all of us.  Here is the precious time we all spent learning, looking, sensing, sorting out our relationship to the environment, getting more stable, and at the same time, more mobile. 

The words that flash on the screen come from common instructions in Awareness Through Movement classes, because as adults we need the encouragement and the reminding.

Enjoy...and visit their film project about The Feldenkrais MethodThe Next 25 Years

What Does Feldenkrais Look Like?

When people first hear about The Feldenkrais Method®, often they are intrigued: a gentle, intelligent way to use movement and awareness to improve posture, balance and a wide range of activities, functions and difficulties. Sometimes they even enjoy hearing about how it was created by an Israeli physicist with a blackbelt in Judo, with his own history of knee injuries. Then they ask, "Yes, but what does Feldenkrais look like?"

You could do a lot worse than watching this wonderful introductory video on The Feldenkrais Method® by Ruthy Alon, one of 13 Israeli practitioners Dr. Feldenkrais' personally trained in the 1960's. The title for the video, "Movement Nature Meant" is one of the catchiest descriptions of The Feldenkrais Method you will hear. Ruthy demonstrates a medley of movements and physical functions that are often used in Awareness Through Movement classes. Her narration is both poetic, simple, and clear. And her visual example sells the method better than just about anything out there you are liable to find on the internet about Feldenkrais.  Her message is simple: you too can move this well with Feldenkrais. Ruthy's numerical age isn't mentioned in the video (it was created in the 1980's I believe), but her vitality, flexibility and the flowing lightness and ease she embodies throughout rarely fail to elicit a "WOW" from viewers.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ruthy in 2007, when she came to teach her own "Bones for Life" course at the Feldenkrais Institute of NY, and she was as spry and effortless as you see here in these videos.  There are three other segments of the film you can watch on youtube.  

Enjoy,

Andrew

Top Scientists on the Brain & Movement

"How does the brain do it?

How does this brain translate subjective intentions into basic physical actions? What happens in the brain when we learn a new skill? Why are some of us graceful, and others clumsy? Why does practice make perfect?" — from Charlie Rose's introduction to "The Acting Brain" (Episode 3 in The Brain Series).

This video features a remarkable discussion among some of the leading brain scientists on how the brain organizes action & movement. The scientists are:

  • Nobel Prize Winner Eric Kandel, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Columbia University
  • Daniel Wolpert (Univ. Cambridge), MD and Professor of Engineering
  • John Krakauer (Columbia), Associate Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Lab Co-director
  • Tom Jessell (Columbia) who studies nerve cells and circuits at Columbia University. Heads the Jessel Lab there, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator.
  • Robert Brown (U Mass) Robert Brown, MD is Director, Respiratory Acute Care Unit and Director, Pulmonary Function Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, Expert in ALS

They lead an engaging, accessible, intelligent discussion of their research, and have a good time doing it. The talk includes video clips, further exploration of how disease processes like ALS and stroke manifest in the nervous system, how the nervous system can continue to learn even after injury or disease, and several simple demonstrations among the scientists themselves. This is an excellent basic primer for anyone interested in how the brain learns, anticipates and helps the body survive and thrive in its environment.

While you won't hear Feldenkrais® mentioned in the discussion, the concepts of neuroplasticity, motor plans, and the close relationship between the sensing and movement activities of the brain are central ideas in Dr. Feldenkrais work, and they are just now becoming the central focus of the cutting edge of brain science. He writes brilliantly about these ideas in his books: Awareness Through Movement, The Potent Self, and Body and Mature Behavior.

The Feldenkrais Method is his direct application of these ideas into everyday life, so that anyone, no matter their level of physical skill or fitness can engage the nervous system in an active study and refinement of it's ability to think, sense, act and move.

Enjoy! A special thank you to my friend Phyllis K. for sending me the link.

Andrew

Feldenkrais for Musicians

Pianists are engaged in a whole-body activity — "small muscle athletes" we've been called. But because our hands seem to do almost everything at the instrument, our attention often becomes limited to only what we see moving across the keyboard. In fact, most pianists develop a huge blind spot for how the whole body creates and sustains the freedom and power in their hands and arms.

Read More

Poetry in Motion, Principles in Action

This video features the beautiful movement of Chen Xiaowang, a Tai Chi master, demonstrating his skills before an audience. In this incredible three-minute video, we can observe several of the principles of efficient movement about which Dr. Feldenkrais wrote and to which he dedicated his life's work. Like a piece of great music, Mr. Xiaowang's demonstration is worth watching many times over. 

  • Principle #1: Lack of Unnecessary Effort: The demonstration contains a variety of movements, from slow and flowing, to quick and ballistic (things really get going about the 3:00 mark). But notice how simply each is produced.  Some of these movements are executed with an incredible amount of power.   Notice the lack of strain in his face, even as he suddenly speeds up and slows down, and in the flow from one orientation to the next. There is a sublime continuity, always with more power in reserve.
  • Principle #2: Exquisite Counterbalance: Look how his entire body is always moving, adjusting, and how the pelvis and legs lead and support each change in direction.  He maintains a constant vigilance over how his weight is distributed evenly over his base of support.
  • Principle #3: Equal and Opposite. Watch carefully the way he uses his feet. As he moves, you can observe how he generates an equal and opposite pressure into the ground, even as he comes away from it. His legs connect him to the ground and conduct him over it in such a way that no pressure is wasted, and no weight falls---except when he wants to shake the earth.
  • Principle #4:  Ground force goes up and through the spine. Through out this demonstration, if you focus on his head, there is not a single moment where the chain of support from his contact with the ground up through the top of his head is compromised. We do not see his chin strain unnecessarily forward, or pulled in and stiffened. Each moment leads to the next, the head simply floating on top of it's beautiful support.
  • Principle #5: Ability to move in any direction without hesitation or preparation. Never is there any sense of "getting ready" to make a new movement, or stuttering to start or stop, or of holding or stopping the breath.  Each thing flows, growing out of one thing and into the next.