Working with Internal Organs: No Guts, No Glory

I was lucky enough to do a day-long workshop with Elinor Silverstein at the 2018 Feldenkrais® conference. The subject was working with internal organs: “No Guts, No Glory.”

Feldenkrais training focuses on skeletal movement, so the idea of relating directly to our viscera intrigued me.

During the demo, Elinor’s fingers danced lightly across her client’s abdomen as she described the path. Then she led us through self-examination, recommending we use the pressure of “half a grape.”

Throughout, Elinor was bubbling over with infectious delight.

3D rendering of a male skeleton torso

3D rendering of a male skeleton torso

Elinor pointed out the open space in the middle of the skeletal model, where our internal organs nestle. It’s between our diaphragmatic arch and the pelvic bowl, and it’s huge! What an opportunity. And we lose that opportunity if we don’t help our clients and ourselves become aware of what’s going on there: digestion, elimination, acid reflux.

I’m not going to lie—feeling your way into the right amount of pressure takes practice. I did get nauseated during the first part of the session. But by the end of the afternoon, I was starting to get a handle on the Goldilocks pressure, just enough to connect and listen through my fingertips, and for my internal organs and tissues to listen to my fingertips. Closing the loop.

Fight or Flight

Vagus nerve vector illustration. Labeled anatomical structure scheme and location diagram of human body longest nerve. Infographic with isolated ganglion, branches and plexus. Inner biological ANS.So many of us live with the fight or flight switch constantly On. In other words, we live with lax vagal nerves. Our digestion suffers, and more.

Every Feldenkrais lesson offers the opportunity to tonify your vagus nerve. Notice during the next lesson you take how your breathing slows and deepens, how your circulation improves, how the floor beneath you seems to soften. All that is you shifting into para-sympathetic mode, rest and digest. Doesn’t it feel refreshing? That’s why you often finish a lesson feeling lighter, more cheerful, rested.

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