Tag Archives: practice

Does Feldenkrais Help Grief?

I was asked a few days ago, “Is Feldenkrais helping you grieve?”

Hugh in his octopus hat at White Rock Lake

My husband Hugh Resnick at White Rock Lake. He’s been described as “wonderfully weird.”

It’s not a trivial question.

My first answer was, “I don’t know.” Sometimes it’s difficult for me to tease out what is Feldenkrais® and what is meditation and what is coming from other influences in my life. I’ve practiced both Feldenkrais and meditation since 1996, and it’s no accident. They complement/blend/inform each other.

After a few hours of reflection, my second answer emerged: yes. I’m relying on both Feldenkrais and meditation to find the ground repeatedly, wherever it is. If I start to feel anxious (which seems to go hand in hand with sadness in my case), I can at least find my breath. I’m especially drawing on those skills in driving, where, for whatever reason, it’s hardest for me to not interfere with my breath. The approach I’m taking: when I notice I’m breathing shallowly, I invite myself to simply notice. I don’t immediately try to change the pattern. Then I notice where my left foot is (thank you, Russ!), and usually, it’s in my habitual, not so useful position, where my support isn’t so clear. And I pay especial attention to my hands, arms, and shoulders. Quite often these days, I notice an extra-heaviness in my hands, a kind of collapse in my shoulders. So today I played with making my hands even heavier (which I really didn’t want to do) for several minutes, and then lighter. I reminded myself I have choices.

Angela and Hugh at White Rock Lake

Me and Hugh. Feeling so lucky & grateful!

So there’s my invitation to practice: grief isn’t a choice. I miss my husband, and I will go on missing him. But how I support myself in grieving is a choice. I can collapse, and I have. I can also feel it without collapse, and continue to do what needs to get done. (Even in typing this, I’ve played with heavy hands on the keyboard, and lightening them up. I can tell you which way my breath is easier.)

My third answer: yes! Teaching Feldenkrais is an enormous help right now. Every time I teach class or give a private lesson, I’m more energized at the end. Teaching connects me with the part of me which is strong, intelligent, and playful. I’m grateful beyond words to all of you who come to class and learn with me. Thank you!

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Celebrating Hugh Resnick

Would you like to come to Hugh’s memorial? I’d love to have you. I’ve been inspired and delighted by the stories his family and friends have been sharing, reminded again of what a “wonderfully weird,” generous, intelligent, and just flat-out good man I was married to. They’ve been inspired as they shared, and I think you will be, too. Please join us if you can, Saturday, April 27, 4 pm, at the Center for Spiritual Living Dallas. RSVP here, just so we have enough refreshments.

Perception Vs. Reality: Practicing New Patterns of Self-Use

What Is Real?

Perception and Reality words on a stack of balls with an arrow sticking into RealityToday one of my clients came up to standing after a Feldenkrais® lesson and said, “It feels like my left foot is in front of my right foot.” He looked down and saw that, in reality, his feet were in line with each other. This was a novel relationship for his feet: his pattern typically is to have his right foot a little forward. His perception was different than reality.

It takes time to become incorporate new patterns into your self-image.

When you find something new in a lesson like a different place for your foot to be in standing, you can play with that. Take one foot a bit forward, shift weight back and forth between the back and front foot. Take the other foot forward, again shift weight. With feet side by side again, observe your perception now of where they are with respect to each other. Feel it, look at them.

Can you make it a game?

Later in the day, check in again. Stand and observe. How are your feet now placed?

Use Your Life as a Lab to Refine Perception

You can incorporate Awareness Through Movement® practice into your daily life with this kind of attention.

Waiting in line at the grocery store becomes an opportunity for self-investigation. Or pushing your shopping cart, you can observe how you transfer weight between your feet. Standing at the kitchen sink, you can check in to see how weight is distributed between your feet. Not changing or correcting anything right away, just observing. Then you can begin to look for what feels most efficient, testing theories about function we’ve begun investigating in class.

Reality Check

A woman lifts dirt with a garden fork.

© International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive, Robert Golden.

It’s particularly illuminating to discover where some familiar pattern of self-use expresses itself as discomfort.

Although I’ve been clarifying and improving my walk for the last three years, when I garden my old pattern re-emerges. After two hours of transplanting and weeding this spring I felt a familiar pain in my lumbar spine. I hadn’t yet brought new movement patterns I’d learned in the context of the walking into bending and bearing weight. Now I have a new goal for self-study: improving how I lift.

Moment by moment, we have the change to discover ourselves in movement. To perfect our self-images.

Learning More about Awareness Through Movement

If you’re curious about the theory behind ATM, read Moshe Feldenkrais‘ book Awareness Through Movement. He wrote it for the general public. The first part presents his ideas about functional movement and learning. The second leads you through 12 lessons, including one entitled “Perfecting the Self-Image.”

Another way to learn more about ATM, come to a class or workshop here in Dallas. Click here to find a class near you.