Tag Archives: strength

More about Strength

Strength from the Ground

In my teaching over the past year, uncovering inherent strength has become the organizing principle.

Tennis player in motion

© International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive, Robert Golden

My mentor Jeff Haller, PhD, first pointed me in this direction. It’s the central theme of his advanced training program. He said, “if I train myself in any exercise system, and I’m sloppy in the way I provide support for myself, all I will do is train muscles based on supporting myself the way I am accustomed to.

In other words, if I don’t improve my relationship to the ground, I’ll strengthen habits of self-use which don’t serve me and might actually harm me—which is how I sprained my ankle playing squash. (By the way, I then got up and finished the game: don’t do that!)

(Find the complete interview with Jeff here.)

Are Humans Machines?

Image shows cover of Mass Psychology of Fittism: Michaelangelo's depiction of human strengthRecently I’ve begun reading an excellent book which delves into the question from a slightly different angle: how do we define fitness? Author Edward Yu answers the question in depth. He looks at how the West has defined health, fitness, beauty, and the human body over a period of centuries, to see how we’ve arrived at the point where for many these are synonymous. As a martial artist, runner, and Feldenkrais practitioner, he asks, what are we fit for?

He writes: “If I am considered fit enough to be on a magazine cover, does that also make me fit for the rest of life, which occurs outside of the confines of 8 1/2 x 11 inches? Should Albert Einstein, who probably never performed a single push-up, be deemed unfit?

How we came to equate our physical selves with machines (thank you, Descartes!) is key to Edward’s analysis of the contemporary conflation of fit/health/beauty.

Read the prologue to his book, The Mass Psychology of Fittism: Fitness, Evolution, and the First Two Laws of Thermodynamics, here.