Knee Awareness at 44

Ira Feinstein, Managing Director

Lately, it seems as though people with knee problems have surrounded me. Knee bursitis has resulted in my mother-in-law's inability to walk confidently without a cane. A close friend had ACL surgery this summer and told me rehab became her 'full-time job' for the first two months afterward. Another friend is holding off on getting ACL surgery but is now limited in how far she can walk. Once able to go on a ten-mile hike without thinking twice, she's now lucky if she can walk a quarter of a mile without needing to sit down.

At 44, despite over a decade of playing soccer, I've been able to avoid any significant knee problems, but lately, I've noticed that my movements have changed. I can no longer turn on a dime without feeling something in my knee tighten up. Distant memories of relatives hurting themselves by "just moving wrong" have started to replay in my mind. In my twenties and thirties, I didn't know what this...

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Inspired by Moshe! Strategies for Lengthening the Spine

 
David Zemach-Bersin, Feldenkrais Trainer, Feldenkrais Access Founder
 
In the summer of 1975, during the very first year of the San Francisco FPTP, Dr. Feldenkrais gave a lecture on his 'go-to' strategy for elongating or lengthening the spine. The talk included illustrations drawn on a black board, and introduced a Functional Integration lesson that he was about to give, and we were about to watch. This strategy is embedded in many Awareness Through Movement lessons because it is both effective and reliable. 
 
Ever since that day in 1975, I have been intensely interested in the relationship between a spine which can realize its full length, and well-organized movement. My own experience in private practice and teaching the Feldenkrais Method, has shown me that a healthy, well-differentiated, and fully mobile spine can benefit nearly every physical function and challenge. I encourage you to join me for Defying Gravity, a seven class ATM series devoted to...
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A Life Enriched: An Interview with Carol Kress

Feldenkrais Trainer Carol Kress shares stories from her first Feldenkrais lesson, her professional training, and more in this interview with Ira Feinstein, FA Managing Director. 


Ira: What was your first experience with the Feldenkrais Method®
 
Carol: In the '80s, I was an avid runner with chronic back pain. A friend of mine had some experience with the Feldenkrais Method and thought it might be helpful, so she gifted me a Functional Integration lesson with Dennis Leri.
 
I can clearly remember the experience of standing up after that first lesson and looking at my reflection in the full-length mirror. The visual impression was stunning: The way my clothes hung on me, the way they touched my skin, I felt like I was wearing an elegant Armani creation – the epitome of high fashion at the time. I felt absolutely regal and poised and marveled at how I carried my simple clothes, my skin, and my bones in a way that felt like high-level...
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Can You Shorten an ATM lesson?

 

This question is an important one, and frequently asked:

Q: Sometimes, I want to do a Feldenkrais® lesson but don't have time to do a full-length one. Can I abbreviate a lesson, or do something shorter?

A: Yes, absolutely!

First, in most of my online series, I have provided a set of short exercises to help those attending my classes to develop and maintain the positive benefits. These short 'quickies' are intended to play a supportive role, and can be used casually, anytime.

Second, feel free to abbreviate a full-length lesson, after you have thoroughly experienced and 'learned' it. If you find a particular lesson to be helpful, I recommend that you do the full-length version again, two or three times. You will have a new experience and notice new things, each time you do it. Then, you can adapt it to fit your time constraints.

There are several ways to do this. Perhaps you can do each movement fewer times, or do only the first half of the lesson. Or, you can focus on the...

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2022 Update: Scholarship Program

access news Jan 14, 2022

Ira Feinstein, Managing Director

When I was in my twenties, my favorite job was at a small nonprofit that gave me a sense of direction, a loving and supportive work environment, and a small paycheck. I could pay my bills and go out to eat now and again, but otherwise, I lived frugally. During that time, I found myself in pain—both physically and psychically—and I set out to find ways to alleviate both. I discovered— and found significant relief from—one-on-one Feldenkrais lessons, but the cost was prohibitive. Luckily, a friend of a friend offered to give me lessons for one-quarter of his regular price! It was still a lot of money for me, but I adjusted my budget just enough to make it work. The sessions became the highlight of any given week for almost two years. A decade-plus later, I’ve realized that even if I could’ve paid full price, there is no way I could truly quantify how profoundly those lessons changed me. To say that I might not...

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A Proposal for a Strategic Hierarchy in Functional Integration®

functional integration Jul 28, 2021
David Zemach-Bersin, Feldenkrais Trainer, Feldenkrais Access Founder
 
Moshe Feldenkrais was explicit, "Improve the person, not their problem. If you improve the person, their difficulty will improve." This dictum represents one of the essential reasons he successfully improved and transformed human abilities and restored lost function. 
 
Feldenkrais is telling us that the vast majority of human musculoskeletal problems are reflections of poor organization. He understood that there is a way of being 'organized' that is optimal for all human beings; a particular organization between our skeleton, nervous system, and musculature. This organization gives us our best possible options for efficient, easy, and effective movement or action. 
 
The neutral neuro-muscular-skeletal state that is synonymous with good organization reduces the attraction and the burden of past adjustments to culture, trauma, punishment, and anxiety. The neutrality of good...
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The Importance of Rest in Awareness Through Movement Lessons

Uncategorized Jul 10, 2021
David Zemach-Bersin, Feldenkrais Trainer, Feldenkrais Access Founder
 
Feldenkrais students often ask why we take so many rests during Awareness Through Movement lessons. This new research supports what I have been saying for many years, that resting during learning allows for better or more effective consolidation, and I would add that it also allows for the replenishment of the specific neurotransmitters involved in learning. 
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Can We Improve Your Access?

access news Jun 25, 2021
During the registration period for every live online series, we receive emails from people saying, "I'd love to join you for this series, but I live in XXX, and the exchange rate makes it impossible. Can you help?"
 
The answer is "Yes!" Whether you live in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, or any other country with an unfavorable exchange rate, we're happy to help. How does it work? Simply email Ira at [email protected] and let him know the course you're interested in and the currency you pay with, and he'll provide you with a link to register at a favorable, local-appropriate rate.
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Some Thoughts on Reducing the Body Pattern of Anxiety

David Zemach-Bersin, Feldenkrais Trainer, Feldenkrais Access Founder
 
Anxiety was a problem that interested Dr. Feldenkrais for over 40 years. He devoted an entire chapter to the problem of anxiety in his first book, Body & Mature Behavior, and then returned to it again in his last book, The Elusive Obvious. 
 
Our nervous system responds to fear or stress in ways that are universal to all living organisms. These responses are unconscious, self-protective, and in every instance, involve muscular contraction. For us, this means contraction throughout our musculature, constricted breathing, inhibited movement of the diaphragm, a forward carriage of the head, an almost static contraction of the abdomen and pelvis, restrictions in the movement of the spine, neck and shoulders, and clenching of the hands, mouth, and jaw. It also means a quickening of our pulse, an inhibition of our digestion, and significant changes in our circulation.
 
This is the...
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Why Consider the Feldenkrais Method® for Relieving Stress & Anxiety

access news May 15, 2021

Ira Feinstein, Managing Director

The grooves of my anxiety were set at a young age. It was 1987. I was nine years old. My 41-year-old father went to work one morning and never came home. A fatal heart attack. This, alone, would've been traumatic enough if not for my 40-year-old mother's breast cancer diagnosis a year earlier. I spent the next two years until her death waiting to be an orphan. I lived in a state of high alert, always looking for signs that her death was imminent. Every time she failed to greet me at the door after school or was late coming home, I feared the worst. I can still remember the adrenaline pumping through my body and the freezingness of the fear. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see. The only thing that was real was the sound of my heart thumping erratically in my chest and the refrain, "She's dead, she's dead, she's dead," playing on a loop in my mind. 

Even into my early twenties, despite years of therapy and anti-depression medicine, the same wash of...

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