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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What to Do When the Lesson is Over…

As a Feldenkrais Teacher, I often hear: "I feel great after that lesson! How can I make the improvements last and maximize the benefits?" To support the benefits of a lesson, first consider this: Awareness Through Movement lessons do not end when the movements stop.

For approximately an hour, as we do an Awareness Through Movement lesson, our brain has an opportunity to sample new options. Old, habitual patterns become flexible, and our brain has a chance to learn something new. New neurological pathways begin to develop, which allow for better posture, easier movement, and better organization. But those new pathways are unfamiliar. If you stand up after doing a Feldenkrais lesson, and immediately start rushing around or grab your cell phone, you will miss the potent minutes--or hours-- when the lesson's effects are the easiest to feel, and the most easily integrated.

Your awareness immediately following a Feldenkrais lesson is very powerful, and helps to ensure the...

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