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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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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