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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Wake up your brain and get your body back!

How The Feldenkrais Method helps you change and improve your life:

1.     Movement with attention.  Our brains are organized through movement, movements we already know and do, and movements we have yet to learn. The more habitual our everyday movements, the less we are able to satisfy the brain’s need for growth.  When we introduce new patterns of movement, combined with attention, our brains begin making thousands, millions and even billions of new connections. This means clearer thinking, easier movement, pain that is reduced or eliminated, and actions that are more successful.

2.     Turn on your learning switch.  Learning occurs in the brain. During childhood, the learning switch is turned on a lot. As we grow and take on the responsibilities of adulthood, we tend to develop habitual patterns, a set way of doing things, rigidity and resistance to change.  Our learning switch turns off and learning slows down drastically.  We can learn to turn the switch back on; regardless of age, we can wake up our brains.

3.     Subtlety.  Your brain thrives on subtlety, on gentle, less-forceful, more refined input. [In Feldenkrais] we discover that subtlety generates incredible new possibilities that will even change how you speak to your loved ones, how you present an idea, how you cook and taste, how you move, and how you remain vital.  Attending to subtlety will reveal to you what turns your brain on AND what makes it check out (going back to autopilot), instilling your life with new excitement, zest for life, creativity and fun.

4.     Variation. A life filled with possibility must include the miraculous.  By exploring different ways of moving, thinking, feeling, and acting, you will become more resilient and healthy.  Experiment, play, make room for new elements in all areas of your life.

5.     Slow. Slow gets the brain’s attention and gives it time to distinguish and perceive small changes and form new connections.  With fast (when you are on auto-pilot), you can only do what you already know, so nothing new is happening.  Slow is learning at the level of the nervous system.

6.     Enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm can boost the energy of everything you do, think or feel.  We often think of enthusiasm as caused by an external event. However, it can be generated from within, becoming an intentional action for transforming virtually anything in our lives. Enthusiasm can take the seemingly small, dull, boring or unimportant and turn it into something new and magnificent.  Learn to strengthen the muscle of your enthusiasm and reclaim your energy and passion. 

7.     Flexible goals.  Goal setting is important for getting what we want from life.  But how we go about achieving our goals can create impediments, resistance to change, shutting us down, and even resulting in failure. Loss of vitality, being stuck or aging can often be traced to the way we approach our goals.  By learning to hold goals loosely, you will accomplish more, with less suffering, and open up to new possibilities. Vitality and health are fostered by a free, flexible, playful attitude toward goals; embrace mistakes, make room for miracles!

8.     Imagination and dreams.  Positive imagining and dreaming can transform your life. Dreams can guide you to create what has never been. While our capacity to be positive may be dampened from trauma, disappointment, or aging, you can reclaim and revive this rich and vital resource any time you choose.  Imagining a sequence and outcome makes things clearer in reality. Elite athletes and performers know this.

9.     Awareness.  Awareness – Sensing, knowing, and knowing that you know – is the opposite of automaticity and compulsion.  Awareness means that you are living in the present.  Awareness is a skill that we need to hone throughout life to enjoy freedom and choice.  With awareness, working toward presence, we can create a joyful and alert life.  Self-awareness as you work with attention in movement is life changing.

Excerpted from:  The nine essentials for greater health, vitality, sensuality, flexibility, strength and creativity, throughout the full span of your life. Anat Baniel was a primary student of Dr. Feldenkrais, whose work came to be called the Anat Baniel Method. It is based fundamentally on Dr. Feldenkrais’ teachings.

Neuroplasticity -- what and why you need to know about it!

Our brains have amazing capacity! We have the power to unlock this magic door when we move with attention and awareness.

In case you aren't sure what neuroplasticity actually means, one writer defines it as an umbrella term for your brain's capacity to reorganize itself, physically (structurally) and functionally (how it does what it does), throughout your life. This reorganization can be in response to the (1) environment, including what you eat and drink and otherwise take into your body and system, (2) your physical behavior, (3) your thinking and (4) your emotions, as well as injury, accident, surgery, and other external events.

For much of modern history the brain was thought to be a collection of hard-wired specialized functions. Dr. Feldenkrais was one of the earliest people to investigate and write about neuroplasticity as a reproducible, responsive phenomena that enabled some parts of the brain to take over when other parts were rendered non-functional.  

All of his books deal with the capacity of the brain to modify and change and do new work; with the indivisible relationship between the moving, sensing, acting body and the brain, and the extraordinary effects of these relationships that can overcome limitations of all sorts, from improving and healing an injury or developmental issue, to vastly improving ones' performance in art, music or athletics. It also brings forward new ways to work with movement patterns, chronic pain and inflammation. As we occupy our bodies more completely and with more attention, our options multiply exponentially. 

We have verified this in the last few decades as technology has allowed us to see inside the brain's chambers and observe first hand the effects of brain function while it is occurring. There is no longer any doubt that the brain's capacities and possibilities surpass our wildest conceptions. But to unlock these capacities requires some individual effort. Our autopilot functioning does not bring about the desired transformation.