01 January 2018 - The Feldenkrais Method
Melinda Glenister, Feldenkrais Practitioner

The Challenge Is On!

This article refers to the lesson that can be heard here:

The lesson I am sharing here is not an easy lesson. I would call it an extreme lesson. It doesn’t mean that it’s not possible for a beginner to do it. But it does mean that it’s for the more adventurous. I love teaching challenging lessons, and not only to athletes but to all kinds of people. Feldenkrais is not only about slow and gentle movements. An important part of the method is about how we deal with challenges, and so I have never been one to shy away from these types of lessons.

How to approach it

  • Be ready to listen to your own comfort and your own limits. Know in advance you may not be able to keep up with the instructions the first time. Resist the temptation to push it!
  • If a position is difficult — take more rests, keep breathing, adapt! Try leaning on a chair/books/bench. Try on your hands and knees if necessary.
  • Don’t be afraid to skip some stages, you can always come back to it and try again. You don’t need to complete every part to get benefit from the lesson.
  • Completely impossible? Try to imagine the movement as fully as possible.
  • Feel yourself getting self-critical or judgemental? Just watch that and see it as an old pattern. It’s not helpful here. Could you laugh about it even? It’s not so serious!
  • Getting frustrated with the lesson or with me? That’s ok, I can take it!
  • What happens when you get frustrated? Do you want to turn it off? Do you get angry? Start rushing? Want to do too much? This can reveal a lot about yourself — patterns repeat — so be curious …

Why I use this lesson as a warm up

To warm up before playing tennis, or competing in some sport you don’t want to be too calm! Too much slow Feldenkrais can make you sleepy – tennis players need to be alert and awake physically, and mentally before they play. They need some fast movements, or even to sweat before they go on court. This lesson has the perfect blend of preparing the body to play, as well as waking up the sense of balance, and freedom of movement. If you prepare in this way — it will reduce the amount of time you need to spend on court warming up, the body will be primed and ready to go.

The real challenge

The real challenge with this lesson is not the movements or the position, but the way you approach it, and the way you deal with yourself through it. YOU are the one that matters here — not keeping up the instructions. Do less than you can the first time and see that it will still have an effect. Feel uncomfortable? Then listen to that and stop or take a rest. You are in control here and you make the choices. Once you realise that there is nothing to achieve or no one else to please, it gives a great freedom and possibility for learning. And you might just find that you can do more than you think.