04 September 2022 - The Feldenkrais Method
David Warden, Feldenkrais Practitioner

Summer Is Over…Back to the Old Routine? Your Guide to our New 2022 Lessons

International Feldenkrais Week 2022

Step into Autumn with some out-of-the-box moves from the FELDENKRAIS METHOD.  Our everyday habits of sitting, standing, walking and working often accumulate to cause us niggling aches and pains, but these habits can almost always be improved on and refreshed.

Get a new take on HOW YOU MOVE, and kick start your neuro-pathways into more efficient elegant action.

International Feldenkrais Week 2022

International Feldenkrais week is usually timed to coincide with the birthday of Moshe Feldenkrais in May. Feldenkrais Practitioners around the globe take this opportunity to share their work with the world to raise awareness of the benefits of the method. One of the principal ideas of the Feldenkrais Method is looking at how we can improve on our habits, so we thought we would modify our habit and move our celebration week into the start of autumn to coincide with the end of the school holidays, the turn of the leaves and the shorter days and longer nights.  In moving the celebration back to autumn the theme title automatically flowed.

Last year the theme was self-care as the UK continued to deal with the Covid Pandemic.  This year although the threat of Covid has diminished but not gone, other significant issues including the cost of living, climate change and the war in Ukraine to name but three have raised their profiles and these are providing significant challenges to our emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.

We hope that this selection of short Awareness Through Movement lessons and articles that we have produced will provide some resources, tools and ideas to help you navigate the times we are experiencing.

Seven new lessons

The lessons will be made available over the week of 4th of September and we will finish this celebration on the 11th of September with a live festival on zoom where our practitioners will deliver their lessons in a live and interactive format.

This year with our seven lessons, we start with a lesson done lying on our front.  The following six lessons are done lying on our back, with some variations done lying on the side.  Many of the lessons can be altered so that they can be done in sitting, which can still offer the same or similar benefits.

Lizard Arms – for Walking & Running

As babies we usually started our mobility training on our front, with various forms of crawling. In our first lesson (for Monday), Lizard Arms for Walking & Running by Victoria Worsley, we return to our earlier experiences of crawling.  Why would this be useful now as adults since now we rarely are found crawling around on the floor? Well the lessons that we learnt in crawling were used as the foundations as we transitioned into walking, and as we move through our lives, age, life experiences and injuries, mean that some of the lessons have been dropped or modified.  This lesson may awaken some of those early memories.   As Victoria says in her introduction:

We mostly think about walking with our legs. Of course. But before we walked we crawled, and before we crawled we crept on our bellies. Well many of us did. And each of those stages developed important elements of what would become walking. Here is a short exploration of using our arms that goes towards belly crawling and how that connects through the spine to hip joints and legs for walking and running.

Lower Belly Breathing for Digestive Health

In our second lesson, we move off our belly, but now start thinking about our belly and how we use it to breathe and how this can influence our digestive health.  The lesson taught by Kat Hesse, Lower Belly Breathing for Digestive Health, is a gentle quiet lesson, developing the awareness of our body and how we may be holding ourselves without noticing. In her article on digestion Kat expands on how the Feldenkrais method has helped her and others with issues relating to digestion. 

The Space Behind

As we move into the third day, this increased awareness is expanded upon by a lesson called The Space Behind by Josephine Horder.  In the Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Lessons we like to use reference moves which we can repeat at the end to see if our awareness has shifted and in this one we are invited to take a few backward steps, don’t worry just a few, before doing the lesson on our back.  In the introduction, Josephine explains why this lesson was chosen.

‘It offers the opportunity to engage in a wide, deep, 360 Degree relationship with our environment, relying heavily on imagery and visualisation.  I hope this lesson will offer you a fresh and different perspective on your place in your environment’.

Waking Up the Upper Chest

Over the next three days we move to lessons looking at specific parts of the body, but always still looking at how this increased awareness is noticed around the body.   In the lesson by Kate Hilder, Waking Up the Upper Chest, we spend a lot of the lesson lying on our side.  The lesson is given on the right side but the instructions can be easily translated to lying on our left.  Here with small movements of the shoulder, head and later the pelvis, we are invited to be more aware of our upper chest and how this is linked to these moving parts.

Activating the Pelvic Floor

On day five we move to the other end of the torso with a lesson by a dance teacher Simonetta Alessandri, called Activating the Pelvic Floor.  Whether it is in normal daily life or dancing, sports or the martial arts, the use of our pelvis is an important element to efficient and effective movement, and in this lesson we are asked to notice the floor of the pelvis through small movements of our knees. 

Edges of the Feet

Already this week we have looked at our arms, breathing, the space around us, the upper chest, the pelvis, so on day six, we continue our downward journey to a lesson by Ruth Elliott called Edges of the Feet.  We spend a large proportion of our days in an upright posture whether that is standing, walking or some form of faster propulsion and our feet are our interface with the ground.  This lesson is taught lying on the back but is principally involves moving the feet, ankles and knees and so can be easily done sitting on a chair.  As a keen walker, martial artist and a dabbler in various sports, I love lessons looking at the feet and how using our feet can be felt right up to our head.

Becoming More Balanced

Now that we have explored what it is like to get into this upright position and how to move in it, we conclude the week with a lesson that is fundamentally about being human, that is how do we maintain balance?  The sense of being unbalanced can occur in all positions and attitudes and these are the ideas that Julie Wrigley explores in a lesson called Becoming More Balanced.  In her article linked to the lesson Julie expands on her personal journey and the urgent need to find ways to ease the discomfort:

‘Bodily signs of anxiety become noticeable (holding my breath, clenching my jaw, gripping my neck muscles tight to keep my head super-still) and I start to feel emotionally unsteady. It becomes a vicious circle…’. 

Our lesson library – an evergreen resource for your wellbeing

With the seven short Awareness Through Movement Lessons shared this year plus the 85 lessons in the audio library from the previous 12 years there is no shortage of resources for you to explore and to develop a practice. 

We hope that the lessons and articles that we are sharing this year can help you look after yourself in difficult times and promote emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.