Sensational Movement

What I mean by this title is that one of the primary aspects of the Feldenkrais Method is that the lessons we teach are focused on the sensation of movement. How we sense a movement can be quite varied. We could take the example of simply lying on the floor on your back.

1. You can sense your contact with floor from the pressure of your body. You can sense where you are making contact with the floor and where there is no contact. You might even be surprised by what you notice versus what you expected. You will likely notice that differences in the way your left side is making contact compared to the right side. Another surprise perhaps. By differentiating the right and left sides, you can notice which side feels more comfortable, or lighter, or longer’ or whatever else you sense. For a number of reasons, we tend to be asymmetrical and yet we are typically unaware of it. So really sensing these differences is something your brain can, and will utilize.

This first example would be an external orientation to sensation. The places where your skin or your outside envelope interact with the external environment.

2. You could also approach sensations from an internal orientation. You might be able to have some sense of where your bones are inside of your body. You could have an internal sense of the joints, organs. Perhaps this isn’t as clear as the feeling of your body against the hard surface of the floor, but you’d still have some sense of it. You could easily sense the inside of your mouth.

These examples are just a couple of perspectives with respect to sensation. You could sense your breathing through the movement of the diaphragm or by the sound your breathing makes. When you think about all of the places you can sense any movement, combined with which senses you are using, you have quite a large palette to work with.

You might also begin to discover that your habit, your tendency, your preference, is to sense in one particular way without realizing that there are other options. In any case you will probably find that certain areas are clear and others are fuzzy or even nonexistent. You can also sense larger patterns such as holding your breath when you start a movement, or tensing your jaw, or eyes or any number of other muscles. You might never have noticed these patterns before.

The other “sensational” thing about these examples is that your brain is quite capable of intelligently processing this new or rediscovered information. Not by thinking, but by the very act of sensing. Your brain can do something when the difference in one side from the other is noticed. Your sensory brain, being intelligent, will likely incorporate the parts that feel easier, into the overall pattern.

Therefore, the sensations themselves act as the guide toward better and easier movement. The discovery of easier movement can also bring a smile to your face and put a song in your heart, as well as a spring in your step.  The results can be quite surprising and profound.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Albert Einstein

Our culture has conditioned us to have achievement at the forefront of our attention. We then have a predetermined idea about the goal and the way to get there, which often involves much more effort than is necessary. This is quite different than the process of sensation which I have described. In the area of predetermined ideas and compulsive effort, there are few surprises, and little if anything in the way of learning. We have been conditioned to achieve predetermined results to the extent that simply slowing down and moving easily, with attention, can be quite a challenge.

Sensation can operate in so many different ways. There is virtually no limit to the ways you might perceive a movement. Utilizing these different ways will expand your abilities to perform spontaneously to meet the demands of a particular situation.

I’ll leave you with a Fritz Perls quote that I heard many years ago and have never forgotten.

“Lose your mind and come to your senses”