Here is a passage from the book, Sensory Awareness, The Rediscovery of Experiencing by Charles V.W. Brooks. This book, published in 1974, is based on the work of Charlotte Selver, and Elsa Gindler. I think it this passage captures the aim of the Feldenkrais Method®, i.e. using only the amount of effort needed for a given action. No more, no less.
It is a description of a cook at a lunch counter.
“The whole man stood or moved with the utter equilibrium of a fish in water, and though his movements were as swift as those of a fish, there was no hint of haste or urgency. When one could see his eyes, they were perfectly calm. His lips and cheeks were at ease, his whole form the image of well-being. No furrow of concern marked his brow, no sign of thought or concentration. But each steak was flipped or removed exactly at its moment, and each laden plate was set on the counter for the waitresses, not only without clatter, but without a sound. One could see that each movement of this man was felt and enjoyed by this man to its very end, while the end of one movement flowed into the beginning of the next with the ease and inevitability of a sleeper’s breathing.”
The author returned the lunch counter a year later and discovered that the cook had been promoted to manager, accompanied with a different demeanor. “ He still stood with grace, but his tools had been taken from him and the significance of his activity destroyed. To everyone else, it was a sign of success; for us an occasion of mourning.”
Moshe Feldenkrais was very much a man of action, and his method is grounded in action. It is a process of self-discovery, beginning with an awareness of existing compulsive habits, and a realization of the variety of options available to us. While this learning is based on movement, the implications apply equally, and are intertwined with thinking, feeling, and the way that we interact with our environment.
As profound as the learning may be in a lesson, the next, and perhaps bigger question is am I willing and able to bring a new or renewed awareness into my everyday life.
Here is a 26 minute audio of a movement sequence that is related to lessons of the last couple of weeks involving the rotation of the foot, leg and the hip joint. At the end of the lesson I make reference to the 27 bones in the foot, but there are only 26 bones in the foot.
And here’s a link to a good description of the actions of the leg and pelvis. This one is actually from Erich Franklin, and it’s well done. But perhaps it’s a good time to point out that the Feldenkrais lessons are not exercises, and we approach movement from many different perspectives.