4th Appointment – June 11, 2010
November 4, 2010
It has been many months now since I had my Feldenkrais sessions with Tiffany. The time has given me a perspective to what Feldenkrais is about for me and how it has impacted my life. Feldenkrais method is focused on the body and beyond the body. For me it awakened a knowing about what I now think of as the “body-mind”. By this I mean coming to understand that the body on its own is a living entity that has its own unique way of experiencing life. For example, I have come to understand that my shoulder and neck injury have become chronic because I hold all my tension there and holding it there has become a habit. Whenever anything makes me tense – and I struggle with anxiety all the time – I immediately tense up that area. It feels an awakening every time I stop and notice I am doing it. Like a little “a-ha” moment. I can then consciously choose to relax the area. It is a work in progress. But it is an avenue for healing that was not open to me before because I didn’t fully understand or believe it could be that simple.
While the “body-mind” is an entity in its own right having unique experiences in the world it is intimately attached and impacted by the choices and thoughts of mind; for example how often has our mind wanted to do one thing but our gut or heart wants something else? And if you feel sad your body will release chemicals that will create a feeling of sadness in the body, and if you smile – even if it is a fake smile! – the body will release happy chemicals; these are scientific facts. So for me this means that in order to release the pain in my shoulder and neck I must also learn to release tension generally in my life.
It now makes sense to me when I read that Feldenkrais method is described as “a mind/body movement approach that re-educates the nervous system so that we learn to respond differently to events or memories that stimulate anxiety.” A-ha! Now I see.
April 21, 2010 – 3rd Appointment
Two weeks have passed since my third appointment. I have been getting used to my body. It is different. I notice that when I walk if I put my mind to it I can relax and be freer in my body, my body flows in a way it didn’t before. And when I jog it is the same thing, my body can let go and relax in a new way. I find I engage my entire core in this flow running. It is tiring, probably because I am engaging muscles in a new way, but it also feels right. It makes sense in terms of my Chi Gong practice too – this practice is all about moving your body in a relaxed way, no force.
Interestingly, I think the last session with Tiffany help to shift a 27 year old emotional trauma. In this 3rd session Tiffany was helping my spine realign and release starting from the hips and eventually working up to the neck. When she was working at the bottom of my spine, moving/manipulating my legs and hips, I felt an intense fear that went through me like ice or a cold breeze. When she stopped working with my pelvis and hip area it receded. Curious about what the fear meant, I shared about it with my therapist as well as another fear I’ve been experiencing in a different situation. My therapist developed a method called Guided Self Healing which taps in the unconscious and past memories in intuitive and energetic ways. Using this method I learned that these fears were coming from a violent rape I survived as a teenager. Emotional traumas get stored in the mind and the body. Traditional talk therapy can help a person understand certain things and heal on conscious levels, but it is not able to access or heal what is stored in the body. For years now I’ve found that yoga does wonders on this level. And now add Feldenkrais. In this case, Feldenkrais helped to bring this trauma to the surface and the Guided Self Healing helped me to release it! Sweet.
April 15, 2010 - 2nd Appointment
An hour after my 2nd Feldenkrais lesson I found myself acutely aware of walking with my shoulders back, as if I threw my chest forward 15% more than I should. I am in the grocery store when I notice this. But what is really amazing beyond the noticing is the fact that I could relax my shoulders and let them sink forward a little. Just like that. This is something I could never do, it was like my body was plastered into this slight hyperextension, the sway upper back and shoulders. Over the next few hours I had to keep reminding my body to release and I kept being amazing at how my body would just release! I especially felt it just under my solar plexis in the front of my body, the letting go was so intense I kept having to say “ahhh” really loud, as if the tension in that point was dug in so deep that it needed some help to let go.
As the days went by I continued to notice my body position and continued to consciously let it go. Even as I sit here writing I remind myself to relax – it is like my upper back, shoulders, solar plexis and chest are all one organism and when I tell it to relax the entire organism releases, I still feel the “ah” but not as intensely as day one.
Walking with Ease
Tiffany also talked with me about how I walk. I walked for her and she showed me how I can adjust my walk in order to get my upper body involved rather than just moving legs. Tiffany thinks of walking as movement being able to pass through the entire system. For example, she finds that often the shoulders don’t swing or move when the upper body isn’t moving and that the goal of “easy walking” is for the movement to pass through the entire system from the ground up without any holding. She gave me a couple walks I could practice in order to get the hang of moving with my shoulders involved. When we carry our body in a certain way for years on end everything we do is affected by the posture, it was like my upper body was frozen in place and now I need a little practice to walk without that rigidity.