Saturday, February 13, 2010

The hardest lessons are the simplest

In yoga, a lot of attention is paid to inner rotation and outer rotation of various limbs and firming and stretching of this muscle or that. And I love the choreography of it all. But in Feldenkrais, I'm enjoying the focus on bones and the simple structural mechanics of stacking one spinal bone on top of another. I feel like a giant game of Jenga.

Many of the exercises have the convolutional magic of yoga. There's one in particular that seems to reach every major body part: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Draw your knees toward your chest, keeping your arms straight. Don't let go. Allow your right thigh to flop out and over to the floor, and allow the weight of that thigh to drag your left leg over so that you're lying on your right side, and let the weight of your left leg drag your head over so that your face is down and twisted slightly toward your left side. Then open up your left thigh to the left, and let it drag the whole business in the opposite direction, and so forth. Try not to lift your head from the floor as you spiral back and forth, and keep arms straight so that they serve as pistons. Try it. You'll like it.

I can't tell whether all of this delightful movement is curing my back problem. I've read that it takes at least two months to correct long-standing postural flaws that cause injury, and I've been doing this for only about one month. But like yoga, Feldenkrais seems to have lessons, and the lessons are remarkably similar to yoga's: Detach from your ambitions, and pay attention to your immediate experience; stay within your comfort zone; follow your breath.

It's all so simple. Why is it so hard to do?

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I haven't heard about Feldenkreis since I volunteered at the San Andreas Health Center, a holistic health center in downtown Palo Alto, in the mid-1970s. At the time, I was into rolfing and Alexander Technique. Maybe I missed something better.