Sunday, February 14, 2010

A life of ease

The goal of Feldenkrais, or at least of the Feldenkrais-infused physical therapy I'm undertaking now, is not strength or flexibility. It is ease. Hence the emphasis on well-stacked bones. The idea is that if your bones are properly positioned, they will be held in place by gravity or by the weight of other, counterbalancing bones. Little or no muscular effort should be required to maintain a pose. The intention is to reduce the use of muscles as much as possible, since muscles tire and tear and spasm—and hurt—whereas bones are innately sturdier.

My Feldenkrais-based exercises are not as lovely as yoga or as deeply rooted in an ancient and fascinating philosophical tradition, but they lend themselves to the same process of self-discovery. Both invite you to draw parallels between physical actions and tendencies and psychological ones. And both rely on the magnificent luxury of having a thoughtful and wise teacher to guide you in your journey.

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