Movement Nature Meant (*)

Movement, the essence of being alive.

by Ruthy Alon

Movement reflects not only your level of wellness, but your entire personality and the way you see yourself taking your place in the world.
Awareness through Movement® is the method to reclaim your birth right to move naturally with ease and comfort. Whoever you are, in whatever condition, with whatever personal history, you can always learn to improve the quality of what you do.

Moshe Feldenkrais, doctor in physics, inventor and master of Judo from Israel, has for 40 years been outlining a profound method of refining human function. For over 20 of those years I have learned and talked with him and now I continue this journey of bringing people into the movement nature meant.

A natural movement comes through harmonious coordination that feels safe and graceful to you. You don't find it in the frustration of competition or self-endurance.
In the Feldenkrais Method® of Awareness through Movement®, when you come to real learn your authentic way of moving, you rely on your own awareness, the exclusive human talent to imagine the smallest detail of doing. You listen to what is happening into yourself while as you move, you observe the subtle changes, which make the big differences. You develop your sensitivity to discern what works best for you, you learn how to ask yourself and you receive the answers from within.

Through an autonomous learning process, not one of imitation, the physical effort involved in this learning is minimal, rather you invest your resources in refining the quality of moving. You use your senses to discover connections and interrelationships throughout your entire self. You explore a variety of non-habitual patterns and challenge your nervous system to update your habits.

You're like a child letting to a huge wide playground fall of unfamiliar games, inspired by curiosity you decide for your own body, the most sophisticated of all games and learn to be the master of your movement.

Investigating variations of the function you enrich your movement vocabulary of new options.


"The Spiral in Coping with Gravity"

How do you go from lying down to sitting up? How do you raise your weight from the floor? How do you cope with gravity in a way that is both comfortable and efficient? You are guided to search far the effortless trajectory by following the wisdom of the spiral. You first learn how to care yourself like a ball and explore the quality of your rolling. You let the momentum of rolling lift you gradually and fluently from the ground without threat your neck, without penalty on your back. Your breathing is not disturbed.

Once you accept the idea of rotation and you are willing to turn your face to the earth and for a moment let go of controlling the world, the continuing spiral will raise you up fluently and gracefully. Raising yourself to sitting position becomes easy; what is not easy is to let goof the belief that getting up should be difficult. Awareness through Movement® is a space in which you can go back and allow yourself to believe that life can be easy, to accept that easy is right, to sense that right is pleasurable.


"The wisdom of Stomach/Back Balance"

This innocent movement of bringing your head near to your knees gives you an opportunity to discover the distribution of labour between your back and stomach, when you are willing to give up the idea of showing off or pushing your head to actually touching your knees, when you do not rely to the movement as it were an exercise to be done mechanically as many times as possible, then the key to the function is revealed. You listen to the relationship between your back and the ground. How is this affected by your breathing? You use your hands to train your back to move independently, without dragging the stomach into tension.

Slowly, slowly, little by little you bring your head and knees closer and farther from each other, as long as you do not sacrifice your comfort. In this comfort zone you may discover that it is possible to round your back without stiffening your stomach, you may find that it is possible to move your head toward your knees and keep your stomach soft and breathing. When the belly is free and soft, it doesn't freeze your vital internal process and it doesn't sabotage the action of your back. When the stomach stays soft, the back will work without resistance, the spine is free to perform its own task of aligning backwards into the ground.

You may experience raising your head to the knees as a natural curling up, protecting your soft and vulnerable stomach, hiding it intimately, while exposing to the world your strong, reliable back. In living things it is the back, not the stomach, that it is armored. This is not an argument about which is right, a hard stomach or a soft stomach. In ever-changing life you need a wise stomach, a stomach that knows how to make an effort when needed and how to keep out of thee way when not needed.


"Variations on Arching Backward"

From a pattern of folding in, or flexion, you may explore, another day, the arching backward, or extension. How do you remind yourself of the flexibility of arching backward? Smoothly, with no break in the movement, without interrupting the breathing, with no shock to yourself you find your own way to gradually detach the weight of your leg or arm from the floor. You feel how the movement streams from leg to hand, your whole body is involved in their interaction. Your head too responds, rotating as the spine twists. You breath falls into the rhythm of the motion. In this motion your back arches, not in the contraction but rather it's willing to relieve its full length.

You're guided to experiment with the different combinations.

You begin to coordinate your two hands and your two legs and your head, all at the same time. You experience the whole of yourself expressed in this rhythmical pulsating movement which is common to every living cell, to all organic life. After you've tried a movement a few times you rest, being loyal to nature's rhythm, where in the high tide of action is followed by the low tide of rest.

When your organism recognizes this motion and it becomes clearer and simpler you may begin to play with it.

The rocking becomes a source of pleasure. Does your back signal you that it is overtired from the arching? You lead your knee in a circle and listen to the dialogue between your back and the floor. You feel how the circle you make with your knee presses your lower back into the ground printing out a corresponding circle. You discover how any change in your knee is reflected in the way you organize a specific segment of your back. You can lead your knee as to give your back a treatment, you allow your tired and tender lower back the rare opportunity to make contact with the ground and rest all its weight. You wait long enough for part after part to get the message that it's ok to lean, it's ok to let go. The simple way to restore the tired back.


"Reorganizing the Back through Primal Locomotion"

Backaches are one of the most common cultural complains. Instead of trying to blame your backache on structure or alignment, you can explore how your back moves, how it actually operates, you can discover your dynamic pattern. Is the ideal back concave or flat? Instead of the preconceived idea of what is correct static structure for the back, ask yourself the question: "How does this back function?" Try to direct the corrected structure is to be stuck in endless struggles. The structure is the final outcome of the pattern in which an organism is being used, and this way, in which you use yourself, lends itself to change. You have access to your mobility. Through movement you can maneuver change and heal both your structure and performance.

You explore what your back is able to do, how does it organize to recreate its form moment by moment. How skillful it is at recovering its vertical line. Life winds through constant change. To be organically right is to master change. Experience what it feels like to transfer from one position to another while deepening  the curve of your lower back and, again, when you flatten it. You notice the interaction of your head and pelvis, you take the time to train your back to be smarter.

Your intention is to develop a back that is not stuck in any particular form or combination. A back that knows how to move comfortably when it is curved as well as rounded out. A back that knows when to shift from one position to another, a back that is well-tuned and is free to flow gracefully through the demands of life. Reminding yourself of forgotten iteractions and configurations expand your movement potential and bring you closer to what nature intended you to be.

This sharpening of your accurate responses to change is your guide to free yourself from trouble and pain.


"Undulation in Primal Swimming"

In organic life, movements are circular and serpentine. We grow up thinking of movement in terms of straight line, denying not only the expression to our bodies but also permission to our minds to imagine the full dance.

Bending the knees to the side takes you back to the ocean where all beings originated. This movement of the legs is the pulsating push to the side in primal swimming. Safely on the ground, downside up, you experiment, with bending the knee while is turned to the side. You move slowly, gently, feeling how pointing the knee to the side corresponds with turning your pelvis, inviting your full rib cage to gently rotate. This is the subtle twist that generates your self-directing dance in the environment. In the primal swimming the coordination of the movement works to improve the organism as it functions. When you move your legs according to the nature's program you find that your knee can bend more easily as you move in the same plane, free of the task of lifting or carrying weight as it moves. You take care of lifting only after the task of bending is complete. You derive the powerful lifting from grounding your foot to the earth, the search for nature's meaning not only heal back-knee interaction, but also propagates your functional assertiveness. In organic terms to be assertive means to appreciate subtle breath of comfort.


"Healing Neck-Torso Distribution of Labor"

If your neck bothers you, you may approach it from the perspective of the distribution of labor in the movement of this primal self-locomotion. You begin with your foot. You ground your heel in a stance that gives you power to spring forward. You sense how pushing your foot against the earth brings about a series of changes throughout your total system. Your pelvis needs to twist to allow your knee to come to the side and the entire spine rotates. You feel how the twist climbs up to your neck. In that process your neck remains passive, while the torso actively turns your head. You listen to the interaction as you press your palm into the earth. As in the dawn of evolution, when your hand served as a front leg, you presses it onto the planet and the planet responds with its counter-pressure which streams up to your arm, moves your shoulder biade closer to your spine and ends to the serpentine motion of your back rotating your head to one side.

 You allow all the other parts that share in the task of curving. Your entire organism is refreshed as you give it the opportunity to experience what it lost when it began to walk onto two legs. You invite your torso to increase its partecipation, sparing your neck any excess effort. Through crawling your organization reminds itself of the distribution of labor that was in nature's original plan, with the torso doing most of the rough work of rotation and the neck left to complete the final adjustment, bringing the periscope of the senses precisely into focus.

"Rejuvenation through exploring non-habitual alternatives"

With your expanded movements your excitement about life expands as well. You feel younger as you actually engage in an activity which is associated with a time when you were young nurturing the beds of your movements style.

The hundreds of Awareness through Movement® processes provide you with a generous opportunity to unrave your programming and to enjoy renewed you with the organic ever-renewing movement nature meant.

(*) Transcript from the video "Movement Nature Meant" - by Ruthy Alon, 1993