Yochanan Rywerant: Teaching by Handling

Yochanan: Teaching By Hanlding

I’m recently back from two days in Austin, Texas where I had a chance to talk to, and record, multiple conversations with Mia Segal, Leora Gaster and their business coordinator Danielle Polfus. The first podcast from these conversations is nearly ready and should be up in a few days.

While talking to Mia, I mentioned that I was in the process of returning to my practice after 18 months off. I took the time off to better focus on self-application of the lessons from Alexander Yanai and the Esalen workshop. She asked me what resources that I would use to begin giving functional integration sessions again and I mentioned: The Feldenkrais Method: Teaching by Handling by Yochanan Rywerant. Mia was supportive of the idea.

I want to take a moment and give a full recommendation for Yochanan’s book. I’ve heard one or two people say that the book is too complicated for beginning practitioners or students in Feldenkrais training programs. I strongly disagree.

Though there are some descriptions and scientific explanations that may requite multiple readings or referring to external references such as an anatomy text, Yochanan has very explicit and detailed ways of illustrating Moshe’s ideas and demonstrating the work. Reading the book is well-worth the effort.

If you are a practitioner or student in need of a clarification of some topics, such as giving hands-on sessions, you can pick and choose chapters that meet your needs. For example, Chapter 9: “Schematic Outlines of A Few Model Sessions” contains detailed descriptions of 6 sessions, including sketches of starting positions and verbal descriptions of how to proceed.

There is nothing particular subversive about the book. Unless clear and explicit teaching is a threat to some in the community. However, if you are a student in one of the few training programs in which the trainers discourage students from seeking this type of information, feel free to buy and read the book and not tell anyone that you read it. You will be well-rewarded for engaging with Yochanan’s writing.

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4 thoughts on “Yochanan Rywerant: Teaching by Handling

  1. cynthia

    Hi Ryan,
    Yes, the book is very useful as are the videos of Jochanan teaching in Berkeley a number of years ago. Very clear and interesting FI demos. BTW I think Leora spells her last name Gaster.
    Best,
    Cynthia

  2. Bob S

    I keep meaning to properly sit down and read this book. I actually found it at a flea market, 10 or so years ago – it’s the one with the blue cover and the yellow figures. Yochanan also has another book (Feldenkrais Profession) that’s worth looking at too. Ryan – you gotta get this guy on podcast if you can!

    BTW, I mentioned this book to one of our education directors and he was quite non-committal about it. I think the feeling is that it contains ‘recipes’ so it leads to cookie-cutter work in new grads. A fair point to some extent.

    Yeah – this and ‘Dexterity and It’s Development’ have been on my read list for too long. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. nagster

      Hi Bob – Thanks for the comment. One thing to consider is that Yochanon worked side-by-side with Moshe for many years in the same studio. And Moshe wrote the preface to the book, giving it a strong recommendation. I find it interesting that many FGNA trainers are non-committal about the book when Moshe was not. There may be an issue not related to the content of the book.

      I only recently found out about ‘Dexterity and It’s Development.’ Looking forward to reading it! – Ryan

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