I have been in the process of reviewing some of the written transcripts from Dr. Feldenkrais’s various trainings and articles for a new project that I am pulling together. I have to admit, there are so many gems in Feldenkrais’ talks that it gets a little overwhelming at times.
One idea that he tries to convey in so many ways is the importance of variability of experience in learning new responses. For example,
“..another important feature of the group work is the continued novelty of situation that is maintained throughout the course. Once the novelty wears off, awareness is dulled and no learning takes place.” Mind and Body (1964) Moshe Feldenkrais.
As I wrote over on RyanNagy.com what Feldenkrais wrote is “obvious” to us now. But when he wrote it in 1964, is sure as hell was not.
“…when Moshe died in 1984, there was little, perhaps no, published research that showed that the brain of an adult could change. In fact, when I first returned to college in the mid 1990′s most scientists STILL believed the mature brain could not grow new brain cells nor regenerate connections and damaged functions. Incredible, isn’t it? They believed that the brain had to remain relatively fixed or stable in order to maintain long-term memories and skills. It is an vastly different world that we live in today. We can now have conversations about neurogenesis and brain change without seeming like lunatics.”
We, as practitioners already knew that the brain and nervous system can and do change through specific novel experiences. We knew as Feldenkrais practitioners and as people and now society and the scientific community is learning.
The larger question for me is how to keep up on what is known and has been published and how to use it to promote Feldenkrais for the betterment of society and ourselves. Tonight and perhaps tommorrow morning as well, I will be watching a free 60-minute webinar by Dr. Rick Hanson. Two parts of his talk have caught my eye:
The Importance of Novelty for Neuroplasticity: Why New Experiences Have Such a Transformative Effect on the Brain
The 5 Factors that Help Learning Take Hold and How They Promote Neuroplasticity
I think there will be some nuggets in this talk that will make me a better person and practitioner. If you are interested you can sign-up to get the webinar for free or pay to get downloadable copies as video, audio and written transcripts. Find and click the grey box that reads “Free Of Charge.” r. Steve Hanson with NICABM.