Category Archives: Feldenkrais Quotes

Moshe Feldenkrais And Milton Erickson, Speaking To The Future

“No person is able to correct a movement that has been made because it is in the past. He could do an additional movement, a better one, a worse one, but it already is impossible to fix the same movement. In other words, it is impossible to correct mistakes, mistakes of action are lost.” (Moshe Feldenkrais, Alexander Yanai, ATM Lesson #359: Tanden with bending the knees.)

Here is a similar statement from Milton Erickson. He is using it to end a hypnosis and psychotherapy session with a client, helping them to get deeply absorbed in a new way of viewing the world.

Well, the deed is done and cannot be undone, so let the dead past bury its dead. Bring me only one more good tomorrow and you will go home tomorrow with another good tomorrow and another and another, and all the other good tomorrows are forever yours.”
(Milton Erickson, Collected Papers 1, The Nature of Hypnosis and Suggestion, page 354.)

Feldenkrais and Einstein On Process Without Language

I was reading a passage from the book Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: How Intelligence Increases When You Think Less and saw a quote by Albert Einstein about his creative process. It instantly reminded me of some similar thoughts by Moshe on his process of self-use as reported in Body Awareness as Healing Therapy: The Case of Nora
Both quotes are below.

Einstein: When Language Interferes


“The words of the language as they are written or spoken do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements of thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which . . . are in my case of visual and some of muscular type. [These elements take part in] a rather vague play… in which they can be voluntarily reproduced and combined… This combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought, before there is any connection with logical construction in words or other kinds of sign which can be communicated to others . . . In a stage where words intervene at all, they are, in my case, purely auditive, but they interfere only in a secondary stage.” Hare Brain, p. 56.

Fascinating. To Einstein, visual and muscular “entities” are the essential elements of thought before becoming connected with words.

Feldenkrais: I make a special effort not to think in words.

Moshe Feldenkrais Image

“When I am presented with a trouble in function, I make a special effort not to think in words. I try not to think logically and in correctly formed sentences. It has become a habit with me to imagine the relevant nervous structures by seeing them with my mind’s eye. I imagine a part which produces a flow of fluid. Part of the travel of the fluid is electrical, then becomes chemical, and again electrical. After many transformations the flow will end in a muscular contraction, and the muscular play will result in some apparent outside action involving the body, or parts of it, that will affect or transform the immediate environment. Sometimes I am stuck at a point where I cannot imagine the pattern of the flow, nor the possible obstacles in its way. Then I ask, is the obstacle a diffusion, damping, deviation, loss of impetus, break of continuity, or an impossibility of one of the transformations.

I have found this way of imagining so fruitful that I cannot do without it. It often shows me where my knowledge is insufficient so that I know exactly what I am after and therefore in which books I am likely to find the information. I form a working theory and change it in the light of new observations I must add to make the theory work. This mode of thinking is often successful in situations where specialists with greater knowledge than mine have failed. Nobody is omniscient enough to think mechanically.” Body Awareness, p. 16

Moshe Feldenkrais “Change Your Groove.”

A few moments ago, I was looking for some information regarding, Dub Leigh a man who trained with Ida Rolf and Moshe Feldenkrais and who has been credited by many for instigating the creation of the Feldenkrais Guild. Printed material on Dub is hard to come by. If anyone has any facts or stories about him, I would love to know them. Post a comment below if you have something to share?

As I was searching for information about Dub, I noticed some choice words by Moshe in one of the transcripts from the San Fransisco training. The quote is not about Dub, but about the method. I think it’s worth sharing:

“If you are a skater and you know this [Moshe’s work] you will be a better skater. If you are a runner, you will be a better runner. If you are a writer, you will be a better writer because you get a new entire being. Why? Because you harmonize yourself. You eliminate those things which destroy your vitality and attention.

Destroy those things which preoccupy you and keep you in a stuck groove. You stay there and don’t know that. For you, this groove is as good for you as another groove. Only the habits make it that you do not change the groove. If you don’t change the groove, you really don’t know what is available. The one you have chosen is by real chance. Your parents, the way you were born, their position, all these can put you in a groove where you can stay for the rest of your life. Is that human? What is the difference between that and a rabbit? You do not need a human brain for that! Do you? To sit in the groove into which you were bom—? “
The San Francisco Training, June, 22nd, 1977.

I’ll skip any detailed commentary for now other than to say that I have always been confused by many modern incarnations of Moshe’s work which seem to view the work as a method to train people to do the work. It seems like an incredible waste. Teaching someone to liberate themselves and become free is much different than teaching someone to become a practitioner or to give table sessions and awareness through movement. But that’s a topic for another day….

Feldenkrais Video: More of Moshe Feldenkrais At CERN

More than a year ago, I had the pleasure of posting a link of a video of Moshe Feldenkrais giving a Functional Integration session at CERN in Geneva: Feldenkrais at Cern. Now, thanks to the efforts of a reader of this blog, I can post links to portions of Moshe’s lecture at CERN.

I have not listened to this lecture in quite some time, so I cannot comment other than too say that the first time I heard it in a Feldenkrais workshop, I really enjoyed. It seems to me that I learned something from it to. Though I don’t remember what. Not in words anyways.

Here’s the first video, with links to the other below it.

Feldenkrais at CERN, Part 1 (Lecture)

Feldenkrais at CERN, Part Two:

Feldenkrais at CERN, Part Three:

Moshe Feldenkrais on his touch:

Happy NEW YEAR and…

New Year’s is a great time to do a psychological “scan” and take note of where we are, what we’ve done and where we are going. Someone once said, “If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.”

But what are we scanning for? Many possibilities, but let’s start with productivity and growth of our businesses and practices. Have you ever read that short quote about business attributed to Steve Job of Apple? It’s very short:

“Real Artists Ship.”

It has a very succinct and clear meaning for those in the software industry. Producing stuff that is amazing, elegant and cutting edge is important. Yes, yes, yes.

But it is infinitely more important to actually produce something that works and get it to users; to ship it. Get it out the door. Have a success or failure in the real world. It works much better than having one in your head.

Of course, you can do that and do it gently and effectively. Or as Moshe said tens of thousands of times in his life:

“Make it light, simple, and without force.”

That’s not just about movement.

Your Results for 2010

For a moment, take note of your successes, no matter how small:


“What’s one positive thought I have about my results in 2010?”


“What is one thing about that makes me happy about what I have done in 2010?”

Got that? It could be useful to make a mental note of that or write it down.

Now, think about what you want.

If you are working on a project right now or want to be…whether it’s a new mp3 product or your first, your next ATM workshop or your first, getting more students or starting a blog and doing more effective marketing, pick a question below and ask it to yourself everyday for the next few days:


“What small step can I take today that would move me closer to that goal?”


“If I were 100% certain that I was going to achieve that goal what would I be doing differently today?”


You can build on those answers. Take a moment and note them. Again, you may want to write them down and put them someplace where you will remember them. (Ask enough times and you will remember automatically).

See you next year!!

The Smallest Things That Can Make A Big Difference #1

In the human being…the nervous system is so affected during the prolonged childhood by its personal experience of the environment that it grows into a being with personal characteristic reactions, biological as well as emotional, that are unique for each personal experience. Moshe Feldenkrais, Potent Self, 1992, p. 64

Unique for each personal experience.

I’m a firm believer that doorways into new behaviors and change are everywhere. Gentle and effective Feldenkrais behaviors – the beginning of change and awareness – such as rolling someone’s head at the beginning of a Functional Integration session or doing scans during Awareness Through Movement have comparable actions in many areas of life.

Whether thinking, feeling, acting or simply changing one’s diet to eat a healthier breakfast, small changes make a big difference. We can train ourselves to find them and use them in small easy steps.

Care to try? The exercise below is useful for you – Feldenkrais practitioner or not – Guild certified or not – if you are looking for that small spark that can help you invigorate your practice or other business and create a new, positive focus (or to reinforce a positive focus that you already have. It’s quite simple. Ask yourself two questions:

What is one thing – no matter how seemingly small or inconsequential – that is unique about you and your practice?

What do you offer – no matter how seemingly small or inconsequential – that no one else offers?

Write that question down on a post it note, or copy and past it on a document on your computer screen, or send it to yourself in and email. And ask yourself every day for the next few days, “What’s unique about me, my practice and my offerings?” If you don’t get an answer right away, don’t worry. Just ask the questions.

Your answers may not only surprise you, but they could also spark some wonderful changes. But don’t go there just yet.

“How each individual can be helped to find his uniqueness and become unique in his contribution to himself and his social environment is too often neglected.”– Moshe Feldenkrais, Elusive Obvious, 1981 p. 99

Unique in your contribution to yourself. Unique in your contribution to the world.

For now, just ask yourself the questions:

“What is one thing that is unique about me and my practice?”

“What do I offer that no one else offers?”

How can such simple questions orient you and help you to small changes? If you need a scientific answer, it has been said that the hippocampus and related brain areas – the ones associated with storing and remembering information – will have no choice but to answer…if you ask nicely and in gentle feldenkraisy way (you are gentle when you roll someone’s head? When you pick up an infant?) Will you deliberately and gently ask yourself those questions for a few days? And take note of your answers?

“What is one thing that is unique about me and my practice?”

“What do I offer that no one else offers?”

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