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Moshe Feldenkrais at Rotterdam (1977)


I recently purchased an mp3 CD that contains over 13 hours of lectures and Awareness Through Movement by Moshe Feldenkrais. The material was taught in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1976. True to the understated (one could say boring) marketing style of the International Feldenkrais Federation, the lessons are described thus:

Volume 1: Moshe Feldenkrais in Rotterdam 1976 (MP3 audio files). In this workshop Dr. Feldenkrais teaches seven classic lessons that range from simple to challenging.” (snooze).

Seven classic lessons my ass! The mp3’s are vintage Moshe. From the very first moment he dives right in as only he can do – speaking to experiential learning, health, awareness, the relationship between structure and function – the primacy of movement for functions of life. Hmmm!! If you are interested in Moshe’s work, grab this product and geek out. You will be glad that you did. After listening to the first two hours, I have been experiencing myself and the work much more deeply.

Luckily, I found about the CD’s and bought them based on the basis of recommendations of several people in the community, not from the IFF’s description above. Who recommended the sessions to me? I can’t tell you lest I be accused of something. Normally I don’t mind. But today, I am not in the mood. Let’s just say that it was Che Guevara. On a motorcycle trip around the world, he became aware of the suffering of Feldenkrais practitioners. He is one his way to Portland to start a revolution. He is armed.

Unfortunately, the sound quality on the CD is not that great, there is a bit of echo here and there and some “tinny” sounds. And for a guy like me with tinnitus, it can be damn annoying at times. I already have enough ringing in my ears from the meth-induced abuse to myself that I did in the 80’s. But even so, I can tell you that after the first two sessions I am completely hooked. Come to think of it I got hooked on meth just as easily.

By the way: According to the IFF the products on the website are only “for the exclusive use of persons who have graduated from, or are currently enrolled in, a professional Feldenkrais training program.” Yea, whatever. Just between you and I, the IFF has no way of verifying if you are or are not in a training or have graduated from one. So do yourself a favor – if you want them just order them.

And don’t worry – Moshe wants you to have these sessions. He told me. I swear. In fact, in a dream last night Moshe told me, “Ryan, thou art my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” I was a bit scared when he told me that. Sensing my fear, he gently rolled my head. I breathed deeply. The master had touched me! And I will never forget what Moshe told me next. It was so weird. He said,

You will go to the Dagobah system. There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed me.

My eyes opened wide. I wanted to speak, but he waved me off impatiently and said:

Oi! Don’t be idiotic!! Listen to the Rotterdam mp3’s first.

Moshe Feldenkrais at Rotterdam

Update: April, 2013. I do not think you can buy the Rotterdam sessions unless you are a Feldenkrais Practitioner. Give me some time and I will see if I can figure out a way for you to steal them or obtain them illegally.

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Some FGNA “History” on the FeldyForum…

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in ...
Image via Wikipedia


I have heard that there is a rather long conversation on the FeldyForum that on the surface seems to have been sparked by my interview with Mia Segal. Of course, dry straw can ignite quite easily. A fact that has little to do with the match itself.

Though I am no longer a member of the FeldyForum, I had considered rejoining to enter the conversation. But I decided against it. For those of you who are taking part in or reading the conversation, I will share two quotations that you might consider while doing so:

No theory ever agrees with all the facts in its domain, yet it is not always the theory that is to blame. Facts are constituted by older ideologies, and a clash between facts and theories may be proof of progress.” Paul Feyerabend in his brilliant (but dense) book: Against Method (Fourth Edition)

And another whose idea may already be familiar to you:

“If you want to find out anything from the theoretical physicists [or Feldenkrais Trainers] about the methods they use, I advise you to stick closely to one principle: Don’t listen to their words, fix your attention on their deeds.” Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

Update: About 30 minutes after I posted this, I re-joined the FeldyForum. Someone forwarded to me a mis-characterization of a friend of mine by someone claiming to be a Feldenkrais Trainer, and I decided to respond.

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When Moshe Feldenkrais Received Alexander Sessions…

F. Mathias Alexander, Alexander Technique Creator

F. Mathias Alexander creator of The Alexander Technique

I’ve doing a bit of research for an interview that I will be conducting with Mia Segal one of Moshe Feldenkrais’ early collaborators in Israel.

I was looking for some information on Charles Neal, the Alexander Teacher that Mia Segal worked with before meeting Moshe. What I found was a rather interesting online article by Alexander Teacher, Walter Carrington. In the article, first published in The Alexander Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 1986, Carrington, describes giving some Alexander sessions to Moshe Feldenkrais at Alexander’s studios at 16 Ashley Place in England. The sessions occurred in 1949*

Carrington notes that:

At that point I did not know who he [Moshe Feldenkrais] was or indeed anything about him, except that he was suffering from a vocal problem: having temporarily lost his voice he was talking in a hoarse whisper. He had a very strong pull down the front of his neck and I subsequently attributed this to the performance of an exercise described in his book which consisted of lying flat on the floor and lifting the head off the ground a number of times in order to stretch the neck muscles. The purpose of this was said to be “to bring the head into such a position as to establish its normal relation to space and gravity”. In fact, it tends to generate such powerful pulls in front of the neck that loss of voice is almost an inevitable consequence.

Carrington’s causal reasoning is quite fascinating, isn’t? Spurious, perhaps – but fascinating.

Alexander Confronts Feldenkrais

However, what I find even more interesting is Carrington’s account of what happens when Alexander comes across Moshe’s recently published book, Body and Mature Behavior: A Study of Anxiety, Sex, Gravitation, and Learning and wants to determine if Moshe has stolen some of his ideas.

Carrington reports:

So, Alexander wanted to know what Feldenkrais’s motivation was and, in particular, why he had elected to come for lessons when he had already developed methods of his own. F.M. said that if Feldenkrais could not give him some satisfactory explanation he would not permit him to have any more lessons. Feldenkrais could not, and did not. It was the only occasion on which I ever saw Feldenkrais nonplused.

The rest of the article I will leave for you to explore. You may be interested in one or two details that do not match what is commonly heard in the Feldenkrais community. In particular, read the piece on Ben Gurion: Carrington on Feldenkrais

*To briefly put the year in historical context: In 1949 Moshe was living in England after leaving France 9 years earlier when France was occupied by Nazi Germany. In France, Moshe worked in the laboratory of Marie Curie and when in England he worked for the British military. In 1951, Moshe moved back to Israel.

Frank Wildman On The Today Show

Image of Frank Wildman from Facebook
Image of Frank Wildman


Frank Wildman Video

This is how its done! Frank Wildman in a 9-minute interview on the The Today Show in Australia.

Note: It’s Frank Wildman. Not Frank Wildman channeling a dead guy and talking about Moshe. Not Frank Wildman talking about “restoring each person to their human dignity” or some other Feldenkrias blah blah quote*. Frank is using contemporary, easy-to-understand language and anecdotes. Very engaging and inspiring.

And I must say, Frank looks about 10 years younger than last time I saw him. Hmm. Could it be he is Changing His Age?


*Please note: I have nothing against Feldenkrais “blah blah” quotes nor quoting dead guys. I do it all the time. Especially, Moshe “What’s His Face.” He’s very quotable. Kind of fat. Not very cute. But very quotable. But there is a time and a place for it. And speaking to the public is not it. If you want people to think you are part of a religious cult, or are just a general whacko, don’t look directly at them. Stare off into space, look very intense and say, “What I’m after is to restore each person to their human dignity.”

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FGNA Board News?

I would like to applaud the FGNA board’s attempt to harness social media in order to connect with FGNA members. It is a welcome step. It is nice to be able to see a video and connect names and faces. That being said, the video below has no content. That the board met? We know. That they want to communicate more and better? We hear. But the video below communicates nothing of substance.

A valiant first attempt. Next time, please add some substance?


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The Feldenkrais Method and Chronic Pain. Does Feldenkrais Help?

The AARP recently posted an article on “alternative therapies” and drug-free treatments for chronic pain. The Feldenkrais Method of Learning was mentioned:

Bedridden and folded up in a fetal position, she was unable to brush her hair, shower, or use the bathroom unaided. She teetered on the verge of suicide. Finally, after 15 years, a switch in medical plans introduced her to doctors who believed her. But by that point, the pain medications they prescribed could not reverse her condition. Worse, the drugs left her with a slew of side effects.

Toussaint wanted to try physical therapy for pelvic pain, and a movement therapy called Feldenkrais, ideas her doctor initially dismissed. He rolled his eyes and said, It will never help,”she remembers. Ultimately, however, the move led her into the world of alternative therapies and saved Toussaint’s life.

Guided imagery and Feldenkrais, the therapies that helped Toussaint, are only two out of more than a dozen alternative therapies that have been scientifically documented to ease chronic pain when drugs can’t. And they frequently can’t, says James Dillard, M.D., D.C., coauthor of The Chronic Pain Solution (Bantam, 2003). Even if we prescribe medication as well as we can, on average we are still only going to take away between 50 and 60 percent of your pain.

The full article is here: AARP Drug-Free Pain Relief.

If you want to know more about Feldenkrais Research, Jim Stephens and Frank Wildman have created a brief online article regarding some research on pain and other areas relevant to the Feldenkrais Method:

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Of Feldenkrais, Chickens and Movement Possibility

The YouTube video below had been viewed nearly 500,000 times at the time I posted it below. It shows the “strange to us” ability of a chicken to keep its head completely still, even as the rest of its body moves in different directions.

As a student of Moshe Feldenkrais and other movement scientists, I am fascinated by the untapped possibility that chickens oops! …that human beings have for movement.

The brilliance of Dr. Feldenkrais was he found that it is possible to teach a person new movement possibilities – not by stretching nor exercise, but by giving a person new sensory-motor experience from which to learn.

Enjoy! – Ryan

Thanks to Dan Schmidt, Feldenkrais Practitioner for bringing this video to my attention.

Feldenkrais: A reason to be cheerful.

I thought this was cute – a short list by a blogger on reasons to be cheerful. She mentions winter sunlight, bubble baths and Feldenkrais: Reasons to be cheerful.

Also, the following online article is short on detail, but it does mention the Feldenkrais Method:

With God’s help, Batya lived through the night. After a few days, she was off the respirator and breathing on her own.

The infant underwent Feldenkrais, a method that accesses the nervous system’s own innate processes to change and refine functioning. Baby Batya progressed to being a paraplegic, gaining the use of her upper body when she was about six months old.

Lani appreciated the smallest increments of progress — even the duration that an object would stay in her daughter’s tiny hand without falling out.

Full article at One Village.

Martin Weiner, the Feldy Forum, Feldenkrais podcasts and….

The quote below deserves so much more attention than I am going to give it right now (hey, damn it. It’s Saturday night and got things to do), but I do want to get it online.

It is from Martin (Marty) Weiner, a Feldenkrais Practitioner that I have wanted to know more about for several years. Marty practices the Feldenkrais Method in Southern California and teaches workshops to other practitioners to help them hone their craft (details about Marty’s workshops coming soon)

I expect to have an interview with Marty in the next week or so – posted here and on iTunes as podcast.

In the meantime, read below. It’s Marty’s reply to a Feldenkrais Practitioner asking for suggestions on how to work with a person who has “achilles tendonitis.”

My suggestion is that you don’t let her description and categorization of her experience as “achilles tendonitis” structure your process. When someone comes in with a diagnosis it is easy to get seduced into thinking that that [the diagnosis] is what we are treating and to go looking into our historical repetoire or someone else’s for suggestions.

We don’t treat “things”, labels, diseases etc. What makes what we do different and unique is that it is a process of discovery not treatment, a way of bringing awareness to someone and trusting that awareness (or learning) can produce desirable results in an intelligent system (and it is “intelligent” by virtue of its being a human brain–not because she is a “smart” person.) Why not simply go in and “discover” her and how she is creating the experience that she or a doctor is calling “achilles tendonitis”? Anything other than going in without a plan of action for a totally brand new situation (and all situations are brand new in each instant) misses the opportunity to explore and create with her what she needs. If there is a Feldenkrais method, that is what it is.

Good luck!

Do you have to be a Feldenkrais practitioner to view that as brilliant? I know a couple of NLP-type people and Ericksonian Hypnotherapists who might see it as well.