5 Tips For A Sustainable Home Practice

One of the most liberating aspects of exploring Feldenkrais® and Mindfulness is that you don’t need fancy equipment or a designated building, or an expanding field of wildflowers to practice. The practices are incredibly accessible and they meet you where you are— as long as you are willing.

Living in the Capital Region of New York, I know that it’s not always possible to make it into a studio for a class. Truth be told, there aren’t a lot of studios in this area that offer Feldenkrais or Meditation. Thankfully that’s slowly changing. And now with technology,  we all have bountiful access to classes.

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Meditation & Gut Health. How Are They Related?

When you think of meditation you probably don’t associate it with better digestion and gut health. I know I didn’t until I learned just how much chronic stress influences our gut health and just how powerful meditation is for decreasing stress.

What Does Evolution Have To Do With Healthy Digestion?

Issues like leaky gut often come from living a high-stress lifestyle. Most of us are under a lot of stress in today’s world. When you’re feeling anxious or rushed, your body goes into fight or flight. This is a survival mechanism that’s been with us since long before our frontal lobes developed. Back when we had to struggle just to survive, fight-flight -freeze was useful, but nowadays we don’t have to fight off predators and run for our lives (at least not often). This response to external stress kicks in anytime something triggers our stress response.

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Progressive Muscle Relaxation To Relieve Stress + Reduce Stress

If you suffer from complex pain, then you know what it's like to feel tense. Even tending to your home can feel like it takes excessive physical effort. And, the quality of your efforts is impacted by your ability to relax.

There are a variety of relaxation techniques and activities to choose from. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is one that is easy to learn and yields a variety of benefits — developing a sense of well-being, lowered blood pressure, decreased muscle tension, less anxiety and fatigue.

The general intention of Progressive Muscle Relaxation is to hone in on your ability to relax by intentionally comparing relaxed and tense states. In turn, this can help to reduce anxiety and stress by bringing awareness to and then releasing the physical aspects (i.e. muscle tension).

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Who’s Your Saboteur?

We all have a way to which we hold ourselves back. Ways in which we keep ourselves safe by settling for what is familiar. For example, try simply noticing that voice inside your head that gets very chatty whenever you are about to make a decision or do something new, especially something that could result in change. Is it telling you that you’re nuts to consider what you are thinking of doing? Does it say that you failed once before and will probably do so again? Or is your voice like a sly cat, sweetly seducing you to eat those fries and chocolate shake?

Simply noticing these habitual stories, seductive voices, and destructive dialogues will help you to realize that there are inner saboteurs at work. In the act of noticing you begin to empower yourself to make truly conscious decisions that will result in positive and lasting changes in your life.  

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Walking Awareness

One of my favorite things to do is to take an early morning walk on the beach or out in nature. I love the playfulness of the wind sweeping off the water and the acrobatic birds playing in the waves. I love how the clean fresh morning air dances with the sound of the ocean and the sense of an expansive settling that arise from within. I am inspired to play with my own movement experience.

Often when we are walking down the street, we are not thinking about the way we walking, how our skeleton moves, or what muscles we’re using, or whether the pressure of every step is subtly hurting some part of our body. Our goal is simply to get from where we are to where we are going, and often without much awareness of the process. Even taking a morning stroll on the beach can be void of awareness. We can be entranced by the world around us without necessarily sensing ourselves in it.

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Images Of Aging The Feldenkrais Way

We have all been told that aging brings with it aches, pains and loss of function. Many of us have even accepted the fact that joint pain is inevitable and that we will someday have to give up doing those things that bring us the most joy.

But what if there’s another way?

Recently a growing number of people are finding another way. They are finding their way to the Feldenkrais Method® — a type of somatic movement that incorporates small, intentional physical movements with mental visualization to teach the body how to move more efficiently and effectively.

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9 TED Talks On Neuroscience That Will Inform, Inspire & Move You

Neuroscience and neuroscientists seem to be a popular staple of TED. And as a Feldenkrais Practitioner, I’m pretty much interested in anything dynamically related to the nervous system — how we move, think, sense, and feel. Plus, I’m completely intrigued by ideas that explore the way we are shaped, and the way we shape, our internal and external environments. This makes TED basically brain-porn for me.

There have been so many excellent TED talks on the topic, and I wanted to collect some of my favorites in one spot (i.e. this post). Mind you, this list isn’t complete, it’s just representative a tiny taste of the TED goodness that stimulates my mind.

I hope that you’ll join the conversation.

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Movement Of Emotions

Recently a student approached me at the end of class and asked me if experiencing strong emotions while doing Awareness Through Movement was normal. My answer: “Yes.” Emotions don’t surface all of the time, but it does happen and the intensity of the experience can vary.

When I first started reading Moshe Feldenkrais’ books nearly 20 years ago I was completely obsessed with the mind-body connections—specifically how I could shift my emotional base and perspectives by working with my body. I consumed his writings along with those of Ida Rolf, Alexander Lowen, and books like Emotional Anatomy (the source for the image above.)

You see, at the time, I was really interested in how different patterns of organization played a role in establishing a ‘baseline’ of emotional experience.

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Feldenkrais or Yoga?

The Feldenkrais Method® can enhance your awareness and provide you with an anchor for self-study, both on and off of the yoga mat.

In fact, the movements of Feldenkrais® can serve as a conduit to a deeper connection to yourself and is one of the ways in which it’s similar to yoga. The difference, however, is how we go about those movements. But those differences can vary from person-to-person and from teacher-to-teacher (lineage or style).

In most yoga that is taught throughout the United States, we are often working our way into an asana— discovering our boundaries and softening into them. We employ the art of stretching the muscles & aligning the skeleton and we reside in our awareness. Feeling each subtle adjustment that can be made for a bigger sense of space and ease. Noticing what arises in our thoughts & emotions. Freeing ourselves of the muckety-muck we have gathered in our body, mind, and soul.

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Awareness reMINDers

I don’t know about you, but I like to keep busy. And when I’m not out and about, my thoughts tend to be all over the place.

Topping it off, my memory isn’t what it used to be! So trying to get things accomplished was tough. Especially when it came to remembering my Feldenkrais goals, the most important ones needing my attention.

The question became:
How could I trigger my awareness to help focus on what I wanted to do each day?

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Move Into Mindfulness

I have often been asked, “What brought you to this practice.” My honest answer? The proper amount of dysfunction and an eternal search for freedom! Yes, like most people I began this journey with my personal history on my back and the ity-bity-shiddy-committee standing in solidarity at my side. Eager to escapes the weight and noise, I began with desperate faith to ‘find a way’ OUT.

Most of us live in the presence of a habitual mind that dominates our experience and our life. My own experience with becoming more mindful was truly uncomfortable. My committee was in full force and every single thought seemed to echo in my physical being. I was amazed to find out how my perception and my sensation was completely ruled by unconscious conditioning. 

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Minding Stress During The Holidays

The holidays are among us! And it's that time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can lead to quite the load of stress. After all, you likely have invitations to gatherings collecting on your counter, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and you're looking ahead at the meals to prepare and moments to spend with your loved ones. Not to mention the shorter days, colder nights, and extra prep required to meet the weather as you head out the door. All of this, on top of your normal everyday life. It can be overwhelming, to say the least.

But the truth is, we are constantly responding to the ebb and flow of life and to the stress that life brings — both positive and negative. Positive stress motivates and drives us. While negatively perceived stress affects our physical and mental health and can rob us of a life full of happiness.

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