Our Moving Lives

A running account of ways the Feldenkrais Method® and other somatic teachings are intertwined in our lives, the world, and everything in it.

Available subjects:

  • Aging
  • Children
  • Dance
  • Golf
  • Martial Arts
  • Running
  • Walking

Feldenkrais & Aging

As our golden generations start to creep upward in age, it’s important to for them to listen to their bodies to learn what areas need to be addressed over time.

Common chronic problems are found in hips, knees, backs, shoulders, and basically anywhere else that bends. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. Soreness or injury problems that arise as a result of a hardworking or especially active or strenuous lifestyle should be worn as a badge of honor, just like addressing them should be a kind of reward for that very hard work.

Common chronic problems are found in hips, knees, backs, shoulders, and basically anywhere else that bends. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. Soreness or injury problems that arise as a result of a hardworking or especially active or strenuous lifestyle should be worn as a badge of honor, just like addressing them should be a kind of reward for that very hard work.

Too often, seniors turn to surgery as a solution. Although it may be the most rational decision in terms of physical repair, sometimes advanced age can slow the healing process and complicate recovery after surgery.

With Feldenkrais and other non-invasive therapies offered at Feldenkrais San Diego, students of advanced age can progress toward increased comfort at their own pace, avoiding the sharp pain and complicated care of undergoing an operation.

The very nature of surgery is meant to address one area. Another benefit of Feldenkrais, yoga, and the other natural schools of motion taught at Feldenkrais San Diego, lies in their ability to bring the body together, to identify collaborators within it, and encourage moving parts to “work as a team” to attain best results.

Donna Wood welcomes students of all ages to explore their changing bodies, whether it’s to address pain, increase range of motion, or any of the other benefits of her work, seniors are greeted with a smile and open door.

Feldenkrais & Children

It may appear, on the surface, that many of these focus-based movement principles are reserved for wise adults and sage-like seniors capable of consciously grasping their benefits and intricacies. The truth is, anyone can learn. And, anyone can learn to practice and benefit from the Feldenkrais Method and other schools taught here at Feldenkrais San Diego. From the creaks and cracks of getting older to the clumsy try-and-error of childhood- balance, strength, grace, and every other benefit of mindful movement can be enjoyed at absolutely any age.

The Feldenkrais Method might not be at the top of the list of things-to-do-with-kids, but its teachings and other movement techniques are beneficial to any tot. Babies are, quite literally, learning to move their bodies for the first time. Falling is a huge part of any child’s life. And, the awkwardness of puberty can be escaped by no child. Just as kids start a period of their lives where everything gets more difficult, things like walking, sitting, and standing gracefully, or, not ungracefully, become challenges just the same. To be young.

Luckily, children are natural sponges to technique and repetition. Structured or guided movement lessons can greatly improve a child’s balance and stability, encourage self-confidence, and help to correct upon poor posture habits that could be lead to injury later in life.

Lessons in Ukemi and Feldenkrais are specifically designed to help distribute weight and avoid injury when hitting the pavement, as kids inevitably do. Classes in Judo and Aikido provide a fascinating martial arts environment while leaving young students with useful defense techniques and valuable self-awareness. Even while enjoying the intended safety benefits, classes are casual and fun. Students won’t know they’re students at all!

Feldenkrais & Dance

Dance represents the finest movement our bodies are capable of. More than just a performance, its performance art—with our intricate and intelligent bodies as the feature act. Refined control of one’s body parts is critical for serious dancers. More than that, elegance and grace must be conveyed in every movement. The connection between brain and body must be unsullied in every way, with focus remaining sharp and consistent throughout a performance.

In these ways, Feldenkrais is an obvious companion to dance of all kinds. Feldenkrais and related movement coursework help students to become conscious of the connections within themselves, opening opportunities for improvement in both the mental and physical elements of practice and performance.

Feldenkrais & Golf

Golf, maybe more so than other sports, is a game played in one’s mind. The contrast between the small white ball and minute movements that steer it, and the vast acres that the game is played on, provides for a uniquely challenging, and sometimes frustrating, mode of athletic leisure.

The average golf swing lasts about one second. That’s short enough to make the movements associated with it almost completely subconscious in nature. This is where golf’s connection to the Feldenkrais Method and other mindful movement techniques is clear. Classwork promotes the fluidity, balance, and strength necessary to conquer the physical aspects of the game. The expanded mental connection between body and mind helps to sharpen focus, level-headedness, and awareness for the more cerebral aspects of the game.

Another parallel in the two lies in their openness to all interested participants. Both golf and Feldenkrais can be practiced, mastered, and provide benefit to students both young and old, with any level of experience or athletic prowess.

Feldenkrais & Martial Arts

Martial artists from all combat disciplines all over the world have found that the slow, gentle movements of the Feldenkrais Method help enhance awareness and improve reflexes, necessary attributes for these ancient practices. Many Feldenkrais teachers practice various martial arts disciplines – from Ninjitsu to Tai Chi, especially Aikido and Ukemi.

Much has been written about this improved awareness, including a book by Moshe Feldenkrais entitled Higher Judo. Essays can be found in several martial arts publications, as well as in consumer magazines.

Feldenkrais & Running

While the Feldenkrais Method and other mindful movement teachings involve dynamic and sometimes strenuous movement, they also address, sometimes even more so, the subconscious movement of our bodies, the physical actions that take place without the need for complex thought, or thought at all. This idea is represented by our chests rising and falling with each breath, and in more tangible ways- as we learn in Ukemi – The Art of Falling.

Running requires the same kind of subconscious movement and generation of power. Very few, if any of us will consciously think, “Left foot. Right foot.” The act of accelerated up-right linear movement is one of the most natural and powerful humans are capable of. Each angle and length is put to perfect use, creating the leverage and torque needed to propel us forward with pace, and albeit slower and somewhat less gracefully, backward. From seeing a baby’s first steps to watching an Olympic sprinter dash across the screen, people running can be a marvelously beautiful thing.

One can reasonably conclude that development and training of the subconscious moving self could have some positive impact on runners’ comfort and strength while putting rubber to pavement. More obvious benefits seen by athletes practicing mindful movement would include reduced soreness, increased flexibility, shortened recovery time, and enhanced balance.

Feldenkrais & Stretching

The Feldenkrais Method and most other movement principles, not only the ones taught at Feldenkrais San Diego, involve the stretching and compression of our muscles. In fact, in their most basic forms, even the most complex of sports can be broken down into a series of explosive poses, each held together by lengthened and compressed muscles.

Athletes and non-athletes alike often seek to improve their flexibility by stretching. It’s one of the first physical movements that we commit to memory in gym class of elementary school. There are many variations in what is perceived to be proper technique while stretching, from the insistence on short more challenging bursts of muscle lengthening to extended holds of gradually increased difficulty.

While a new student could easily mistake Feldenkrais movements as stretching, and they wouldn’t be completely wrong. Both activities are aimed toward loosening and strengthening muscles, but arrive at that destination in different ways. Stretching, while made more complex, sometimes unnecessarily so by machines, bands, or routines, often is focused on one muscle or extremity at a time. We stretch our hamstrings. We stretch our calves. We stretch our groin. If undertaken with proper care, a good stretch routine before athletic activity or even just to start the day can be extremely beneficial in alleviating soreness, promoting recovery, and avoiding injury.

On the other hand, Feldenkrais, Aikido, Judo and other movement principles taught at Feldenkrais San Diego provide a wider perspective on physical health and flexibility in particular. Mindful movement study and practice takes into account connections both physical and mental between parts of the body and states of mind. Delving into one of these schools of thought helps the unify one’s moving self and thus, allow for more fluidity and comfort in motion.

Anyone, skilled athletes and those us who have hung up our cleats, can enjoy the benefits of increased flexibility, comfort, and range of motion. 

Feldenkrais & Walking

Walking is one of the most significant physical milestones we reach as a toddler. At that second, it’s the most difficult challenge a little mind can imagine. Somewhere between those first staggering steps and where we stand today, that complexity has been lost on us. We simply glide through life, mindlessly utilizing breathtakingly beautiful symmetry-in-motion, an anatomically wondrous mechanical progression of limbs, bones, and muscle that seems to power and stop itself without the need for even a moment of consideration by the operator.

One can only truly understand the significance of the human stride once it’s been altered or taken from us by chronic pain, stiffness, or any number of other physical ailments. As easy as walking may be on our minds, it requires the entire body to work in unison, and can quickly become a burdensome activity when one part of the mechanism falters.

Part of the simple yet impactful approach of the Feldenkrais Method involves assessing and relearning our most basic movements, like walking, in order to feel more comfortable in our own bodies and live with more balance and grace.

Basic body principles like balance, transfer of energy, and posture are all incorporated within the movements needed to walk from point A to point B and beyond, making Feldenkrais a perfect addition to any casual walker or cardio champ’s training routine.

Walkers of any age and skill level can enjoy the benefits of movement coursework.