Re-conociendote a ti mismo –
(translation) Getting to know yourself all over again
From the time I was in grade school through college I studied quite a bit of Spanish. Though over the years I am sure that I have gotten pretty rusty, I enjoy looking at the Spanish language feed on social media from a variety of Feldenkrais® and Anat Baniel Method(sm) practitioners and organizations in the Spanish speaking world. Sometimes similar things said in a different language seem to really hit the mark.
South American practitioner Lea Kaufman used the phrase “re-conociendote a ti mismo”. She used it to explain what the Feldenkrais and by extension the Anat Baniel methods are about, relating primarily to adults.
For infants and children who have special needs this work is extremely valuable in helping them just get to know themselves in the first place and what they may be capable of, often exceeding predicted limitations.
If you would like a fun 30 second view of Lea doing something really cool click here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSvi-dBCCmQ)
So as an adult, what would it mean to “get to know yourself all over again”?
A large percentage of the people who come to Feldenkrais do so because they are experiencing some sort of pain or physical limitation. The two can be intertwined. In Feldenkrais we explore either through easy non-habitual active movement or gentle hands on work what it would be like to move with optimal ease and efficiency, often leading to deceases in pain and improvements in performance of some sort of physical skill.
In this case I would say getting to “know yourself all over again” is to begin to recognize unnecessary tensions and inefficient movement habits that are getting in your way.
However, there are folks who come to Feldenkrais reasons other than physical challenges. Moshe Feldenkrais never intended his work to be physical therapy. He saw it as a way to optimize human potential in whatever way appropriate to an individual.
I, and many people I know, have a sitting meditation practice. Okay- mine is only 10 minutes daily, but at least I am consistent. Meditation is said to help with mindfulness and awareness, two words open to a variety of interpretations. I clearly remember one of my Feldenkrais trainers called this work the “ultimate mindfulness practice”. That of course is his judgment.
What I can say is that in Feldenkrais we use movement, either active or gently performed by a practitioner, as a vehicle for awareness just as the breath is commonly used in meditation.
If there were such a thing as a “mindfulness muscle”, I would say that both Feldenkrais and meditation are tools to strengthen it.
Just as mediators have many different answers to the benefits of their practice, so do those who do Feldenkrais. Examples include being more creative, thinking more clearly, and being less reactive in conflict.
My good friend Kristine is a Feldenkrais devotee and daughter of an 80something practitioner. She says she is fortunate not to have significant physical pain. I asked her why she keeps going back. Here is what Kristine had to say.
Physically she feels lighter and more aligned. She senses shifts in her vision that results in her seeing more detail. Kristine told me after a lesson she feels more open to others and less self-protective. In her own words she describes being “more spacious mentally, emotionally and spiritually” and walks out of the room “imaging new possibilities” – Thank you Kristine for sharing these experiences.
So circling back I could say that in its essence Feldenkrais provides a vehicle to get to know ourselves better- be it how we move in ways that keep us in pain or self-limiting thoughts or you can fill in the blank.
THE PROCESS IS SIMPLE
THE RESULTS ARE PROFOUND
THAT IS THE FELDENKRAIS® SUPER POWER
Another Spanish phrase I will borrow from Lea is“moverse para conocerse” – to move yourself is to know yourself. One good way to do that is in a Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement class. For those who are local, I have two small groups starting on Sept. 26th. Very limited space is still available. Please call 206-842-4608 for details.
If you are not local you can check www.feldenkrais.com for classes in your area.