Reintegrating Your Brain

We are born with a limited number of “hardwired” reflexes – our abilities to move, speak, and think come from a learning process.  When we are born most of our nervous system is unpatterned, not yet connected, so that each of us can learn to function to meet the demands of our surroundings.  We are imminently adaptable, thus must learn to do almost everything that we do.

We have a great freedom, a potential for adaptability, and with that comes the responsibility to learn to function well.  To a large extent, we create ourselves.

This is one of the core principles of the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education. Feldenkrais is a subtle method of  rewiring the neural structure of the entire human being to be functionally well integrated, which means being able to do what you want to do and do it well.  This ‘rewiring’ takes place through moving with awareness – awareness of the feeling and the result of the movement.  It is a learning process.  We can continue learning, and thus rewiring our brains, our entire lives.

As we grow we learn particular patterns of functioning, many of them work well, some do not.  With age and injury, these patterns of functioning fall into dis-use.  It is now becoming well known that when we don’t use the neural pathways that control particular functions we lose those neural pathways.  Some injuries, such as stroke, can destroy entire networks.  It is our great good fortune that just as we learned to ‘wire’ our brains as children, we can wire them again.  There is plenty of brain matter available to take over for damaged areas and there is a growing body of research findings that show we can generate new neurons when needed through a process called ‘neurogenesis’.

Neurogenesis and creating new neural networks using existing brain matter both come from moving to fulfill an intention while experiencing the feeling of the movement.  That is all it takes, moving with ever more finely differentiated awareness.  Feldenkrais Functional Integration® and Felkenkrais Awareness Through Movement® Lessons are highly evolved methods for doing that.

Copyright© May 2015 Jeff Bickford, All Rights Reserved, Unfettered Movement

This post draws upon “The Brain’s Way of Healing” by Norman Doidge, MD.  I highly recommend it!

Moving with Awareness

Rarely do we bring our attention to the actual experience of what we are doing.  Most of the time we are thinking about something else when we are moving, most of the time what we are thinking is something we’ve thought before, probably many times, and more often than not, the act if thinking about it is increasing the stress we feel.

Once we have set an intention and begun to act there is really nothing else to think about other than noticing what we do and adjusting – but that requires little actual thinking.  At the same time, if we don’t put our awareness somewhere, it will probably fall back into these old patterns of thinking.

The best use of awareness is to experience what we are actually doing.  Right now, do something simple, like pick up a cup and take a sip, or scratch your head, or walk over and turn on a light.  Notice your experience of moving – release any thoughts that intrude, don’t follow them.  Let your attention be with your experience of moving – your feet changing pressure on the floor, your hips and legs, how your abdomen moves or is carried along, the pressure on what you are sitting on, your arms and chest and back, how your head subtly moves as you do whatever you are doing.

My guess is that was different than your normal experience.  What is it like to notice what you are doing?  Many find it intriguing, if not enjoyable.  The blizzard of thoughts may not have subsided yet, but they will the more you practice this.

This is basically what all the current hoo-hah about Mindfulness is about – bringing your attention to your actual sensory experience of doing whatever you are doing.  The reason there is so much hoo-hah is that it really does, oddly, calm you down, decrease stress and pain, and you do whatever you are doing better.

Doing whatever you do with awareness makes you happier.  Pretty weird idea, but it’s relatively easy so you may as well try it out.

There are many forms that teach bringing awareness to what we do – meditation, yoga, pilates, tai chi, and Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lessons are a few.  But the best place to practice moving with awareness is Whatever You are Doing.

Whatever you do, when you’ve done all that can be done with thinking about it (which most often isn’t much more than deciding where and how to start), bring your attention to your experience of doing it, to the feeling of moving.  While picking up the cup and taking a sip, scratching your head, walking over to turn on a light, working out, driving to work, turning on the computer, answering text’s and emails, talking to a friend or someone where you work – whatever you do, experience the movement of it, in detail.

You will not only find that you move better and do whatever you do more skillfully, but that you enjoy the doing of it, and the respite from the mostly fruitless, and constant, thinking.  It’s really simple, just experience what you do as you do it.

Gail Gustafson – Private Sessions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you are looking for rehabilitation after injury, increase in athletic ability or creating greater movement ease in life, Gail will create a session especially for your needs.  Each session will actively use: awareness and movement, your own body weight or dynamic spring resistance.   Private sessions help build strength, resiliency, energy, ease in motion, vitality, spatial awareness and athletic excellence.  Please Contact Gail to schedule.

Skaters
Unfettered Movement for articles & classes
Meditation – Gail integrates movement, awareness & meditation in courses & retreats

Jeff Bickford – Private Sessions

The work I do is called Functional Integration and is part of the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education®. I use gentle touch, movement, and verbal cues to communicate directly with the sensory-motor areas of your nervous system, helping you learn more effective self-organization. It is your brain and nervous system – not your muscles – that determine the health of your posture, the ease and comfort of your movement and the extent of your flexibility.

This method integrates movement with thinking, sensing, and feeling. It can improve posture, breathing, and self-healing, increase energy, and heighten organic learning and self-reliance. It is used around the world by athletes, performers, martial artists, and people who simply want to do everyday activities without pain to enhance movement ability, control, range, and flexibility. It helps people with pain, injury, and movement limitations; it can help alleviate feelings of stress and tension and lead to a greater sense of well-being.

Please Email Jeff with questions or for scheduling

The Feldenkrais Method® at Unfettered Movement
Off Ice Training – Balanced whole body training for cohesive stability & clarity on ice®

Awareness Through Movement Lessons®

Please download or at least read: How to do Awareness Through Movement Lessons.

These lessons are not exercises they are movement practices.  How you do them, how you bring awareness to your experience, will determine what you get from them. If you have any health problems please consult with your health care practitioner before doing any of these lessons.  Though they are very gentle, some lessons may not be beneficial for you.

QUICK LESSONS
Free lessons you can do most anywhere in 10′ or less
click the speaker icon to listen, or right click / ctrl click for more options 

Releasing Tension in Your Neck, Upper Back, and Shoulders  This lesson is to help release the tension in your upper back, neck, and shoulders.  If you do the movements slowly, without pushing or straining, you will feel better after doing them, and you’ll be learning to move with better integration so over time, you’ll have less tension.

Sitting Comfortably  Many of us find ourselves becoming uncomfortable when we sit for long.  This is often caused by not sitting in such a way that you have the support of your pelvis and spine.  If you do the movements slowly, without pushing or straining, you will find yourself sitting more easily, with greater comfort.

 

FREE SAMPLE FULL-LENGTH LESSONS
You can try these free downloads to find out if this format works for you.

click the speaker icon to listen, or right click / ctrl click for more options

Returning Movement to the Base of the Neck (A6) This lesson brings awareness to the area where upper back and spine meet the base of the neck.  It can help in finding balance while standing and walking and help connect the movement of your arms to the movement of the spine.

Jaw, Neck, and Pelvis – Turning Head (C2b)  This lesson integrates the movements of your jaw, neck, spine, and pelvis to free the movement of your jaw as it moves from side to side.

Circling the Top of the Head (A19)  This lesson brings awareness to the relationship of head, spine, and pelvis, integrates movement of the neck with spine and pelvis, and for many people helps locate their head over their spine and pelvis resulting in freedom from neck and upper back pain.

 

FULL-LENGTH LESSONS to PURCHASE

These are mp3 audio recordings of Awareness Through Movement Lessons that vary in length from 40′ to 55′ long. When you purchase the lesson(s), you will then be guided through a process to download them onto your computer – you can then play them back on your computer or load them onto your smart phone or other device.
Please note, the link you get when you purchase a lesson must be used within two days.
Please note, the link may get filtered to your junk mail – check it!



ORGANIZING YOUR BACK, NECK, LEGS & PELVIS FOR
GREATER FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT 

Flexion of the Trunk (A1)
Flexion is one of the primary movements of the trunk and is key to good posture, walking, running, and balance. This lesson helps to reorganize how you flex your trunk and integrates you from head to pelvis. It is also very good for releasing tight back muscles. As always, if you have any particular back problems, consult with a health care practitioner before doing this lesson!
Price: $10.00
Simple Flexion (A1b)
This simple lesson of integrating the movements of flexing the trunk and spine can have profound effects on your sense of balance and your experience of being supported by the ground.
Price: $10.00
Tilting Bent Legs with Triangle Arms (A2)
Twisting, flexing, and extending your spine can result in unwinding tension in your torso giving you greater suppleness.
Price: $10.00
Tilting Crossed Bent Legs with Triangle Arms (A3)
This is a surprising lesson that uses alternate movement of lower abdomen and chest to release your diaphragm, ribs, and spine and later differentiation of the movement of your eyes, head, and pelvis to further release chest and spine. You will feel a difference in your ribs and spine if you do this lesson gently!
Price: $10.00
Carriage of the Head (A4)
This lesson brings a new sense of how your head can rest comfortably on your spine and bring greater ease to the movements of your neck and upper back. (This lesson is done laying upon your stomach.)
Price: $10.00
Head to Knee with Pushup Arms (A5)
This lesson is done on your stomach and works with folding, rotating, and twisting your trunk. The result is surprising and you may find your chest opening and your head riding more easily on your spine.
Price: $10.00
Returning Movement to the Base of the Neck (A6)
This lesson brings awareness to the area where upper back and spine meet the base of the neck. It can help in finding balance while standing and walking and help connect the movement of your arms to the movement of the spine.
Price: $10.00
Connecting Through the Diagonals (A7)
This lesson will leave you feeling connected through your trunk into your arms and legs bringing greater ease and freedom to walking, reaching, running, and doing everyday tasks. Many report it helps them with problems resulting from an unstable sacrum. The lesson is a recording from a class on 6/17/12 (the very first words on the recording ask you to walk and notice your experience of walking).
Price: $10.00
Preparing to Crawl (A8)
Being able to crawl skillfully is essential for being able to stand, walk, and run. Really, it is essential for doing any complex movement well! This lesson helps you to organize your pelvis, shoulders and spine so that you can move fluidly and easily.
Price: $10.00
On the Cheek (A9)
This lesson is done kneeling with your cheek on the floor. It is very good for connecting your neck to your spine and for bringing awareness to the area between your shoulder blades. Do not do the lesson unless you can be comfortable in this unusual position.
Price: $10.00
Simple Side Bending (A10)
Sidebending is a fundamental movement of your spine, it underlies and supports most of your basic movements and postures, from functionally integrating the use of your arms to walking and running. Many of us gradually restrict the side bending of our spines which over time results in damage to hands, wrists, shoulders, knees, hips, feet and ankles....!! This is a recording of a class on 2/12/16.
Price: $10.00
Extend, Rotate, Look at Hand Reaching Overhead (A11)
his lesson is a recording of a class on 7-13-12 (there is some background noise of cars, etc). It integrates a primary connection we use in many ways – a lower body push supporting an upper body reach. The lesson helps free the movement of your back, ribs, and neck and integrate them to help you have greater freedom of movement. The lesson starts with you standing.
Price: $10.00
Head to Knee with Pushup Arm (A12)
This is a recording of a class on 8/2/12. Many of us tend to have shoulders that round forward with our heads forward of our spines - it comes from many of the things we do, such as spend time in front of computers. This lesson will help to free the movement of your shoulder blades and upper back, help to have greater extension in your spine, and bring your head over your spine. It is done mostly in a prone position.
Price: $10.00
On Stomach, Lifting Head, Leg, and Arms (A13)
This lesson is done on your stomach and is relatively difficult. It can help you to release muscle tension and integrate movement in your back, spine and neck, and free the movement of your ribs and breathing. Do not do this lesson without consulting your healthcare practitioner if you are experiencing difficulties with your neck, shoulders, or lower back.
Price: $10.00
On Stomach, Tilting Bent Legs with Pushup Arms (A14)
This lesson can profoundly change how you carry your head over your spine and help to correct 'computer posture' - back rounded, chest retreated, head forward of spine. As always, proceed gently with awareness. The lesson is 32' long.
Price: $10.00
Extension on Stomach, Translating Head (A15)
Most of us find ourselves slumping most of the time but don't really know how to change because few people ever learned to sit up comfortably. This lesson helps you learn to more easily extend your spine and sit and stand vertically with greater ease. It is also a great way to comfortably extend further into sphinx or cobra for those who practice yoga. It is 32' long and works well with lesson A16.
Price: $10.00
Hips, Heels and Shoulders (A16)
This lesson improves the organization of your shoulders and arms and integrates them with the movement of your back, ribs, head, and chest. It simultaneously works to lengthen the backs of your legs and integrate the use of your arms and shoulders with pelvis and legs. The lesson is 40' long.
Price: $10.00
Freeing Your Spine; Looking Up While Sitting (A17)
This lesson is done sitting in a chair and helps to integrate the movement of your head with your whole spine and pelvis. It is a wonderful way to free up your upper back, neck, and shoulders.
Price: $10.00
Freeing Your Spine; Side Bending While Sitting (A18)
This lesson is done while sitting in a chair and helps to integrate your spine, head, and pelvis by exploring side bending. It has a wonderful effect on posture and will change your experience of walking in unexpected ways.
Price: $10.00

 

BRINGING MOVEMENT TO YOUR STERNUM & RIBS
TO FREE YOUR BACK AND RELIEVE JOINT PAIN

Returning Movement to your Sternum (B1)
Restricted movement in your chest prevents movement of your ribs which often results in neck and lower back pain and dysfunctional use of the joints of the arms and legs. Returning movement to your sternum can open up locked up emotional experiences, so proceed with care.
Price: $10.00
On Side, Sternum Becoming Flexible (B2)
Freeing your sternum can help to reduce the stress on all your joints as it helps to distribute the stresses of movement throughout your skeletal system. It can also open locked-up emotional experiences, so proceed with care.
Price: $10.00
On Back, Twisting and Moving Your Sternum (B3)
This is a lesson recorded on 6/8/12. This is in many ways an easier lesson then the previous two and can help free the movement of your head, neck and pelvis, effecting how you stand, walk, and do most of the activities of life.
Price: $10.00
On Back, Twisting and Moving Your Sternum 2 (B4)
Restricted movement in your chest prevents movement of your ribs and spine which restricts breathing and soon results in neck and lower back pain and dysfunctional use of the joints of the arms and legs. This lesson is a variation of B3 and is a recording of a class on 10.17.14.
Price: $10.00

 

FREEING YOUR JAW, MOUTH & NECK

Tongue, Palate and Eyes (C1)
This lesson is a very safe and effective way to move into the process of freeing the movement of your jaw and neck.
Price: $10.00

Jaw, Neck, and Pelvis – Nodding Head (C2a)
This lesson integrates the movements of your jaw, neck, spine, and pelvis to free the movement of your jaw as it opens and closes.
Price: $10.00

Jaw, Neck, and Pelvis – Turning Head (C2b)
This lesson integrates the movements of your jaw, neck, spine, and pelvis to free the movement of your jaw as it moves from side to side.
Price: $10.00

The Relationship of Jaw, Tongue, Neck, and Pelvis (C3)
This lesson can help you bring attention to the movements of your jaw and tongue and how they relate to freedom of movement of your neck and pelvis.
Price: $10.00

Differentiating the Movements of the Face (C4)
Some of us hold a great deal of tension in our face – eyes, jaw, cheeks and mouth. This effects the movements of one’s neck and hips, which can result in a tight, sore neck and back as well as long term degradation of the joints of legs, hips, spine, neck, and shoulders. Freeing our face frees movement throughout our body.
Price: $10.00

Sucking (C7)
Coordinating the actions of sucking works to release lips, tongue, and jaw which in turn effects our necks and muscle tension in the deep belly and pelvic floor. It is well worth exploring.
Price: $10.00

Tongue, Teeth, Jaw and Sucking (C8)
This lesson continues from the last with further exploration of the relationship of tongue, teeth, jaw, neck, spine and pelvis through the actions of sucking. Please try it, if need be, in a room by yourself.
Price: $10.00


COORDINATING YOUR FEET, 
LEGS, PELVIS, & SPINE

Frog Legs (D1)
This is a great lesson to help integrate the movement of legs, spine, and hips.
Price: $10.00

Getting to Know the Hip Joints (D2)
This is a deceptively simple lesson that can be a great help in releasing tight ham strings to provide greater ease when standing or walking.
Price: $10.00

Spinal Chain; asymmetrical and rocking (D3)
We often forget that we are held up in gravity by the pressure of our feet against the ground; this lesson helps to re-establish our ability to press our feet against the ground and connects that pressure all the way through our skeleton.
Price: $10.00

Spinal Chain; Arms Reaching (D4)
This lesson helps find greater balance in standing and walking as well as integrating arm use. It provides the grounding that spinal chain brings as well as connecting movements of the upper back and neck to the reaching of one’s arms.
Price: $10.00

Painting with the Feet while on your Stomach (D5)
This lesson helps integrate movements of your legs and hips with movements of your spine and ribs.
Price: $10.00

Circling the Feet while on your Stomach (D6)
This lesson is similar to ‘Painting with the Feet’, with a bit different approach.
Price: $10.00

Toes and Feet (D7)
Doing this lesson can lead to the surprising discovery that bringing greater awareness to the movements of your toes and feet can lead to greater vitality and calmer energy.
Price: $10.00

Standing on Crossed Legs (D8)
A great lesson to help with balance and coordination. It also functions as a tonic for your entire organization for walking.
Price: $10.00

Hips and Trunk (D9)
A good lesson to integrate the movements of legs, spine, and hips. Before doing this lesson it is best to start with a less advanced lesson, like Frog Legs.
Price: $10.00

Hips and Trunk, Holding Knee (D10)
A continuation of D9, Hips and Trunk, this lesson brings a great deal of side bending and arching movement to your spine, helping to free the movements of sternum, ribs, pelvis and legs.
Price: $10.00

Straightening the Leg by Retreating the Hip (D11)
This lesson is done on your side and will help integrate the relationship of legs and spine. It can result in a great feeling of openness across the upper back.
Price: $10.00

Sexy Legs (D12)
This lesson frees the movement of your legs by increasing the range of motion of your sternum, upper back, shoulder blades and rib cage. Quite often we think of our legs as stopping at our hip sockets, which may be true ‘anatomically’ but isn’t true functionally. The more we sense the relationship of our legs and trunk the better integrated our movements will be.
Price: $10.00
Flexible Knees (D13)
Knee pain is often caused by restricted movement of one’s spine, ribs, abdomen, and sternum. This lesson frees movement in those areas so that your knees can move with greater ease. Take note that much of the lesson takes place on your hands and knees, if you have an issues with your wrists it might be best to choose another lesson.
Price: $10.00
On Stomach, Sole of Foot to Ceiling (D14)
This is a deceptively simple lesson and can have far reaching results, integrating your whole body simply by bringing attention to precise movements of your foot.
Price: $10.00
Spine Chain Rotating the Upper Back (D15)
This lesson will give you a much greater awareness of your upper back in the area between your shoulder blades and higher as well as bring greater freedom of movement to your ribs, sternum and spine.
Price: $10.00

 

FREEING YOUR BREATHING

SeeSaw Breathing (E1)
If you find that your breathe is shallow, or frequently find yourself holding your breathe, this lesson can be very helpful. It works with the parts of ourselves that move while we breathe. It does not teach a ‘right’ way of breathing, but creates the potential of breathing freely in all situations.
Price: $10.00
Radial Breathing (E2)
During periods of stress our breathing can be thrown off and lead to disconnected movement. This lesson helps connect movement with the action of breathing, reintegrating a way of breathing that is fundamental in all healthy movement.
Price: $10.00
Breathing Volumes (E3)
This lesson brings you in touch with the movements of breathing so that your nervous system becomes better able to adapt your breathing to whatever situation you find yourself in.
Price: $10.00
Breathing - Abdomen and Chest (E4)
This lesson is a good follow up to See Saw Breathing (E1). It works with the parts of ourselves that move while we breathe and explores breathing in different ways. It does not teach a ‘right’ way of breathing, but creates the potential of breathing freely in all situations. It is a recording of a class on 10/10/14.
Price: $10.00

 

IMPROVING YOUR USE OF ARMS & SHOULDERS

Arm and Shoulder Comfort (F1)
Distress in arms and shoulders usually comes from isolating arm and hand movements in one’s arms and hands – which though sounding logical works best in machinery. This lesson helps you learn to involve your whole body in movements of your hands and arms which leads to greater arm and shoulder comfort.
Price: $10.00
Sitting, Turning Around Hand (F2)
Another lesson that approaches the distress in arms and shoulders that can come from isolating arm and hand movements. This lesson is done sitting, preferably on a bench or a flat bottomed chair. It helps you learn to allow chest, ribs, spine, and sternum to move with the movements of your arms and hands.
Price: $10.00
Hand to Mouth, Mouth to Hand (F3)
This lesson uses the basic function of bringing your hand to your mouth to focus on how the neck, spine, and belly are involved in movements of the hand and arm. It can relieve tension in the upper neck and between the shoulder blades as well.
Price: $10.00
Working with the Dominant Hand (F4)
I first used this lesson to help people who had trouble sleeping – in fact, it’s a great lesson to do in bed, as the movements are fairly minimal. It can help calm your whole nervous system down while helping you learn better use of your hands, arms, and shoulders.
Price: $10.00
Reaching Through One Arm to Roll from Back to Side (F5)
This lesson is a recording of a class on 7/20/12. The recording starts a little late, so begin the lesson laying comfortably on your back noticing your sense of your legs, pelvis, and spine. The recording begins as you bring awareness to your sense of your arms. This lesson helps integrate the use of your arms with your shoulders, spine, pelvis, and legs and can have a great effect on how you integrate arm use with spine, pelvis and legs during your day. It will also help you learn to roll from back to side with greater ease. It is an advanced lesson, so if you choose to do it, be careful not to push!
Price: $10.00
On side, Primary Movements of the Shoulder(F6)
Many of us experience tension, reduced movement, and sometimes pain in our shoulders, collar bones, shoulder blades and upper arms. This lesson guides you through increasingly novel and complex movements that help to reorganize movement and unwind tension in shoulders and arms.
Price: $10.00
Sitting and Reaching with Mobile and Stable Scapula (F7)
Many people experience pain and tension around their shoulder blades, mid back and neck. Muscle strain and tension in this area is often caused by not stabilizing shoulder blades with functional use of the arms. This lesson helps you learn to stabilize your scapulae when using your arms to prevent strain. It is a good follow up to F6.
Price: $10.00
On Side, Circling the Arm (F8)
Integrating the movements of your arm and shoulder with your trunk and pelvis reduces the stress on your shoulders. This lesson will improve your use of your arms and shoulders and leave you feeling relaxed and supple in your whole body.
Price: $10.00

 

WALKING AND RUNNING

Integrating Movements of Head and Pelvis (G1)
This lesson is done sitting on a chair or stool and is from a class recorded on 8/24/12. Integration of the movements of your head and pelvis are essential for walking and running well. After doing the lesson begin to bring the movements you have explored into your movement as you walk and run - you'll be surprised at how much better you feel!
Price: $10.00

Legs, Hips, and Trunk (G2)
This lesson will help you integrate the movement of your legs with your pelvis and trunk, which will decrease the stress you place on your hips, knees, ankles and feet when walking and running. The lesson starts with some standing reference moves. The lesson is from a class recorded on 8/31/12.
Price: $10.00

Twisting to Integrate Head, Trunk, and Pelvis (G3)
This lesson helps to integrate the movement of your head, trunk and pelvis. Twisting is essential to walking and running with greater fluidity and ease and helps to decrease injuries. The lesson is a recording of a class on 9/14/12.
Price: $10.00

Eyes, Neck, and Pelvis, Turning Your Head (G4)
This lesson helps you learn to rotate your neck and head freely by differentiating the relationship of your eyes, neck, and pelvis. This is very important for walking and running because without this freedom in our neck we are unable to rotate our trunk and pelvis when we walk or run, which is essential for well integrated movement. It is a recording of a class on 9/28/12.
Price: $10.00

Additional lessons that will be very useful for walking and running:
Returning Movement to the Base of the Neck (A6)
Connecting Through the Diagonals (A7)

 

WORKING WITH YOUR VOICE

Equalizing the Nostrils (H1)
This lesson will not only change how you experience the tone, quality, timbre, and resonance of your voice but will help to open your sinuses and change how you experience your head organized over your spine. It can help people with jaw or neck tension, sinus problems, or be a way to change how you experience speaking. For this lesson you will need a chair and a place nearby to lay on the floor, and perhaps some kleenex as your nasal passages will be clearing. You will be toning out loud so be where you feel comfortable making sounds. (35')
Price: $10.00

Breathing and Modulating (H2)
In this lesson you learn different ways of breathing so your breathe flows easily and different ways to modulate sound so you can speak without straining. After doing it you will notice greater ease of breathing and speaking*.
Price: $10.00

*Breathing and Modulating (H2) is a variation of a lesson from a series called Vocal Integration with the Feldenkrais Method by Richard Corbeil, GCFP.  I highly recommend it – it can be purchased on line from Feldenkrais Resources.

 

FREEING YOUR EYES FOR BETTER VISION AND MOVEMENT

Open Focus, Open Attention (I1)
This is essentially a guided meditation that can bring you to a greater awareness of how you can see the world with different eyes. For some it can change a habit of isolation from the world and the anxiety that comes with that.
Price: $10.00

Eyes, neck and pelvis nodding head (I2)
This lesson is a recording of a class on 6-1-12. It integrates movement of the head with the pelvis and uses differentiated movements of the eyes to create greater freedom of movement of head, neck, and eyes.
Price: $10.00

Eyes, Head and Pelvis - Turning Head (I3)
This lesson helps you relax the muscles around your eyes and free the movement of your neck, back, and pelvis. It is a recording of a class on 1/11/13.
Price: $10.00

Rolling Hands and Palming Eyes (I4)
This is a very simple lesson but has a great effect on the integration of your upper back and shoulders with your spine and pelvis; and it leaves your eyes very relaxed. It is from a class on 1/18/13.
Price: $10.00

Eye, Head, and Pelvis Differentiation and Integration (I5)
This lesson helps you learn to differentiate the movements of your head and eyes which frees your eye movements, relax's your eyes, and releases upper back and neck tension. Many people report seeing with greater clarity and experiencing greater freedom of movement. From a class recorded on 1/25/13.
Price: $10.00

Eyes, Hands, and Breathing (I6)
This simple lesson can deeply relax your eyes and free the movement of your upper chest, back, and shoulders. It is from a class on 2/1/13.
Price: $10.00

Eyes, Palate, and Tongue (I7)
This lesson can bring deep relaxation to your eyes, sinuses, inside your mouth and your neck and upper back. It will show you clearly how habitual tension in these areas effects your movement and overall tension and provides a way to learn to release tension in these areas. It is a recording of a class on 2/8/13.
Price: $10.00

Sitting, Turning Eyes, Head and Shoulders (I8)
This lesson is done side sitting on the floor leaning on one hand with one knee bent to the front and the other to the back - if you think this would be uncomfortable or you have any problems with your low back it is fine to sit on the edge of a chair. The lesson can help free the movement of your neck, upper back, and ribs and is wonderfully relaxing for your eyes. It is a recording of a class on 2/15/13.
Price: $10.00

Rolling Hands and Palming Eyes (I4), Eyes, Palate, and Tongue (I7) and Eyes, Hands, and Breathing (I6) are variations of lessons from a series called “Seeing Clearly; A Feldenkrais Exploration of Vision” with David Webber, GCFP.  They can be purchased on line from Feldenkrais Resources.

 


About Jeff Bickford

I’ve a long training in functional analysis of movement, it’s relation to emotional and mental activity, and how to better integrate how we move in life.

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner
This is a four year training that requires 20 hours of advanced training a year to maintain certification

Certified Pilates Instructor

Master Certification Neuro Linguistic Programming

With: 30 years as a professional dancer – 20 of that as choreographer/artistic director and teacher, extensive training in Movement Fundamentals and Effort-Space Dynamics, and training in several forms of karate, qi gong, tai chi, and boxing.

if you wish to read more:
I began a practice of awareness and movement while training to be a professional dancer with Alwin Nikolai in New York City.  The Nikolai theory and technique provided a training that lead to an almost magical articulation of movement and intention.  It had roots reaching back to the explosion of awareness that took place in Europe and Russia in the early 20th century that fostered movement and theater geniuses like Rudolph Laban and Mikael Chekov.  It was a training primarily directed to creating extraordinary movement performers and creators; I realized it was incredibly valuable to anyone wishing to learn to move with greater skill, ease, and articulation.

I continued my exploration and development of awareness and movement while working as a choreographer, director, lighting and sound designer, performer, and teacher over the next 30 years.  During this time I entered into in-depth study of Rudolf Laban’s movement and space philosophy as well as Irmgard Bartenieff’s theories of the fundamentals of movement that underlie all experience.  I wove these together with Nikolai theory to train potent performers and as tools in the creative process of generating works for the stage.

At the same time I began adapting these tools to use with people in other walks of life to help them learn how to be more awake and present in their lives and how to move in ways that worked better for them.

To broaden my ability to work with people I entered into a study of Creative Causality Theory with it’s creator, Dr. Charles Johnston.  During this time I was part of a think tank involved in the further articulation of his theory, which involved viewing all life processes, from personality development to product development as creative processes that essentially went through the same steps in their growth.

I began to encounter people running up against blocks in their thinking and emotional lives.  In an effort to gain greater understanding of the structures underlying thinking, feeling, intention and outcome I embarked on a study of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, receiving Master Certification.  This lead to a degree of ability to help people move through those blocks.  It was a useful tool, but did not sufficiently address the concrete reality of sensory experience.

The Pilates Method presented a relatively simple method to give people an experience of greater stability in their embodied lives.  I was certified by Jane Erskin, one of the early developers of advanced training in the method.  While pilates offered useful tools, it had many shortcomings, even when used in combination with Movement Fundamentals, Laban and Nikolai Theories.

By this time my interest in awareness and movement had broadened to include work with people from all walks of life; performers and athletes wishing to continue to improve as they aged,  people who had suffered strokes wishing to regain their abilities, business people running into walls in their thinking,  people slowly loosing functions as they aged, people involved in focused spiritual practices, and people wanting to develop greater awareness and mindfulness in all areas of their lives. This lead me to a four year study of the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education.

The Feldenkrais Method® provided a way to bring the tools that I was drawing upon together.  As a method, it’s primary rule is to use whatever works to help people learn more functionally useful ways of organizing themselves to fulfill their intentions in life.

Unfettered Movement offers Awareness Through Movement® classes and private Functional Integration® sessions.

Functional Integration® for Rehabilitation

What Functional Integration Is For
Functional Integration (FI) teaches your body and mind to work well together.  FI works with the habits of movement that have caused damage to your system over time.  Frequently we are unaware of the effects of habitual patterns of body & mind until the damage is done, and we are recovering from surgery or injury.   It is our old habits that prevent or slow the healing process.  FI unties the physical & mental blocks of your old habits, freeing you to move with ease, efficiency & coordination.

How Functional Integration Works
The movements you do are directed by your nervous system.  Old movement habits are actually neural maps created by repetition.  This is similar to a path worn in the grass by repeated use.  Functional Integration uses gentle movement with hands-on or verbal guidance to help your  nervous system release habitual patterns & create new pathways for more effective action.  While exercise is about moving strong, these lessons are about moving smart. You no longer have to take the worn out path that causes pain, instead you learn to move with ease in everything from the most ordinary activities to high performance sports.

Who Functional Integration Lessons Can Help
These lesson can help anyone whose ability to move has been restricted by aging, injury or illness.  Injuries including whiplash, fractures, sprains and ligament tears, as well as chronic or acute pain of the back, neck, shoulder, hip, legs or knee can benefit.  Patients with illnesses and conditions that limit movement such as stroke, brain injury, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy find relief from pain, regain lost function and improve balance, flexibility and coordination.  People who have arthritis learn to move in ways that don’t stress the effected joints so they find more comfortable and safer ways to do what they want to do.

Functional Integration Lessons can help you improve virtually anything you do.  Daily functions like rolling over in bed, reaching for something on a shelf, sitting comfortably, or getting up from the floor, a bed, or a chair, become easy.  You will find that activities which you wish to do, such as hiking, running, skiing, horseback riding, skating, playing a musical instrument or dancing, become attainable without pain.

During the Lesson
These lessons are done fully clothed in different positions – lying on your back, on your stomach, your side, sitting, or standing.  The positions we use depend upon what is comfortable for you and what needs to be learned.  Do not endure or push through pain or strain – both are counter productive to the lesson.  It is best to bring a relaxed attention to your experience as the lesson progresses.

How Functional Integration Works With Other Therapies
These lessons will help you integrate the work that Medical Doctors, Chiropractors, and Physical, Cranio Sacral, or Massage Therapists are doing with you. It is essential that we integrate the changes we experience into our whole system so that we heal thoroughly.  Functional Integration trains you to integrate the changes in your body & mind so that the results are long lasting.

After the lesson
You will be given specific movements to practice during the time between lessons.  If you do not understand the instructions, please tell the practitioner so they can communicate more clearly.

Quite simply the best way to keep your brain and body learning after a lesson is to bring awareness to your experience of movement during your day.  A good way to apply what you learn is to ask yourself questions while doing specific everyday activites, such as:

*Do you feel relaxed and supported while driving or sitting at your desk?

*Are your legs, pelvis and trunk moving with you as you reach for something on a shelf?

*Are you keeping your back extended and long as you pick something up from the floor?

*Is your whole skeleton involved as you get up from a chair?

*Are you supported as you bend over the sink to wash your face?

*Are your trunk and pelvis moving as you walk?

Movement and emotion are closely linked and some people experience an upsurge of emotions in the days after a lesson.  This is a normal part of the unwinding of old habits and tensions and it is important to experience them but not be overwhelmed. If you experience an upsurge of emotions, please do mention it to the practitioner.

Copyright© Unfettered Movement, Jeff Bickford, GCFP, 3-22-11

Unfettered Movement offers Awareness Through Movement® & Functional Integration® Feldenkrais Method® in Colorado & at Peak Peformance PT

Sitting Comfortably

‘Sit up straight!’.  ‘Don’t slouch!’.  ‘Suck your belly in!’.

For many of us, sitting is not something we’re very good at.  Odd, isn’t it?  What can be so hard about sitting?  It’s not brain surgery, you just put your butt on a chair and sit.  But often it’s uncomfortable if not downright painful.  And alot of work if we’re making a momentary effort to ‘sit up straight’ without the support of the back of the chair, pillows, an ottoman for our feet.

What makes it hard?  Is it that we’re lazy?  Weak?  Bad people?

Maybe, but there is a much more simple and basic answer:  we don’t know how.  ‘Don’t know how???’  ‘Butt, chair, sit – simple!’.  Not so simple.  But easy to learn*.

(*It’s always good to check with your health care provider before trying out new movements, particularly if you are experiencing chronic pain.)

Sitting comfortably requires a functioning relationship between all the bones and muscles that hold you up.  This relationship is governed by your nervous system.  Your nervous system doesn’t automatically know how to do this – it must learn how.

Some of us never learned, for various reasons, and many of us once knew how but injury, illness, or years of bad habits have caused our nervous systems to forget how to sit comfortably.

Consider these ideas:

– Spines are not straight.  We have curves in our spine and they are there for a reason.

– Except for very particular cases, we should not ‘suck our belly in’.  Let your abdomen be relaxed.

-Ergonomically correct chairs will not automatically make sitting easy and comfortable.

– Don’t tuck your chin in, pull your shoulders back, or stick your chest out.  It will just hurt.  And you look silly.

– ‘Noticing’ is not judging or analyzing.  It is just noticing.  Noticing is useful in and of itself.

– Stretching and straining as you move is an indication that you don’t know how to do what you are doing.

Don’t believe these ideas, just consider them – they may be at odds with what you’ve heard or been told to do.  Has what you’ve been told worked so far?

Here are some things you can try that may help you re-learn, or finally learn, how to sit up:

Sit on a chair, preferably one with a firm, flat seat.  Sit near the front edge with your feet on the floor.  Don’t sit ‘correctly’, just sit the way you’d sit if your mom and dad weren’t nagging away inside your head.

Notice how you are sitting.  Notice how you contact the chair.  Do you sit more on one side than the other?  Notice your breathing, where your head sits in relation to your spine, your sense of your chest and ribs, your belly, your lower back, your feet, how far apart your legs are.  Are you relaxed, tight, numb?

Find your sit-bones.  (‘Where did I put them?’)  They are on the bottom of your butt.  You are sitting on them.  If you can’t find them, tip to one side a bit, lift one side of your butt up, slide your hand under your butt, and sit on your hand.  You’ll probably feel a bone there at the top of the back of your leg where it meets your butt, more towards the center than the sides.  You have two of them.  Now get your hands off your butt.

Notice the pressure, or weight, you feel on your sit bones.  Are you more on one than the other?  Are you sitting towards the front of them or are you sitting behind them?  Just notice.

Try these rounding and arching movements:

First, round your back and look down like you are trying to see something on the floor between your feet.  Then return to sitting up.  Try this several times.  Keep it easy and relaxed – do not stretch or strain.  I repeat:  do not stretch or strain.

As your round your back, round your whole back.  Try to make a nice easy curve in your whole back, from your tailbone to the top of your head.  You might notice that doing this causes you to roll towards the back of your sit bones, tipping the top of your pelvis backwards.  Let your belly button go backwards, your chest move backwards, your shoulders just hang relaxed.

As you return to sitting up, notice that you come back on top of your sit bones – you might actually press them down against the seat of the chair.  Let your belly and chest return forward, your head come back on top your spine, your eyes look forward.

Now arch your back a little and look up.  Comfortably!  Do not stretch or strain!  As you arch your back to look up, curve your whole back, push your sit bones against the chair, let your belly come forward, your chest rise, your chin lift up (don’t just bend in your neck – let your neck be a continuation of your spine).  Then return to sitting in your ‘neutral’ position.

Now round then arch your back a few times, looking down, then up, letting your whole spine move, and your ribs, pelvis, and chest.  Notice what if feels like, notice if you’re breathing, notice if you are able to move within the range you are comfortable in or if you’re trying to prove something to someone (where are they?).

Try bending to the side:

Tilt your head a little to one side, as if cocking your head to listen, your ear going towards your shoulder.  Return, then go to the other side.  Notice which direction is easiest.

Tilt your head to the easy side, return.  Repeat this several times.  Notice what the rest of your self does, or can do, to make that easier.

Now add tilting your shoulder down to that side along with your head.  What do you do with your spine and ribs?

Sit in neutral.  Slip your hand under under your butt on the same side as you were tilting your head towards and find your sit-bone.  Gently lift your sit bone up, so you bring that sit bone up off the chair, tilting your pelvis to the other side.  You’ll notice right off that unless you help a bit by bending your trunk to the side your arm is not strong enough to lift your pelvis by itself.  As you do this, what do your ribs do?  You might notice that the same side shoulder begins to drop down as your hip lifts up.  How about your head?

Now remove your hand, then lift your sit bone as you tilt your head and shoulder towards it.  Voila!  Side bend!  Each time you repeat it keep spreading out the work so your whole spine is involved and your ribs are moving – even under your arm pits.

Try it on the other side.  Start gentle, small.

Now sit with both sit bones touching.  Gently bend to one side then the other, letting your whole spine, head, and pelvis be involved.

Turning your head and trunk:

Sit comfortably.  Close your eyes.  Feel your eyes resting in their sockets.

Roll your eyes to one side, then the other.  Repeat this several times.

Open your eyes, and turn your head to look first to one side, then the other.

Turn your head to one side and pause there.  Roll your eyes side to side, gently.  Return to turning your head side to side.

Turn your head to the other side and pause there.  Roll your eyes side to side, gently.  Return to turning your head side to side.

Now turn your head to the left, pause, look to the left, and leave your eyes looking to the left as you turn your head gently to the right a bit, then return, maintaining the look to the left.  Repeat.  Keep it small.

Try it to the other side.

Relax your eyes and turn your head to one side, letting your shoulders go along so the twist moves further down your spine.  How far down your spine do you notice yourself twisting?  Try it to one side a few times, then the other.

Turn head and shoulders to the right, pause there, and turn just your head back to center.  Now turn your head to the right as your bring your shoulders back to center.  Do this several times, rotating your head the opposite direction you’re turning your shoulders and spine.  (if you wish, you can add your eyes – either looking the direction your head is turning or the direction your shoulders are turning)  Keep it easy.  Try it to the other side.

These are the primary movements of our back and spine – rounding and arching, bending to the sides, rotating and twisting.  Do some of these movements from time to time.  Don’t make a program out of it, just try some out, easily, without any strain.  After a while you’ll begun to notice it’s easier to sit up.

Copyright© Unfettered Movement, Jeff Bickford, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, 2010

Unfettered Movement offers Awareness Through Movement® & Functional Integration® Feldenkrais Method® in Colorado & at Peak Peformance PT