Foundations of Learning: Understanding Development and Change

These notes are based on a seminar taught by Lawrence Wm. Goldfarb, CFP, Ph.D. This Feldenkrais Method® workshop was pre

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Foundations of Learning: Understanding Development and Change

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Foundations of Learning Understanding Development and Change

Notes for workshop presented by Lawrence Goldfarb, CFP, Ph.D. at the Bewegungszentrum in Innsbruck, Austria from February 7 through 14, 1993.

notes prepared by: Daniel Rosenfels & Lawrence Wm. Goldfarb

Published by: Mind In Motion PO Box 2778 Santa Cruz, CA 95063 Telephone: +1 (831) 459-8173 Fax: +1 (831) 459-8173 E-mail: [email protected] Please contact us for information about seminars and advanced trainings: © 1994 by Lawrence Wm. Goldfarb & Daniel Rosenfels. Revised edition, © 1997 by Lawrence Wm. Goldfarb & Daniel Rosenfels Taping done by Keith Johnson MP3 Conversion done by Jesse DeRooy Logo by Bruce Gordon Lee, Ice King Design. All rights reserved. No part of this printed or recorded material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior consent of the copyright owners. 

The terms Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America®.

Table of Contents INTRODUCTION





6 7





Lab 1—Movement observation



13 15




20 21

Lab 2B—Rolling again



24 26




31 34



Lab 3—SPIFFER analysis of coming to sitting LESSON 10—ROLLING TO SIDE-SIT

36 37



Lab 4—Teacher–Student–Angel. LESSON 11—SIDE-SIT TO HANDS & KNEES

39 41




45 49







Lab 5—Group consultation



Foundations of Learning



Introduction These notes are based on a seminar taught by Lawrence Wm. Goldfarb, CFP, Ph.D. This Feldenkrais Method® workshop was presented at the Bewegungszentrum in Innsbruck, Austria from 7 to 14 February 1993. Foundations of Learning was presented to a group that included physical and occupational therapists, teachers, doctors, Feldenkrais practitioners and trainees, and a martial artist. Short lectures, demonstrations, small group exercises and discussions augmented the experiential movement lessons. Based on many years of research, the lessons presented in the workshop offer a new way of thinking about motor development, one not limited to identifying basic patterns of movement along a linear sequence of developmental stages. Moving beyond this restrictive idea, the lessons invite you to explore the unfolding of developmental processes and to investigate what takes someone from one level of functioning to the next. These notes present Awareness Through Movement® lessons and lecture summaries as written by Daniel Rosenfels, one of the workshop participants. They were extensively edited and formatted for publication by Lawrence Goldfarb; Dainis Michel proofread them. Later, Laura Kern reviewed the editing job and made further corrections. The accompanying set of audio tapes was taped and edited by Keith Johnson. We are making these notes available assuming that the reader has experience with the Feldenkrais Method. Because the notes are meant to supplement the material presented on the audio tape set, the lessons are presented schematically. The tapes provide an example for the timing of instructions. Listening to the tapes is highly recommended, especially if you have limited experience with the Method. A few caveats: though we do not instruct the student to repeat the movements at each step of the lesson, each movement should be repeated several times. We have not identified most rests in the notes, though it is appropriate to rest often. Because we assume that you have experience with these lessons and will listen to the audio tapes, we do not include repeated warnings to proceed carefully. Remember to use these instructions as guidelines suggesting a direction in which to move rather than goal that must be achieved. Complex position directions are not repeated, we simply refer to the step in which those instructions were given.

Foundations of Learning


The workshop was taught in Austria, and since Danny wrote the notes for the participants, he included German translations of various technical terms. I have left these in the text.

Foundations of Learning


Introductory talk

In this workshop we will be investigating something fundamental about how humans learn, particularly how we learn to move. Finding that the path of learning meanders, we consider that learning may not require the exact recapitulation of a developmental sequence. We will take a systemic and dynamic approach to movement. This means looking at movement globally, rather than locally. It also means understanding movement from the point of view of ongoing change, rather than thinking of it in terms of positions and postures. 

Proposed modes of class interaction: 

§ Lectures and class discussion, focusing on presentation of conceptual models. These talks, whenever possible, will immediately follow a lesson or lab. (Please note: due to their length and personal nature, the discussions are not included in the tapes or notes.)


§ Labs, working in small groups to observe movement and apply ideas.

ATM lessons, with occasional pauses to look at one another.

Larry’s responsibilities as a teacher: 


Having knowledge & experience in the study of movement.


Preparing the structure of the course.


Creating a safe environment for learning.


Facilitating individual learning.


Learning from participants (and thereby setting an example as a learner).


Making sure we have fun.

The responsibilities of the workshop partipants: 


Participate fully.


Asking questions and letting the instructor know what you need.


Take care of self, respecting your own limits.


Make the work safe for each other in labs and discussions.


Making sure we have fun.

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This program is not a Feldenkrais training program, it will not make anyone a Feldenkrais practitioner. It is an introduction to Feldenkrais ideas and movement experiences. It is designed to teach participants about movement and learning. What you learn, however, is applicable to your work as therapists, doctors, or teachers.

Orientation of the course: this seminar is designed to improve whatever you already do. The material presented in this workshop is additive, not subtractive; that is to say, what you learn is meant to add to what you already know.

In therapeutic methods, orthopedic and neurological approaches have, historically, been separate. But development depends on changes in both structure and ability.

It is a mistake to think of the Feldenkrais Method (FM) as a pedagogical method only. Often the process is highlighted and the content ignored. Ignoring the mechanics of human movement is misguided because the constraints of physical laws and anatomy set the context in which we move. We must know what there is to learn, not just how we can learn.

Learning and development take place in a social situation. Children raised apart from human beings never develop fully upright posture or coherent language. Can we understand the changes we bring about in the context of social relationships?

Rice, Pasta, and Potatoes. When the kitchen is well stocked with the basics, you can cook a wide variety of cuisines by making only small changes in how you combine ingredients. In teaching, if you understand the basic components and strategies, you can apply them to many different skills and functional abilities.

Our challenge in facilitating movement is seeing what is not yet there, as well as what already is. We need to have an aesthetic sense of the harmony so that we know what can be present in a movement.

Foundations of Learning


Lesson 0—Investigating contact 1.

A long scan of contact with the floor.


Making and breaking contact with the floor. Rolling to one side and back, many times. When rolling to the side and back, notice how long it takes to “establish” your contact with the floor when you return to lying on your back. Do you perceive the change in sections, or all in one piece? Do you ever leave your contact with the floor?


What do adults “know” that babies don’t? How is their movement different? Some differences are strength and clarity of intention. What conditioning have adults had?

Foundations of Learning


Lesson 1—Exploring the baby pose Scan, noticing your body print. Baseline movement: Start with B arms resting on the floor in the neighborhood of your head. Your hands and elbows rest comfortably on the floor (if possible, with your hands near your head). Bring R arm over your trunk so that your elbow comes near your ribs as your hand comes toward shoulder or face. Return your arm to the floor and repeat a few times. Please note: If it is more comfortable, resting on your side is optional throughout lesson. 1. Keeping your R elbow and R hand in contact with the floor, start sliding your elbow in direction of your R knee. Let your hand come along as a passenger. Note: your elbow does not intentionally bend further. 2. As in ‘1,' only now let your elbow lift as it slides down toward your side. Keep your hand relaxed on the floor (so that it is sliding along, not pressing into, the floor). 3. Do ‘1,' but with your R knee sliding up toward the elbow, without it leaving the floor. 4. As in ‘3,' but now letting your knee lift slightly from the floor. Keep your foot on the floor all along. 5. Your R knee and elbow come toward each other and away. 6. Place both your arms and hands overhead, letting them rest in good contact with the floor. Lift your back slightly off the floor and allow it to sink back to the floor. What part of your “back” do you move? Does your chest come toward your chin? Or does your chin move toward your chest? How do you breathe: In? Out? Or do you hold your breath? Which ever you do, explore the other two possibilities while repeating the movement of arching your back. 7. Again, take your R knee and R elbow toward each other, letting your back become involved. At first do this without your elbow and knee lifting off the floor. Let the movement increase slowly. Your elbow and knee lift only as much is easy and comfortable. Neither roll onto your side nor move your L leg. 8. Continue the movement. Let your R elbow and R knee lift, thinking of how they can move in their own curves. To develop the roundness of your Foundations of Learning


movement, think of how a car drives around a curve. How is this different from an angular movement? Can you perceive the necessity to go around a curve at a particular point? Your hand remains on the floor as it slides. Let your leg come to a rest and continue moving your arm alone. [Demo: booking vs. rounding trajectory. ‘Round’ is what we’re aiming for here. In that sense it is right, but not in any moral sense.] “Don’t do any better than you can.” 9. Working with your leg now, put your R foot standing with the knee pointing toward ceiling, Your L leg stays long. Start lifting your R leg to the point when your foot begins to just leave the floor. Notice how this movement happens. What part of foot leaves the floor first? Explore this movement with your L foot standing also. Which way is easier? Which takes less effort? Now return to the movement you were doing above. Bend your R knee to the R so that the outside edge of the foot slides up along the floor. Your knee stays on the floor at the beginning of the motion. Your knee lifts off first, then-eventually--your foot does. Your knee and leg move in a curve determined by the configuration of the hip joint and your own comfort. Notice when you are making contact and when you breaking contact. “Quality will tell you more [than anything else about what you are doing]. The quality of your “listening” makes a significant difference in the quality of your movement. You just need to be gentle enough, slow enough.” 10. Your knee and elbow continue to move toward each other, coming around and up together. Each limb follows its unique curves to bring it over trunk. Your hand and foot eventually leave the floor as both limbs come over the trunk to rest for a moment. Then your limbs go back down and you begin again. 11. Lie on the floor and scan. What is your body print now? How has it changed? Has your way of noticing your contact changed also?

Foundations of Learning


Lesson 2—Exploring the baby pose, continued • Recap Lesson 2 in the imagination, with excursions into real movements. • Emphasize not only lifting your elbow and knee, but also bringing them around, toward each other. • After exploring the movement on your L side, start exploring the movement with both elbows together. Think of your elbows coming around and toward each other. • Explore moving both knees together… • Now bring all four limbs into action, bringing your knees and elbows together.

Foundations of Learning


Lesson 3—Circling the knee 1. Scan, paying particular attention to the weight and length of your limbs, noticing the ends of the limbs. Attend to the circumference and the sense of thickness of each limb. Notice your contact with the floor. 2. Roll your L leg outward, doing much less than you know you can. Move very slowly and easily. Sense the channel that your leg makes in the floor. This segues into… 3. Start allowing your knee to move toward your head. Keep the outside of your leg on the floor and your knee close to the floor. Do not go past the point where the movement starts to get difficult. Take enough time so that you really notice where it starts to get hard. How can you go about changing that? What has to be re-tuned? 4. Keeping your L leg long, bring your R foot to standing so that your R knee points directly up toward the ceiling. Roll your pelvis L and then back to the starting place. Repeat this many times. Roll your L leg outward again, as in ‘2.' How is the rolling different now? How does the contact with the floor change as you roll your leg? 5. Return to sliding your L knee up, imagining your heel sliding in the channel that you created when you rolled your L leg outwards. Your foot moves in a straight line up towards the pelvis. Again, find the point where the action starts to get difficult and stop there. With your R foot standing again, play with rolling your pelvis to the L and back. Find out how this affects the motion of sliding of your knee upwards. The knee still stays close to the floor! What would it be like to have all the time in the world to do this? And what if you had nothing to do but find pleasure for yourself? The question, “What is learning?” often elicits answers that are not useful. People tend to think of learning by considering what happened after the process (of learning) has already taken place, e.g., “You practice something to get better at it.” But how can you practice something when you don’t yet know how to do it? How can we describe ‘learning’ instead of ‘having learned?’ Attend to the trajectory of your L foot. In order for your foot to slide up in a straight line, something quite complex must happen with your hip joint and knee working together.

Foundations of Learning


6. Once again, find the place where the movement of sliding your leg around and up becomes difficult. Leaving your L leg here, place your R foot standing again and roll your pelvis a few times L and R. Let your pelvis come to rest in a comfortable, neutral place. Note the contact the outside of your L foot makes with the floor. Begin lifting the small toe end of the foot off the floor and bring it back to the floor. Do only as much as you can easily, then half of that, and then half of that. Sense the echoes of these movements… What happens in your hip? Your back? Now start taking the heel off the floor and bringing it back down . . . Repeat this many times. Start alternating these two movements, keeping them small. Sense the echoes throughout your body. 7. Return to the “basic movement” of rolling your L leg outward, allowing your knee to slide up along the floor. Begin to investigate how and when your foot starts to leave the floor. Do this with your R leg long a few times and then put your R foot standing. Allow your pelvis to roll--and be rolled--as needed in order to make the path of your L leg easier. Variation: Hold onto your L knee with your L hand as your L knee leaves the floor and returns to it. This way your arm can support some of the weight of the leg, letting you sense even more about which path is easiest. Can you also sense how your pelvis and back participate? Rest. What do you do when a movement becomes difficult? What do you do when you cannot figure something out? What is your particular strategy? We all need more kindness at times like these. There is a difference between not knowing and finding out. Find out what you need personally to (a) stay interested and (b) not give up hope. “Even you can change, even now!” It is possible to find joy in a difficult situation. Learning requires failure, but, unfortunately, we have been taught that failure is a sign of defeat! 8. Scan your legs again. Notice weight, thickness, length, presence, circumference, and the envelope of your skin. What would your L leg be better for now? Your R leg? Take all the time you need to think over the lesson, reviewing what was important for you. When you finish reflecting and sensing, roll to one side and get up. Walk around and take a short break.

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Lab 1—Movement observation In groups of four: 2 people do the movement from the lesson and 2 observe. The observers discuss what they notice. Please do not try to change your colleagues if you are the observer; if you are the mover, do not over exert yourself. Guidelines for observing: 1) Ask first. Before stating what you notice, ask your partners what they notice about their own movement. 2) Use sensory specific language. That is to say, describe only what you can directly experience yourself: what you see, feel, and hear. Avoid interpreting behavior; that is to say, stay away from guessing at your colleagues internal states by describing intentions or feelings. 3) Take the long view, looking for a global sense of the movement.

Foundations of Learning


Evaluating movement Often, people become stuck thinking about an ‘ideal.' Movement is multidimensional, happening in a gravitational, three-dimensional, temporal environment. A systemic perspective takes all of these aspects into account. This introduction to SPIFFER, an approach Larry developed for kinesiology classes, training programs, and workshops for therapists, is designed for observing and understanding movement. Sequence:

The cascade, or chain, of movement through the skeleton. (As Larry said, “Bones are the railroad track that force rides.”)


The line of movement through space.


Where the movement starts. The “from” of the movement, the boney beginning place.

Foundation: The relationship to gravity--where the center of gravity is in relationship to the base of support. Flow:

The continuity--or smoothness--of the movement.


Patterns of muscular activity. (Muscles do not think for themselves. Bernstein pointed out that no muscle works alone; muscles work in synergies or “coordinative structures.”)

Respiration: How, and when, you breathe or not.

Each parameter answers a set of questions about some aspect of the organization of movement. What are the questions that you ask for each parameter? Sequence:




Flow: Foundations of Learning




The advantage of this system is that it can serve us from all 3 perspectives that we need: a) What I notice, as a teacher. b) What they notice, as the students. c) How the movement can be changed. Without doing a movement lesson or some other kind of exploratory process, you may not notice an aspect of movement to which you never attend. The lesson creates a “breakdown.” Learning is a consequence of exploration— you need a puzzle, a problem, a question to initiate exploration.

Developmental Direction For about 40 years, development has been seen as a straight line. This was called “developmental direction” by Arnold Gesell, one of the original researchers in the field. For a long time, developmental direction meant that development unfolds in these pre-determined sequences: cephalic to caudal (head to tail), proximal to distal, and radial to ulnar (thumb side to fifth finger side of forearm). From this “neuro-maturationist” point of view, movement unfolds as a consequence of the fetus’ (and, later, the infant’s) physical development. In particular, development was thought to be driven by the maturation of the central nervous system. This view has been challenged by more recent research, especially by dynamic systems researchers (see Crutchfield & Barnes and Thelen & Smith.)

Foundations of Learning


Lesson 4—Frog legs 1. Roll your L leg and foot outward, bringing your leg around and up. Do only as much as is really easy. Leave your L leg long. Begin to explore rolling your R leg and foot. Notice the differences between your R and L sides. Which side is easier? How do you know? What is most important to attend to when you are learning? Now roll both legs outwards. Move both legs only as far as the foot that cannot do the movement as well. Figure out how to limit the better, freer side in the same way that the more restricted side is limited. 2. Continue the movement of bringing both knees to a place where the movement begins to get more difficult and then straighten your legs again. After doing this several more times, stop, leaving leave your legs in a configuration they get to easily and stay in comfortably. Staying like this, experiment with rolling your pelvis forward (so that your tailbone comes closer to floor) and then back to the home position. 3. Return to the position from ‘2,’ that is to say, staying at the comfortable resting place. Start lifting your small toes off the floor and bringing them back to the floor. Note which side does not go as far, or is somehow ‘harder.’ Limit the other side to this way and range of moving. To better distinguish between the two sides, you can explore movements of the L and R side separately at first. Do only 25% of what you can, or less… Pause a moment. Return to the same position and continue to explore the movements, this time lifting just your heels many times. Now alternate lifting your heels and toes. 4. Continue as in ‘3,' and add tilting your pelvis to movements of lifting your toes and heels. 5. Return to the basic movement. Slow down as you get to the point when your feet are about to come up off the floor and notice what happens. Where do you feel work? Is there any strain developing? Repeat this a few times, then try the following: Tilt your pelvis so the tailbone comes closer to the floor. Bring your knees up to the point where it starts to get difficult for them to go any farther. Tilt your pelvis in the opposite direction (that is to say, bring your lower back toward the floor). Notice how this makes your legs lighter and allows you to bring them around & over your trunk. In other words, use your pelvis to help the legs lift from the floor. Foundations of Learning


6. As in ‘5,’ only now try a different sequence with the pelvis: first, tilt your pelvis back (so your lower back comes closer to the floor) and then begin bending your knees and sliding your feet. Notice when your legs feel heavy or stuck. Stop at that moment. Tilt your pelvis in the other direction and feel the effect this has on your legs. Once again tilt your pelvis--bringing your lower back toward the floor--and lift your legs. It’s as though tilting your pelvis forward (toward your tailbone) ‘catches’ your legs, so that tilting your pelvis in the other direction (towards your lower back) helps bring the legs up more easily. Go ahead and check the whole basic movement. Note how it has changed. 7. Start investigating what your pelvis has to do to allow your legs to come down smoothly and safely. You could imagine how this would be for someone who has lots of unpredictable back pain and how much control they would want or need. At first, hold both knees with your hands This will allow you to investigate bringing your feet down without needing lots of muscular activity at your hips. The idea is to allow your feet to touch down on the floor without letting your pelvis tip forward or your back arch. Once the little toes have touched down, weight can come onto the feet. Only then should your pelvis start to tilt towards the tailbone and allow more weight to come onto your feet. It may not be possible to do the ‘ideal’ version, but endeavor to stay with this 3-step pattern and see what will happen. Hold onto your legs as long as you need to. Be true to the quality of the movement. The purpose of life is not seeing through each other, but seeing each other through. 8. Return to the basic movement from Lesson 3: start with both arms lying on the floor over your head and both legs long. Bring your elbows and knees towards each other so that all 4 limbs follow circular paths to come over your trunk. How is this movement now? Nested movements: note how what you learned about the participation of the back and pelvis is now “nested” inside a larger action. 9. Scan your contact with the floor. The great thing about childhood, when not interfered with, is that we can be really happy with what we have learned, if adults do not let their compulsions and expectations get in our way.

Foundations of Learning


Lesson 5–Tongue circles 1. Lying on your back, scan each of your four limbs. Roll your head gently to L and R. Compare the rolling to each side, noticing how you know when to stop. 2. Bring both arms to lie over head in such a way that they can have comfortable contact with the floor. With your L elbow sliding down toward your ribs, start exploring the point where it lifts off the floor. Your hand remains on the floor, being the passenger and coming along for the ride that the arm is taking. Now explore this motion with your R arm. Investigate sliding B elbows around and lifting them together. Your hands stay on floor longer than elbows. 3. Recap movement (from the previous lessons) of having B legs slide along the floor, lift off, and eventually come around & over your chest. As knees come around and up, your feet come off the floor. Pay particular attention to the lift-off and touch-down of the feet. (This movement started with both legs, unlike in ‘2.’) 4. Slide all 4 limbs along floor and bring them up over your chest. Can you find a way to coordinate this action from the middle of yourself? Can all 4 limbs return together, coming back to floor at the same moment? Variation: At different stages of the movement, move back up and down (i.e., toward and away from floor), and note the effect this has on elbows and your heels. Further variations: Lift your back very slowly and then allow it to drop back fast. 5. Return to the “basic movement” of bringing all 4 limbs up to rest over your chest. Note when your back participates in the movement by shortening and lengthening. Pause briefly whenever all 4 limbs are over your trunk. At some point, roll your head L and R to see how this 4-limbs-over-the-chest position makes the movement of your head and neck easier or harder. What is happening in your mouth as you do this? 6. Find a comfortable position in which to lie, either on your back or side. Start moving your tongue inside your mouth, tracing the inside surfaces of your upper teeth. Continue this exploration, letting your tongue come forward between your teeth until it is between your upper teeth and the inside of your lips. From Foundations of Learning


here start making a circle with your tongue, going L along the top teeth and then R between the bottom teeth and inside of your lip. Continue in this same direction for a while, then reverse. Gradually, let your tongue start to come out--to slide forward between your lips--so that you continue the circling motion around the outside of your lips. Is your tongue soft or hard? Are you tracing with the tip of the tongue or using the whole thing? What part of your tongue touches your top lip? What part touches your bottom lip? Think of the tongue as a sponge, soaking up saliva and getting bigger, softer… Let your tongue stick out the left corner of your mouth, thick and soft. Think of the back of your tongue coming forward. The tip of your tongue stays soft, riding along as a passenger. Pull your tongue back in slowly and repeat several times. Bring your tongue to the right corner of your mouth. Your tongue makes a place for itself, sliding forward between your lips here. On which side does your tongue come out more easily? You can compare this difference with the ease of rolling your head to L and to R. 7. Lie on your back and return to the movement of bringing your 4 limbs over chest. After repeating the movement a few times, leave your arms and legs resting over your chest. Hold knees with hands if need be. Move tongue to the R, letting it come out between lips, and let your head follow. It is as if your tongue is so heavy that it takes your head to the side. Make sure the movement only goes as far as easy. Can you make the movement of your tongue and head take the same amount of time? Note the effects in your jaw and at back of neck. Bring your tongue and head back. Repeat. 8. Lie in any comfortable position. Let your tongue start coming out through your lips again. Your tongue gently pushes your lips open. Make your tongue softer and thicker. Let your tongue pass over your gums (as if you have no teeth yet) and continue to slide over your lower lip. Do you notice any more saliva than usual? Feel the effects in your throat and chest; maybe you notice repercussions even farther away, like in your belly. What do you do each time your tongue comes back into your mouth? 9. Bring your 4 limbs over your chest and rest there. Hold knees with hands if you like. Bring your tongue out to one side and let the head roll in that direction. Pause. Move your tongue--and head--to the other side. Move with a slow, thick, heavy tongue and a heavy head. Let your head roll, following the direction of your tongue. Your head and tongue move together. 10. With your arms and legs on floor, roll your head. How has the motion changed? Foundations of Learning


Press your lips together and let them come apart. Note what parts of your lips come together. Do you feel more pressure on the R or L side? Do your lips turn in toward teeth or out and away? Can you press your lips together so as to make them thinner? Continue pressing your lips together. Each time you release the pressing, let the insides of the lips show themselves forward. Let the turning out motion get more emphasis, taking more time than pressing your lips together. Your lips start opening a bit more, the insides start coming out more. Rest. 11. Lying in any comfortable position, begin pushing your lower lip easily forward. Let your lower lip roll in the direction of your chin. You may want to assist with your hand, gently pulling and rolling your lip. Make this a very soft movement . . . Continue turning your lip out, without your hand helping. Explore a similar motion with your upper lip, curling it out and toward your nose. . . first use your hand to help and then continue without your hand. Stick both lips out together. Make the movement of closing your lips, as if bringing something into your mouth (like slurping spaghetti into your mouth).There is no way to be cheap and do this movement. Either you are generous or you do not do it. 12. Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet standing if that’s most comfortable. Start bringing your tongue up to touch your hard palate, turning the tip of your tongue back toward your throat, and then bringing your tongue toward your teeth again. You are brushing the roof of your mouth with your tongue, from the back of your top teeth to the top of your throat. Think of your favorite color and paint stripes, one tooth wide, along the roof of your mouth. Work your way from the center out to the right side, back to the center, and then to the left. What is right above the roof of your mouth? (Your nasal passages and eyes.) Continue with the movement of brushing along the roof of your mouth, setting your own pace and breathing easily. Sense the back of your throat and feel the back of your head on the floor. Rest. Note how you inhale: through your nose or mouth? How about exhalation? How does your contact with the floor change as you breathe? Return to having your tongue come out through your lips, separate your lips and turn them out. Let this develop into a sucking movement. 13. As before, bring all 4 limbs over your trunk and back down to the floor a few times.

Foundations of Learning


Next leave your limbs over your chest and your hands on either side of your face. Allow your tongue to slide out the R side of your mouth as if you were seeking something with it. Let your tongue turn your head. You can start reaching out for your hand, as if you wanted to taste it. You can taste it, lick it. Slowly. Heavy tongue, heavy head. Take your tongue to the other side, too. 14. Lying on your back with long limbs, roll your head L and R. Repeat the head movement with your limbs over trunk. After we stop, take a break from social interactions to give yourself time to taste, swallow, eat, and drink, without talking. Notice how it is.

Lab 2—Using SPIFFER Groups of 3: One person rolls from supine to side-lying and back. The other two use SPIFFER to observe how the student moves. Discuss what you find.

Foundations of Learning


Lesson 6—Sequential rolling, limbs over chest 1. Brief limb scan. Review the movement of bringing your knees over your chest. 2. With B legs resting over your chest, bring your R knee toward the L. Do this without letting your pelvis roll. Holding both knees with your hands, use your leg as the primary mover to take your R knee toward your L. Repeat many times. Now take your L knee toward R. After exploring that, begin to bring B knees together and apart, moving them toward each other and away from each other. 3. Same position as ‘2,’ holding your knees with your hands. Bring your R knee up more toward chest, then let it gently ‘fall’ back until you fully hold your leg with your hand and arm. Your leg moves up under its own steam and falls back into being supported. Contrast this with using your arm to pull your knee higher up and allowing it to fall back. In other words, contrast letting the weight of your leg move your arm with using your arm to pull against the weight of your leg. Investigate this distinction with your L leg also. 4. Bring B legs over your chest again; if you need or want to, you can hold your knees with your arms. Begin turning your head to the R, letting your eyes lead your head. Do this only if you can imagine something interesting over there to see. If you cannot find a way to be interested, do not bother moving. Explore looking to your L also. 5. With your legs long and your arms on the floor above your head, close your eyes. Begin to take eyes to the L and R, imagining looking at something interesting. 6. As in ‘4.’ Then alternate L and R. 7. Holding your knees, open your R knee to the R without allowing your L knee to move appreciably in space. What has to happen elsewhere to allow your R knee to move like this? What do your arms do? What do your legs do? What does your pelvis do? Explore this movement on the other side. Do both sides simultaneously. Take your more flexible leg and hip only as far as the less flexible can go easily.

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8. Holding your knees, find a comfortable distance between them, one that reflects the ability of the less flexible side. Keep this distance constant and take the knees a bit L and R. Stay aware of the space between your knees and keep this constant distant apart. Holding your knees in your hands (or not). Now keep the L knee in the same place and begin to move your R knee towards the floor on the R. Think of your R knee coming to the R and staying as close to your R upper chest and shoulder as is comfortable. You are moving just in this direction, without arriving and without allowing your L knee to move. How far can you go? What stops you from going farther?… Return to the previous movement, allowing your L knee to move in space no more than it has to for your R knee to keep moving to the R. Keep the distance between your knees constant for as long as possible: in other words, keep your knees apart as possible as you tilt them to the R. Gradually, let the movement develop until you end up lying on your R side, at which point you let your L knee come to rest on top of your R knee and allow your L elbow to rest on top of your R elbow. 9. On your R side, start looking L. Be interested in where your eyes are looking. Let this eye movement lead to your head turning L. Repeat this action a number of times, letting it slowly get larger. Note at which point the turning of your eyes and head requires your L elbow to start to lift off your R. Keep your hands together at first. Repeat this transition a number of times to get familiar with the biomechanical necessity of these interconnections. As you continue looking L, when does your L hand need to begin to move? Can you slide your L hand along the floor over your head and find a way to move it toward your L side? Your L elbow will probably be in the air at first. Then it will gradually approach the floor on the L. At some point, your L knee may begin to separate from the R and start to move up toward your L breast. At each stage, when the next piece becomes engaged, it moves only as much as it has to in order to allow the eyes, head, and limbs to continue. Give yourself time; let the movement be luxurious. Eventually, end up lying on your L side. 10. Figure out the sequence in ‘9’ on the other side. 11. Hold B knees over your chest and keep the distance between them comfortably constant. Take one knee toward the floor, then the other. Keep the knee that is going toward the floor (comfortably) close to its respective shoulder.

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12. Now with all 4 limbs over your torso, start experimenting with the different movement configurations that happen to your limbs. Notice how sequential your movement is as you look L and R. What could you use besides your eyes and head to start the movement? Do not allow the next link in the chain to move until it has to, until you sense the necessity of it being engaged. Play with rolling in different ways. Don’t be too serious.

Lab 2B—Rolling again Returning to the same group of 3, notice how the rolling looks now, even if it is not the same kind of roll as in the lesson.

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Problems & Patterns Theme of the Day: How does a system learn to govern itself in a new way? How do you assist someone to develop better coordination? When you start working with someone, you do not start from zero. You start with your student and his or her already established history. It is not that we cannot learn something new; rather, we have already learned something else too well. Many problems come from what we do too well, what we are so accustomed to doing that we cannot stop. No one is smart enough to argue with anyone else’s unconscious. Hence, we need to enlist the organism’s ability to self-regulate. Reflexes Charles Sherrington published his definitive work, The Integrated Action of the Nervous System, at the turn of the century. He wrote about reflexes, but much of what he said has been over-simplified and misunderstood. He never said that that there is a hard-wired link between stimulus and response, as if nothing else existed and as if reflexes were the most basic building blocks of movement. In fact, Sherrington said that a stimulus changes something that is already going on in the nervous system. Dealing with change in any living system, it is important to realize that the system is already functioning, that it is complete and self-regulating. Maintaining its internal environment ensures the system’s survival. Humans are also self-regulating, self-maintaining. How does this relate to learning? Contrasting descriptions: problems vs. patterns When a person walks in the door, he or she usually comes with a “problem,” a description of what is wrong. This usually specifies (a) what is kaput; and (b) where it’s kaput. This is a localized perspective. In contrast, a systemic perspective looks at a pattern. For example, as a systemic practitioner, Larry asks: “How is the person moving such that the problem is possible or necessary? In relation to movement, what is invariant (in the context of possible movements)?” Having noticed what is happening (compared to what could be happening), Larry asks: “How can we change the invariant?” The problem is that the habit, the invariant, is something to which the student has habituated, meaning it happens out of the student’s conscious awareness. What we cannot help noticing is something that the student is probably unable to notice, at least at the Foundations of Learning


beginning of our work. Our job is to help the student notice what he or she is doing in such a way that something can be done about it. In order to change the pattern, we must ask ourselves: “How can I help the student change his or her perception?” The tool we use is movement. The movements themselves are not important; what is important is the awareness that can develop by doing them. What does the student need to become aware of in order to change the invariant? In deciding if he can work with a particular person Larry asks, “Are they moving in such a way that makes this problem necessary?” If he cannot answer “Yes," then he does not work with them. You can only put your hands on the local aspect, but you can think about the whole skeleton! The motto here is: Think globally, act locally. “How is it for children when what they can do is not accepted, and what they cannot (yet) do is expected?” —Magda Gerber The nature of learning is that new abilities develop, fade, and come back—many times. Each time, different explorations happen. The problem with certain kinds of disabilities, e.g. spasticity, is that different explorations often lead to the same result. Therefore, children with spasticity eventually become discouraged and give up experimenting. You might think, “To teach the child better balance, I will put them on a shifting, less stable surface.” The problem with this reasoning is that the reaction to a greater challenge is to shift to an earlier developmental level, one that is experienced as more familiar. Here is the dialog Larry had with a young student, who was brought by a parent to be “helped” this morning: “What would you like from this lesson?” “I don’t know.” “Is there something that you would like to learn to do better?” “I don’t know.” “Well, it sounds like you are very good at saying ‘I don’t know.' Is there something else you would like to learn to do?”

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Lesson 7—Flexing O 1. Scan your contact with the floor. Compare your width (‘Weite’ statt ‘Breite’) at your feet, pelvis, rib cage, shoulder, and head. Baseline movement: Bring all 4 limbs over your chest and, staying in this position, lift your head a few times. 2. Put your R foot standing. Let your L hand and arm lie comfortably near your head with your arm is being supported as fully as possible by the floor. Bring your R hand to hold under your L knee. Begin sliding your R hand down your L lower leg and back up to the knee. Move with an attitude of exploration and pleasurable engagement. Your principal job here is to find something interesting. Ignore what you do not find interesting. If you do not find anything, let me know and I will help you. Learning is not about being serious or “trying hard.” Now reverse the roles in the movement: your hand stays still and your leg moves past the hand. Use the same quality of touch. 3. Do ‘2’ on the other side: L hand and R leg. Experiment with mixing the movements, first doing both together, then with making playful changes among the 3 modes: hand moves, leg moves, both move. 4. Recap ‘2’ and ‘3,' this time with your R hand holding your L knee from the outside. Investigate variations on both sides. How do you know that you can do something? ¡When you can do it! An invitation to overcome the “Oh Shit!” moment and transforming it, perhaps in stages, to, “Isn’t that great; I can’t do this well yet!” Then, you will have a chance to change your habitual responses. Otherwise, you just keep repeating your habit. Rejoice, even if you do not know what to do yet. 5. With your L foot standing and your L hand touching your R knee, slide your L hand down to hold sole of your R foot. Bring the palm of your hand to the sole of your foot. (Easier alternatives--such as holding ankle--for people who have difficulty reaching this far.) Begin, slowly and experimentally, to lift your L hand and R foot a little bit in the direction of the ceiling and bring them back. Repeat. 6. As in ‘5,' only have your R hand hold R knee. For further support, you can leave you R elbow on the floor.

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Variation: Continue with your R knee more toward the outside and more over your chest. 7. Same position as in ‘6.' Bring your foot and hand toward the ceiling and back a few times. Leave your hand and foot up there at a comfortable point. Repeatedly take your R knee toward the outside and toward the inside. Let your L arm move along with your R leg, as though they were the part of one circle. Allow your L elbow to have some curve in it. Variation: Have your R leg active so that your R foot pulls your L shoulder a bit off the floor and lowers it. What happens if you allow your L shoulder to follow along? What do you notice that is new? 8. Same position as in ‘6’ and ‘7.’ This time, begin to trace with your R hand inside the circle formed by your L arm and R leg. Stay in contact with the circle the entire time, noting what different parts of your hand you can use. Can you make this enjoyable? 9. As in ‘8,' only now reach through the circle with your R hand, in the direction of your L (standing) knee. Do not go nearly as far as you can! There is no competition, no external evaluation. Just do what is comfortable. 10. Same movement as in ‘9,' adding the movement of taking the ‘O’ (made by your L arm and R leg) into internal and external rotation (in reference to your R hip). Keep your arm and leg in the same plane. Think particularly of making the ‘O’ shape and keeping the shape as you rotate your leg and arm through space. You can also play with the degree to which you lift your hand and foot toward the ceiling. Let your R hand rest and continue the movement, thinking just of the ‘O.' 11. Scan body width.

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Lesson 8—Flexing O, continued Can you take the risk of making your comfort more important than anything else? Can you ignore [or put aside], for a little while, the assumption that whatever you do is not good enough? 1. Lie on your back. Stand your L foot, hold your R foot (from underneath) with your L hand, and, if you like, prop your R knee or thigh up with your R hand. Take your R foot and L hand closer to ceiling and back a few times. Then leave them at a comfortable level and begin to rotate the ‘O’ a bit in space. Rest your R lower leg or ankle on your L knee and continue with this motion of turning your R knee in and out. 2. As in ‘1,' add your R hand under the head. Bring your R elbow in the direction of the widening ‘O.’ Your forearm comes near your R temple as your arm lifts your head. Can you imagine the ‘Feldenkrais Olympics,’ where medals would go to those who do the least. Story about the session with teenager who wanted to know why it was important to treat herself well. “When you treat yourself well, you set an example for other people.” “What if they don’t notice, or care?” she asked. “Then it’s even more important.” 3. Same position as in ‘2’, except now bring your R elbow toward your L knee and your L knee toward your R elbow. Find out if you can do this a few times without rolling your pelvis … then find out if allowing the pelvis to roll (to the R) can prove useful. Continue making the ‘O’ rounder as you lift foot and hand during the movement. 4. As in ‘3,’ take the ‘O’ to the L and R, without changing the location of your L knee in space. Does your head move? Try it without having your hand under your head. 5. Continue with the movement from ‘4.’ As the ‘O’ goes L and R, what happens if you let the head roll in the same direction as the ‘O’? What happens if you continue this movement without letting your head roll at all? How about if you roll your head in the opposite direction of the ‘O’? Can you make the outcome of the movement less important, be less serious, and have more fun? Foundations of Learning


6. Return to having your R hand under your head and taking your R elbow in the direction of going through the ‘O,’ toward your L knee. Variation: Lift your R elbow toward your R knee… then in between your knees. 7. Explore whatever movements you can remember from this and the previous lesson on the other side. 8. On the ‘second’ side--i.e., with your R hand holding your L foot, your R foot standing, and your L hand under head--begin taking your L elbow in the direction of your L knee. Bring your head along for the ride. Return your head to the floor and repeat. Variations: Reverse what is moving by bringing your L knee closer to your L elbow and away. Have your knee and elbow approach each other equally. … Keeping a fixed distance between your L knee and L elbow, move them back and forth. 9. As in ‘8,’ bringing your L elbow and R knee toward each other and away. Explore all the above variations. 10. Do ‘8’ and ‘9’ on the other side. 11. Bring both your knees over your chest, and hold them there with your hands. Spread your knees less than your maximum. Mirror the comfort level of the less flexible side with the more flexible side. Begin pulling on your knees, bringing them in the direction of your higher ribs. That means you are not only pulling your knees toward your chest, but also higher on your chest. Note what this requires from your pelvis and spine Add a slight side-to-side rocking movement. Variation: Instead of rocking in the middle, roll to one side of your center line. Rock forward and back there. 12. Again bring both knees over your chest. Hold your knees with your L arm by sliding your arm behind them. Put your R hand behind your head. Start taking your R elbow in the direction of your R knee and back down and--at the same time--take your R knee in the direction of the elbow. Even if you can touch your knee and elbow, don’t. What needs to happen to allow this movement more easy? Variations: Your elbow and other knee approach each other. . . then, your elbow goes between your knees (or in that direction). Do these variations on the other side. 13. Do the movements from ‘12,’ finding a comfortable fixed distance between your elbow and knee. Let them take turns approaching each other so that one retreats as the other approaches. Foundations of Learning


14. Put B hands behind your knees, holding each elbow (or wrist) with the other hand. Start rocking a bit forward and back. Now roll gently side to side. Stay to one side of your center line and rock forward and back there. Try out different speeds. Note if you are trying to do some movement that is not a rocking motion. 15. Bring your L foot standing, your L hand holding your R foot from underneath, and your R hand under your head. Find out how it is to take your R elbow in the direction of your L knee, moving in the direction of going through the ‘O.’ 16. Starting in supine, with both hands and arms comfortably in contact with the floor near your head, investigate how it is to bring all 4 limbs up over your trunk now. Can you bring your limbs up simultaneously? Rest briefly when you get there. Then notice how it is to let all 4 down together. Then repeat the whole thing. What do you notice has changed? 17. Again, scan the width of your shoulders, ribs, hips, feet, head. Recall what was interesting or important for you during the lesson. When did you succeed in making the terrible mistake of doing too little?

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Two Pathways: Biomechanical and Neurological The Biomechanical Aspect 

The biomechanical description has no moral or ethical imperative.

To impose these ideas (biomechanical “ideals”) on humans is abusive, but to ignore the role of biomechanics is dangerous.

Understanding biomechanics requires appreciating the aesthetics of our design.

A biomechanical perspective gives us insight as to how people get hurt. It also helps us understand how people accomplish their intentions.

Feldenkrais teachers want more and better options.

The Sensorimotor Aspect—How perception plays a part in learning. 

Ethical imperative: “Always act to increase the number of choices” —Heinz von Foerster

Larry does not want to become the authority. He wants the students to become autonomous, to “write their own stories.”

Most movement training and most teaching methods seek to reduce the spectrum of movement available for the student; Feldenkrais does not.

The history of education in our culture: according to Foucault, educational institutions arose to make “good citizens,” to get people to reliably do what they are told to do.

Larry wants people’s experience to be rich and refined enough so they know when something is dangerous for them, before the damage occurs.

When people have more options, they learn to make choices better.

Arnold Gesell 1. Motor Priority Movement comes first, leads development. Through moving, by moving, we develop. Gesell was a “maturationist.” In our work we say development takes place through exploration. Penfield, a Canadian neurosurgeon, stimulated different parts of the cortex during operations and began to map the motor cortex, which he described as Foundations of Learning


the homunculus. Russian researchers, noting the day-to-day development in canine brains, sought to answer the question: “Does the image of movement on the cortex change as abilities develop?” The answer is yes. Working with pairs of kittens from the same litters, other experimenters had one kitten pull the other on a chariot. One moved; the other never got a chance to do anything. They developed very differently, the passive kitty never developing normal movement or perception. The experimenters concluded that without active exploration no learning takes place. 2. Developmental Direction For the past fifty or so years, the progressions—from cephalic to caudal, proximal to distal, and gross to fine motor skills—were believed to be absolute. Now, it begins to look as if development meanders, following paths that differ between people. Generally, development moves from the simple toward the more complex, from freezing to freeing degrees of freedom. Learning at all levels is similar in structure. What do transitions look like? They are not like adding bricks to a wall; rather they happen in an instantaneous way, in a sudden shift from one global organization to another. 3. Functional Asymmetry Movement does not developed symmetrically. The development of function is different from that of structure: exercise should be balanced, development cannot be. 4. Reciprocal Interweaving Complementary skills develop in an interlaced way--first one aspect develops, then another. For example, flexion develops, then extension, then flexion again. 5. Self-Regulation The organism is a closed system; it is autonomous. Self regulation arises from the closure of the sensorimotor loop. From a Feldenkrais point of view, development depends on perception. 6. Optimal Realization At any point in time, we are doing the best we can. The problem with habitual movements is that you learn to do everything and the habit at the same time! A habit can become incorporated into every activity. Numbers 3 and 4 above, Functional Asymmetry and Reciprocal Interweaving, can help point the way for us as teachers. Too often we say, “Do this instead,” when people Foundations of Learning


people do not know instead of what! We need to understand what they are doing, not what they are doing wrong.

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Lesson 9—Rolling Variations 1. Scan 2. Bring your L foot and leg to standing. Investigate the action of turning your R knee outward, bending and sliding it up to lift from the floor and come over your chest. Return and repeat. Explore bringing your R elbow from floor to over your chest and back to the floor. Bring both your R arm and leg over your chest and back down to the floor. Can you move them together? Explore these movements on the other side. Most approaches to movement teach ‘big movements,’ then correct what is wrong. Here, we started with small movements and build, indirectly, toward a new ability. First each aspect becomes clear, then “two become one.” Which movement helped the other? Which was easier, or clearer, at the start? 3. Bring your L knee and L elbow over your chest and leave them there. You can have your R foot standing. Start taking your L knee and elbow toward one another and away. Keeping the distance between your elbow and knee constant, move them higher and lower (in relation to your head) together. Make tiny circles with your knee and elbow, imagining the stick in between them so that they move together. When you rest between variations, note the distances between your L elbow and L knee, between your R elbow and R knee. Do these movements on the other side. What happens between your elbow and knee? What about your breath? When do you breathe? Can you move without interfering with your breath? When you scan the knee-elbow distances, what path does your attention take? 4. Bring all 4 limbs over your chest and leave them there. Imagine a stick between your R elbow and knee. Start taking your elbow and knee higher and lower (that is, toward your head and away). Explore these movements with your L elbow and knee. Explore these movements with both sides together. Foundations of Learning


5. Bring all 4 limbs over your chest and leave them there. Note the distance between elbows and knees. Start taking your R knee and R elbow to the R. Move only as far as your knee and elbow can go comfortably. Move without separating your elbow and knee from one another. Return and repeat. Continue this movement, letting your elbow and knee separate a little bit . . . then progressively more, until your hand and foot come to the floor. Return and repeat. Do this without letting your pelvis roll. Repeat this on the other side. 6. Again, bring all 4 limbs over your chest and leave them there. As in ‘5,’ take your R knee and R elbow to the floor a few times, allowing them to separate exactly as much as you need them to and no more. Leave your arm and leg resting on the floor. Then begin to take your L elbow and L knee simultaneously to the R, allowing them to eventually separate and to lie on top of their R side counterparts. Explore these movements going to the L several times. Begin to alternate, rolling from side-to-side. 7. Starting at the point where ‘6’ ended--lying on one side--bring your top elbow and knee toward the ceiling together. Follow this by bringing your bottom elbow and knee toward the ceiling together, which should bring you back onto your back. Experiment with your speed and timing. Roll back onto your back fast, but continue to slowly roll onto your side. Do this to both sides. 8. Again, start by lying on one side, knee on knee and elbow on elbow. Start to explore the sequence from the other day, the one where your eyes led your head in turning. Your head continues to turn until it starts to engage the top elbow; your arm continues to move until your top knee is called into play. The bottom knee then becomes engaged and then, finally, your bottom elbow begins to move. Explore the movement on each side separately, then alternate from side-toside slowly. 9. Explore a third variety of rolling: experiment with having your top knee lead. Find out what parts of yourself wants to follow. Find out which is the easiest sequence when you start with your legs. 10. Scan your contact with the floor. What is the distance between your elbow and knee on the R side, on the L? Between your R elbow and L knee? Between your L elbow and R knee? Between head and . . .?

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Taking another look at SPIFFER—What is optimal? In observing movement, we always need to be thinking of a specific movement. We apply these parameters in learning situations to understand in which direction improvement lies. Sequence:

Forces are distributed evenly over all joints along the path; each joint does its share. The forces move through the joints, not into them.


Mono-motivated or “aligned.”


Central or, more generally, from the central axis. The biggest mass begins the movement, as centrally as possible or relevant. We distinguish manipulation--I move something but I remain still--from transport--I move with what I am moving. For some movements around the long axis (for example, rotation), central initiation can also mean the head because it’s close to the central axis.

Foundation: Must be dynamic and follow—or support—the direction in which you are moving. Flow:

Continuous. Reversible at any point.


Coordinated action, a term Feldenkrais used in Higher Judo. The biggest muscles do the most work. The smaller ones guide the movement. There is a sensory correlation; does the movement feel “effortful” or “effortless?”

Respiration: Simultaneous with movement. There is a choice about direction.

Lab 3—SPIFFER analysis of coming to sitting Groups of three again; observe the movement of rolling up to sitting. SPIFFER is a rich enough model that you have not seen everything yet. What you have found so far is not “conclusive,” and you should have plenty more to investigate. The aim is a field for learning where failures will be safe and comfortable, rather damaging and painful.

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Lesson 10—Rolling to Side-Sit 1. Scan your contact with the floor. Note distances between your elbows and knees on each side, between your hands and feet on each side, and along the pathways between them. 2. Bring all 4 limbs over your chest and leave them there. Without changing the distance between each elbow and knee, take your R elbow and knee to R and back. Attend to the non-moving elbow and knee also. Explore moving your L elbow and knee to L and back. Take your R elbow and knee higher and lower (toward your head and away), moving once again as if there was a stick between your elbow and knee. Explore these up and down movements with your L elbow and knee. Note what happens to the limbs on the R as you move your L limbs. 3. With all 4 limbs over your chest, start rolling to the R. Allow your R elbow and knee to separate as they come to floor, but keep your L elbow and knee close together. When you return to your back, keep them just as close. Lie on your R side. Keep your L elbow and knee comfortably close together and start sliding them higher and lower along the floor, over your other limbs. The movement is not about straightening your L knee. Roll onto the other side and move your R elbow and knee up and down. 4. Lie on your R side with your L elbow on your R elbow and your L knee on your R knee. Start straightening your R arm and turning your R hand so that your palm can come to lie in contact with the floor. What do you need to do this? Your hand does not come directly in front of you, rather it moves up, in the direction of your head. Your hand moves more or less at 45° to your trunk. Does your head want to stay on the floor or roll over your R arm? Try it both ways. 5. Roll from your back to your R side, letting L elbow and knee come to floor between R elbow and R knee. Return. Do this to the L side. Do ‘book’ rolls side-to-side so that the opening and closing of your arm and leg together to take you from one side to the other. 6. Lie on your R side with your L elbow on your R and your L knee on your R. Slide your L knee down along your R lower leg. Start small and make the movement progressively larger--staying in your comfortable range all along-and coming back. What happens with your back, with your pelvis?

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As you continue this movement with your L leg, begin to add the movement of extending your R arm and bringing your R palm into contact with the floor. Allow your head to roll over your R arm in the process. 7. In same position as in ‘6,' begin to slide your L elbow and knee down together, keeping the distance between them constant, and bring them back. Once this movement becomes comfortable, begin adding the movement of your R arm, bringing the palm to the floor and extending your arm forward and upwards along the floor. Once you get the feel of this combination, allow yourself to get sloppier and, gently, faster. 8. Try out various combinations of the movements from ‘7.’ For example, move your L knee and R hand, without your L elbow being involved, or your L elbow and R hand without your L knee. Note connections that arise between elbow and knee on the floor, observe your contact with the floor, and follow what happens in your back. Imagine that someone is pulling your L foot back behind you, so that the knee does not straighten as your thigh comes back. 9. Start again on your R side. Your L hand holds your L knee. Begin taking your L knee down and back away from you, letting your trunk and head follow along. Let your head hang. Note the reaction of your R arm. What does it do? What would it like to do? At what point do you hold your breath? Are there ‘corners’ in the movement that could be ‘curves?’ 10. Scan, as before, for different distances and floor contacts. How would you teach yourself this movement on the other side? Would you start with the whole thing, or the parts? Would you start with what you already know, or with what you don’t? What kind of teacher do you want? What kind of teacher can you be? This is your ‘homework’ for tomorrow.

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Self-regulation Being lost in Boston and finding a map on the side of a building: The map had the words “You are here," but it did not have an ‘X’ or an arrow. Without an ‘X,’ there was no way to become oriented and the map was useless. You have to teach the student what she or he is doing already. That is the ‘X’! The Simplest Self-Regulating System In the abstract model of a self-regulating system, every such system has an effector, a goal, a sensor, and a comparator. The system can only sense at the sensor; it can only make changes with the effector. While giving a talk at San Francisco State University, Larry found himself in a lecture hall where the thermostat could not be adjusted, so it kept getting hotter and hotter. Opening the door only made it worse. It is not possible to change the situation by directly intervening in what happens in the environment or at the effector. The solution was putting warm towels on the thermostat: in other words, it was necessary to change what happens at the sensor. In that way, the system could regulate itself. Habituation: If something happens the same way repeatedly, it drops out of awareness. Thus, we have no awareness of our habitual patterns. Our job is to help people become aware.

Lab 4—Teacher–Student–Angel. The Teacher observes the Student and then seeks to assist the Student in changing the way he or she rolls from side-lying up to side-sitting. (This is the movement from the previous lesson.) The Angel whispers the following questions in the Teacher’s ear: 1. What do you notice? 2. What would you like the student to change? 3. What does the student need to notice so that she can change? 4. How will you help her notice that? (Come up with 3 or 4 different things to try.) “Benevolent deviousness”

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Lab 4—Continued Make the movement a question. Two members of triad work with the third without talking. The two can converse with each other as long as the student (the third) cannot hear them. Try 3 or 4 variations with each member of group having a chance to be the Student. What is the smallest change you can help with that will have an effect? Image of the hill between two valleys. It may not take a lot of work to get the student over the little hill, so they can slip into the 2nd valley (which is already present, biomechanically and neurologically). If I start with what they are already doing, students feel someone is paying attention to them. If I can figure out how to make the problem happen on purpose, then I know what the students needs to do, and they can also start to notice what they are already doing. What are the possibilities to work indirectly with a student (either verbally or nonverbally)? The basic four strategic choices are: 1. To help them do better what they are already doing; 2. To help them not do what they cannot (yet) do; 3. To help them not to do what they can do; and, 4. To help them do what they cannot (yet) do. Awareness is valuable. It also demands a lot. Not-knowing brings you up against who you are. How I find out about the student is an essential part of the lesson. How he or she participates is crucial for setting the stage for learning. If I just make a student feel better, without helping him or her develop an awareness of the “problem-pattern,” the person will come back forever. We do not want that, do we?

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Lesson 11—Side-sit to hands & knees 1. Long scan of contact with floor and of distances between hand and foot, elbow and knee, foot, knee, hand, elbow, and head. 2. Recap of last part of Lesson 11, coming from lying on the L side to side-sitting. 3. Lie on your R side, come up to side- sitting a few times. Next time you come up to sitting, stay there with your hands on your knees. Start experimenting with different ways you can slide your R hand forward onto the floor in front of your R knee. As you slide your hand forward, what happens with your L knee? How does your head move? Now slide your L hand forward from your L knee. What do you notice about your breathing? Slide both hands forward together. How does your head move as your hands slide forward? In what direction does the weight of your torso go? In other words, does your pelvis roll forward or back? Which do you understand first, the movement or the idea of the movement? If it is the idea, then the idea will tend to demand that you adhere to it. Being stuck on the idea reduces the possibility of changing how you move. If you attend to the movement itself, including the aspects that remain unclear for you, this will facilitate more complete and rapid learning. 4. Come back up to sitting as before, and begin sliding both hands forward, so that you approach both elbows coming onto the floor. Your forearms stay parallel. Note how far apart your forearms want to be, then experiment with having them wider and narrower. What has to happen in your back and with your head to allow your elbows to approach the floor? Rest. Scan elbow and knee, foot and hand distances, ipsilaterally and contralaterally, through space and through your self. 5. Again sit as before. Place your forearms on floor in front of you. Move your head L and R, letting it hang. Can you commit yourself to staying in the easy range, to not going ‘ugh’ as you move. What needs to happen in your back? With your pelvis? 6. Continue as in ‘5,' allowing the top of your head (not your forehead) to come toward floor between your hands. Let the pelvis lift in order to allow this, making a seesaw movement. Foundations of Learning


7. Scan your contact with the floor. Notice the relationship of your head to your knees; your pelvis to your head; and your hands to your pelvis. Again notice your contact with the floor. 8. Go back and repeat this series of movements on the other side, starting from your hands sliding off your knees. 9. Side-sit with your forearms resting on the floor in front of you. Keep your forearms parallel as you begin shifting them side-to-side. Find the easiest spot for your arms. Once you have found your “sweet spot,” start bringing your elbows off the floor. Let your head hang forward--sensing the weight of your head. Let your head move forward and allow your pelvis to lift. How much weight needs to come onto your arms to assist with this? Begin to look up at the very end of bringing your head forward. Return and repeat. As you continue coming forward, start moving your lower leg (of your front leg) to bring it parallel with your other lower leg. Pivot on your knee. Are your hands in front of you as you do this? 10. From being on your hands and knees, investigate moving back to side-sitting. Investigate each aspect of the movement individually, then put them together. Experiment to find optimal placement of your hands and knees. Make sure you try the ‘wrong’ possibilities, too. 11. From hands and knees, start rocking forward and back. 12. Do ‘10’ and ‘11’ side-sitting on the other side. Begin to alternate sides for sitting, coming through center when you rock forward and back. 13. Scan your contact with the floor. Repeat the earlier distance scans, adding a scan of the space between your shoulder blades, attending to your breath, the width of your shoulders and ribcage, and the dimensions of rib cage.

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Lesson 12—Side-sit to hands & knees, continued 1. Scan your contact with the floor. How does your breath affect your sternum, your ribs, and the contact your spine makes with the floor? 2. Come up from side-lying to being on your hands and knees. Experiment with the distances between your hands, between your knees, and between your hands and knees. Begin moving backwards, as if to sit on your heels, but do only the very beginning of the movement. Variation: Put your elbows on the floor where your hands were and, cradling the top of your head in your hands, continue to begin sitting back toward your heels. Then return to doing it on your hands and knees. 3. Rest. Note how you are breathing between your shoulders now, what distances have been altered, and how your contact with the floor has changed. What is the distance between the inside of your sternum and the front of your spine? 4. On your hands and knees: start bringing the toes of your R foot to standing and take them back to pointing away from you. Repeat many times. 5. On your hands and knees: start sitting back as if you were going to sit on your R heel. What does that mean? Variations: Continue with this movement, looking up with your eyes and head, or looking down. The choices we make in lessons are made in the context of specific, whole patterns, each of which involves specific constraints. 6. Recap the movements (from ‘4’ and ‘5’) on the other side. See if you can remove the sensation of strain--the need for ‘difficulty’--from your picture of the movement, from your picture of this lesson. 7. Rest. Scan each side of your ribcage individually, noticing your breath. 8. On hands and knees: again, take your R toes to standing and back. Make the motion faster, lighter, with a ‘sweeping’ feeling. 9. Do the sweeping movement with your L toes. 10. Explore this motion with B feet simultaneously. What does your pelvis do when you do this movement? 11. As in ‘2,’ only as you start to sit back toward sitting on both heels, take your toes to standing, then return. What happens with your pelvis and with your head as you do this? Variation: Take your toes to standing as you sit back instead of as when you move backward. Foundations of Learning


12. Start playing with variations of your head moving and of looking up and down… 13. Finally, return to coordination of toes coming to standing as you move toward sitting. What does your head do now? Children sitting with their knees bent and their feet on the floor next to their pelvis. This is called ‘W’ sitting (therapists’ perception) or ‘M’ sitting (child’s perception). 14. On your hands and knees: start taking B toes to standing and back, quickly and lightly. 15. Switch to an alternating pattern. Slow down, and note what kind of side-toside weight shift happens with the alternating pattern. 16. Switch back to non-alternating. How fast can you do it now? Make sure your knees are wider apart than your feet. 17. Start in side-sitting with your R leg in front and with both hands on the floor in front of you. Come in the direction of being on your hands and knees; moving just enough to bring your L leg forward. Sit back again. Repeat. 18. Continue to do this with only one hand on the floor. After repeating this several times, switch hands. 19. Explore doing this movement without either hand on the floor. (You can put your hands on your knees.) 20. Last scan--as before--adding how your abdomen, pelvis, and hip joints respond to your breathing. Scan distances, e.g., head versus R knee, foot, hip; L knee versus R elbow; R elbow versus head… 21. Give yourself time to review what was important or new for you in the lesson. lesson. Get up and note how you are now.

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Lesson 13—Coming to hands & knees 1. Recall last lesson. Think about how it could be lying on your belly. Think about learning and teaching. Scan your contact with the floor. Scan the distances between your elbows, knees, feet, hands, and head. 2. Review getting to hands and knees from supine. Stay on your hands and knees. Start taking your R toes as for running and back. Explore this movement when you are your elbows and knees. Experiment with moving your L foot. Experiment with moving B feet together. Rest. Explore alternating feet, both on your hands and knees and on your elbows and knees. Note the echoes in your hips and pelvis. Allow the movement to get faster and lighter. 3. Side-sit with your L leg forward, come forward to being on your hands and knees and keep moving through side-sitting with your R leg forward. Think of the seesaw movement or of a balance scale. 4. Lie on your back. Recap the process of bringing your arms and legs over your chest. First move each arm and leg individually, then move them together. Recap the two different ways of rolling from side to side, “book” rolling and sequential rolling, starting each from your head and eyes. A few times, roll from supine up to sitting to recall that movement. 5. Roll directly from lying on your back to being on your elbows and knees. Repeat a few times. Roll up to being on your hands and knees also. If there’s more than one path between milestones, then maybe there’s hope for us! 6. Come from supine up to sitting, then up to being on your hands and knees, any old way, right or wrong. Start rocking forward and back. Slowly, let the movement get faster. What drives this movement? Variation: Continue with your toes as if for running. 7. On your hands and knees, start translating your pelvis slightly to the R and then back to the center. Repeat this with as little movement in the shoulder

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girdle and upper trunk as possible. It is not just about side bending, for example. Lift your L knee off the floor, to the L, a little bit. First do this with your toes flat, then with your toes standing. Recap the movement of shifting your pelvis to the R. Keep the movement small. Is it any different now? 8. As in ‘7,’ shift pelvis L. Then shift pelvis R. Then alternate sides. Then, on your elbows and knees, shift your pelvis to the R and back. 9. Lie on your back. Bring all 4 limbs over your chest and stay there. Start taking your knees side-to-side without allowing yourself to roll, keeping the distance between them more or less constant. 10. On your hands and knees: again start shifting your pelvis side-to-side, making a motion of translation only. How is it now? Bring your knees and lower legs together and repeat the movement translating your pelvis from side-to-side. 11. Again on your elbows and knees: bring your knees and feet together. Translate your pelvis L and R. Variations: Continue pelvic translation with feet apart and knees together; with knees apart and feet together. What becomes more stable and what becomes more moveable? What is stable that needs to be stable, and what is stable that needs to be moveable? What is moveable that needs to be stable? Re: Public awareness of Feldenkrais, the question that constantly returns to me is: “What could make this work interesting to my neighbors?” Interest in making artifacts such as books; games; toys; curricula; cartoons. 12. On your hands and knees: start translating your shoulder girdle to the R and back. Do a small movement, as though you did not want anyone to notice. Explore this small movement to the L many times. Alternate R and L. Variations: Try with your hands wide apart, then with hands on top of one another, both ways (one on top and then the other) and with your arms crossed one way and then the other. Again, what is stable and what is mobile? 13. Supine, bring your 4 limbs over your chest. Keeping both elbows and forearms parallel, start taking them to the L and to the R. This is an inverted version of what you just did on your hands and knees. What is different? Foundations of Learning


14. Come back to being your elbows and knees. Take your shoulder girdle to the L and R. Variations: First with your elbows spread apart and your hands together, then with your elbows together and your hands apart. 15. Bring your arms and legs over your chest. “Glue” your forearms together (with your palms facing the floor) and start translating them L and R. Keeping your arms together, bring them up and down. Make a small circle over chest with your elbows, keeping your elbows and forearms together. Rest in this position, with your limbs over your chest. Bring your forearms together and move them up and down again. This time open your elbows as your arms go toward your feet and move your hands apart as your arms move toward the head. 16. On elbows and knees, start taking your shoulder girdle L and R. Pause a moment. Take your pelvis L and R. Cross your R knee in back of your L knee and continue shifting your pelvis. Spread your feet apart and continue shifting your pelvis. Cross your legs the other way, continue the movement, and note the differences. Explore this movement with your feet spread apart and with your feet together. Uncross your legs. Return to shifting your pelvis side-to-side and compare. 17. Lie on your back with your 4 limbs over your chest. Keeping a constant distance between your elbows and keeping a constant distance between your knees, start translating the knees L and the elbows R at the same time. Notice what rhythm you develop. Can you do it evenly? 18. Come onto your elbows and knees again. Cross your elbows and separate your hands widely. Again shift your shoulder girdle R and L. Keep your elbows crossed and bring your hands together. Shift your shoulder girdle R and L. Bring your forearms shoulder-width apart and parallel to one another. Shift your shoulder girdle R and L again. 19. Bring your arms and legs over your chest. Move your knees up and down together. As your legs move down, spread your feet apart. As you bring your legs back, bring your feet together. Repeat. Foundations of Learning


Start taking the knees upward. As your legs move up, take your knees apart, then reverse: as your legs move down, bring your knees together. 20. Return to being on your elbows and knees. Cross your R knee behind your L knee, and cross your R elbow in front of your L elbow. Spread your hands and feet apart. Start translating your pelvis side to side. Bring your forearms and lower legs parallel again. Take your pelvis R and L several times. Then take your shoulder girdle R and L. 21. On your hands and knees: start experimenting with unweighting your R knee several times. Then start taking this knee off the floor a small amount to the side and back. Repeat this process with your R elbow. Is it possible to differentiate the shift from the lift? Explore these movements on the other side. 22. Bring your 4 limbs over your chest. Alternate taking your R knee and R elbow together and apart with taking L knee and L elbow together and apart. Now, keeping a fixed distance between your R elbow and knee, and between your L elbow and knee, alternate taking one side up and other side down. 23. Warning: The following movement is irreversible! On your elbows and knees, pick your L elbow and L knee up, leaving your foot and hand on the floor. Then, when you are “ready” take your L hand and your L foot off the floor along with your knee and elbow. Crash. 24. Bring your 4 limbs over your chest. Keeping the same distance between your L knee and L elbow, start taking them R and L without rolling. Repeat with R elbow and knee. Note the point where your arm and leg want to separate. Let this lead into rolling from supine baby to R side: your R elbow and R knee move to the R, separating when necessary so that can they approach the floor. Then let your L elbow and L knee move to the R, allowing them to get closer as they approach floor. Continue to play with this until you are moving comfortably from one side to the other. 25. Scan your contact with the floor. Notice the distances from your belly button to the front of your spine; from your sternum to the back of your chest; and the distances from each knee to each elbow and to your head…

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Lab 4 —Revisited In same groups of 3 as yesterday; observe how the movement has changed. Thinking of patterns What sorts of patterns lie within the movements that we did in this lesson? We must consider both sensorimotor and biomechanical aspects. The nervous system may initiate a pattern of movement, but it is not the only determinant of how patterns unfold. What keeps a person from using the full repertoire of patterns available? When we start to learn, often we freeze degrees of freedom before we free them. Rarely is the frozen form the easier, more comfortable, or aesthetically more pleasing. In order to free degrees of freedom, we rely on inherent relationships.

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The Seven C’s Converse To interact. Both participants are important, not just one. Conversations are not planned in advance, and cannot be.

Convert To translate or convert, as in converting from metric to English units. The teacher translates his or her perceptions into experiences the student can see and feel. Kinesthetically oriented descriptions are the specialty of Feldenkrais..

(Re-)Calibrate To tune-in. Contrast To differentiate. Contrasting is asking, “This or that?” so that the student can notice differences. Ask yourself: what is the student not noticing? How can we assist him to find a new perception? Find a “difference that makes a difference” in the context of movement. Conjoin To go with, to accompany. This means helping students get better at what they are already doing. Constrain To take away choices by adding limitations. You make what doesn’t change even less movable, so change can happen elsewhere. This requires thinking globally. Correlate To build relationships. It is an “and” in the kinesthetic conversation of a lesson, as notice “this and that.” Correlation always occurs in reference to an action pattern. Using the term correlate, rather than coordinate, emphasizes the perceptual aspect of the Method. Foundations of Learning


Review of 7 ‘C’s, with equivalents auf deutsch Converse (sich unterhalten) Meaning is dependent upon a conversation between a speaker and a listener. In contrast, in communication the meaning is dependent on the speaker-as-sender alone. The metaphor of communication is based upon communication theory, where the meaning of the message is dependent pre-established code. This is not the case in human conversation. We have had to learn that the listener makes the meaning, which this is not what people usually understand from the word “communication.” Review of physical education textbooks shows that they all used the same metaphor for communication: that of sender, receiver, and message. This can be seen as a form of “somatic colonialism,” where teacher determines entirely what should be learned and the student’s experience does not count. You want to start by learning what the student knows. The teacher models learning by learning about the student. Convert (umwandeln) Converting from a problem description to a pattern description. Then convert from pattern to perception, recognizing the difference between the teacher’s point of view as an observer and the student’s point of view as a mover. Find the invariant in the pattern; then you can begin. In a systemic approach, problems result from having only one way to go, from the absence of choice. We can start by seeing the invariant as an accomplishment. Then we ask what could the student perceive differently in order to become aware of what they are already doing (not what they are not doing)? This is done by… Calibrating (fein abstimmen, einstimmen, einstellen) Fine tuning. Engage students in an experiential spectrum that is relevant to how they are now moving. For example, the scanning we do at the beginning of movements lessons or the way in which we ask students attention to pay to the quality of movement. Establish a baseline so that the students can monitor the changes that will take place. Without this calibrating, students would not be able to later tell that a change has taken place, even though one has. Analogy of the first slice of bread in making a sandwich.

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So that changes can be effectively perceived, the student also needs to calibrate the range of comfort by to reducing effort, to decreasing speed, and minimizing range of motion. Weber-Fechner Law: What you notice is a ratio (Verhältnis). Therefore, in perception, comparison to background sensation is very important. For Gregory Bateson, Weber-Fechner signified a revolution in psychology— “What matters (in the world of living things) is difference, not energy!” In the world of living systems, nothing—the absence of something happening—can make a big difference! For inanimate objects, that is not the case because “nothing” makes no difference for them. Human beings are systems driven by differences. Contrast (Unterschiede machen, sich unterscheiden, gegenüberstellen, vergleichen) To differentiate. This bridges the gap between the 1st-person and 3rdperson voice, between observer and the person moving. One of the central insights of Moshe’s genius is the idea that undifferentiated movement implies undifferentiated perception. The Feldenkrais Method lives at this level, the level of contrasts. “I assume students are not aware of what they are doing. Their awareness won’t develop unless there are 2, or better, 3 or more ways to chose from, in the range of comfort. Their problems are possible because their variety is limited.” Paraphrasing Feldenkrais: If you have only one choice, you are like a rock. If you have two choices, you are like a light switch. If you three choices, then you begin to be human. Other approaches often (although not always) concentrate on simply substituting one way of behaving with another. Conjoin (begleiten, mit gehen) Dennis Leri calls this “arguing for the symptom.” This is also a central strategy of the Eriksonian perspective [based on the work of Milton Erickson]: “When all else fails, prescribe the symptom.” The teacher then sees the pattern as an accomplishment, and goes on to help the student to perform the pattern better. That could mean doing it without without pain or, if it’s about a child who repeatedly bangs his/her head against the wall, the teacher could help the child at the level of the pattern, not at the level of the problem. For example, if the child is doing this to get Foundations of Learning


attention, or to make people go away, then a way can be found to accomplish this intention better and in a healthier fashion. Sometimes it’s like taking half a step back to go 3 steps forward. We are not used to having someone really listen and really pay attention to us. Story of the FI Moshe did at Amherst that ended in dancing with the elderly woman student. Example of contact improvisation, where no one ‘leads,' but instead a conversation develops. Constrain (einschränken, begrenzen, fixieren) We take away freedom at one place to get it somewhere else. This is a very important building block in Feldenkrais lessons. We make something else the “fixed point.” For example, in the lesson yesterday, the constraints kept being changed— first we were on our hands and knees then on our backs with our four limbs hanging over our chests. Foundation (relationship to the supporting surface or surfaces) is often used intentionally as a constraint. A preliminary distinction: defining what is moving and what is moving it. Constraint requires seeing relationships, and these are reciprocal. That implies taking a relationship that could change (e.g., when two bones can move around the same joint), and preventing it from changing. Our physical work is never abstract, it always happens in the context of a particular movement. Otherwise, movement work can result in joint or soft tissue mobilization, or muscle relaxation, but not in learning. When we start to ask the question “When?” (e.g., “When does the pain arise—what are you doing, specifically?”), then we start doing Feldenkrais work. Barbara refers to Dr. Perfetti, an Italian neuropsychologist who said, “No movement is passive, because the patient is always being presented with the challenge of becoming aware.” People can make themselves passive, but even that is something they do. They actively withdraw from the conversation, or the idea of “conversation” is missing. Correlate (zusammenfugen, ergänzen) Using the word correlate, rather than coordinate, to emphasize the sensory aspect over the behavioral. The nervous system does the integrating--the teacher or therapist gives the clues so that the student can do the learning.

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Lesson 14—Coming to creeping 1. Scan your contact with the floor. What has changed--your contact with the floor or your ability to notice your contacts? Whatever has changed about your contact was a by-product of the movements you did; your contact did not change because an intention to directly alter it Scan the lengths of your limbs, noticing their length, width, and depth. What are the narrowest and widest places of each limb? 2. Supine. Start bringing your back closer and then farther away from floor. As you perform this action, let it recall the way you brought--could bring--your four limbs over your chest in characteristic curved paths. In particular, let your back coming away from the floor accompany the beginning of sliding the elbows and knees towards one another. Then, at a particular point, note how your back comes toward the floor to help you continue moving. Note also when your elbows need to leave the floor. This moment may not be as clear as for the legs. Continue to review and explore the movement of bringing your limbs up over your chest, eventually allowing them to rest there. 3. With your 4 limbs resting over your chest, start exploring the different options you have from the earlier lessons for rolling. Log (or book) rolling: let your R knee and R elbow move away from each other until they need to separate, coming to floor. Move your L knee and L elbow to the R and toward each other, until they come to the floor between your R elbow and knee. Sequential rolling: roll from R side-lying, starting with the eyes and head. Continue the movement by bringing your L elbow off your R. Then move your L hand away from your R hand, your L knee away from your R knee, your R knee away from the floor, and your R elbow away from the floor. Reverse this series when lying on the L side and continue rolling. Can you explore another sequential rolling pattern by leading with your legs… 4. From supine, take the sequence one step further, exploring rolling up to sidesitting, using a curvilinear path. Use these lessons, parts of lessons, and movements however you would like to in your own work. Warning against the kind of thinking that connects a particular technique, exercise, or movement to a particular ‘problem,' that is, “We always do xyz for low back pain." Foundations of Learning


Rest on your back. Scan the differences in the various combinations of knee to elbow distances, both internally and externally. 5. Continue the rolling into side-sitting, then develop this into the transition that brings you to standing on all 4’s (technically this is all 6s: feet, knees, and hands). An especially important transition point happens when taking the top of the head toward the floor between the hands. Feel how your pelvis needs to come up as a result of that intention to bringing your head toward the floor. Note how this effects the use of your weight through your arms. Review is important in teaching ATM, even though it is used infrequently. Forgetting is an important part of learning, part of its “ebb and flow.” The Chinese have called forgetting "the most important human ability.” 6. Roll from supine to your R, come up on your hands and knees, and start a small gentle rocking, up and down along your head-to-tail dimension. Note what you do with your head, spine, and pelvis… then rock with your face remaining parallel to the floor. Think of how your weight is shifting between hands and knees. Recap rocking with standing your toes L and R. As you rock, find out if there is an opportunity to push with your hands at one point and with your toes at another. Always move with the most minimal of effort. 7. Resting on your back, roll your head to the R a few times and note how far it goes easily. Then do only 90% of what you can, and imagine the remaining 10%. Continue in this mode, doing progressively less and imagining progressively more—you always imagine going to the end of the movement, no matter how little you actually move. 8. Begin rolling from supine to the L, eventually to come up being on your forearms, knees, feet. Move through side-sitting with your L leg in front. Note in particular how you bring your weight forward so that your pelvis lifts off the floor. How do you regulate the return of your pelvis to the floor so you do not crash? Continuing this movement, coming up to hands and knees instead of your elbows and knees. Investigate how small the movement of your head and chest can become and how light and effortless the transition from sitting to hands and knees can be. Note that instructions are more directly about constraints and giving fewer specific, detailed directions for movements. This gives you a greater chance to learn. 9. Coming again to your hands and knees, continue to investigate rocking forward and back, with and without having your toes standing. Notice how having the toes as-if-for-running changes the way that weight is transmitted Foundations of Learning


to your arm and hands. With B toes standing, start pushing through your R toes to bring your R knee slightly off the floor (keeping your toes remaining in contact with floor) and lowering it gently back to the floor. To make picking up your knee easier, keep your weight-shift going forward and back rather than moving sideways intentionally. What is happening during the weight-shift now? Where does your weight go? Explore this movement with your L knee and with your L toes pushing into the floor. Explore the movement with B toes pushing and B knees lifting at the same time. Continue this movement, placing your knees down forward of where they started and leave them there. Then slide your hand forward and start again… Note, that the movement is not about flexing or extending your back to make it. Your spine stays relatively straight. Therapy Joke: Husband to wife, after he has been going to therapy for a few weeks, “I haven’t changed at all, but you certainly have!” Another definition of a habit: Where we do not even think there could be a difference, a change. 10. As in ‘9,’ start pushing from your L toes only now. Note which hand has more weight coming onto it. Rock several times between each push, seeing if you can determine from where the knee comes forward. What allows the knee to move forward? Does it have to do with the last rock backwards? There can be different motivations for learning, different ways people are organized to learn. You can change to avoid pain or you can change to move towards pleasure. Which strategy do you use? What are the consequences of each? Shift your L knee forward. Slide your R hand forward as a consequence of your L knee having started to move. 11. Rest on your back. Roll your head to the L several times. As in ‘7,' imagine progressively more and more while doing less and less. 12. On hands and knees again: repeat the last few steps with your R toes pushing. Eventually let your L hand come forward as a consequence of your R knee moving.

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13. Lie on your back with arms at your sides, palms facing down. With your R hand, start turning the palm toward facing in the direction of the ceiling. Start very small and notice echoes up the arm and further. Explore going a bit farther and see what happens. 14. Return to being on your hands and knees. With your toes standing, alternate pushing with your feet to bring your R knee and L hand forward, then your L knee and R hand forward. 15. As in ‘13,’ with your L arm. 16. Return to movement in ‘14,’ moving your L and R knees, along with your opposite hands, in a reciprocal pattern. Note if your knee or your hand moves first. When you intentionally move your hand first (and then start to put weight on it), which knee wants to move next? 17. Supine, bring all 4 limbs over your chest and leave them there. Take your R knee up towards your head and back . . . then your L elbow in direction of head and back . . . then do both at once. Pay attention also to what is not moving (that is, your R elbow and L knee). Explore these movements on the other side. Start to alternate sides. 18. On your hands and knees, resume investigating “crawling.” (Technically, this is “creeping.”) 19. Again on your hands and knees, begin crossing your R knee behind your L and then uncross. Do this many times… After you cross and uncross your knee repeatedly, begin to move towards sitting back on your R foot--without moving the whole way--and return. Uncross your knees, sit back toward your feet, and repeat the crossing . . . Repeat on the other side. 20. As in ‘19,’ only now bring your R knee in front of your L knee to cross. If this is too big a step to take, just bring your R knee forward as to move between your hands. Repeat a few times. Notice what you have to do with your head, spine, and pelvis. Note also how the weight distribution on your hands and knees needs to change. Return to crossing your R knee in front of your L knee. After your legs are crossed, start to sit back towards your L foot. Come back up, uncross your R knee, and--with lower legs parallel--sit back a bit toward your feet and return. Repeat the whole thing, many times. Explore these movements with your L knee crossing in front of the R.

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Definition of a ‘genius’: Someone who finds other ways to do something he or she already knows how to do. 21. On your hands and knees, now start to explore how you can move forward. First cross your R knee in front of your L, then cross your L knee in front of your R. Each time you start the movement, does your knee or your hand move first? In order to move backwards, start crossing one knee behind the other and then carry on in that way. 22. Return to the “plain crawl,” without crossing of your knees. See what you notice about your ease of moving. What can you sense about the connection between your toes, knees, and hands? Continue moving and forget paying attention to all the details. Just have a good time moving around, forwards, backwards. Go visiting. Explore the “bear variation,” with your hands and arms internally rotated. 23. Rest on your back. Do an extensive scan of distances and relationships, internally and externally, making the process fast and easy. 24. Return to original movement of the workshop: bringing your 4 limbs over chest in curvilinear pathways. Rest. End of Lesson.

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Lab 5—Group consultation Groups of 3 or 4. Each participant takes a turn to present a specific “problem,” patient, or student. The others suggest strategies based on what we have learned this week. Start with:

(a) A description of the behavior (b) The mover’s (likely) perception. (c) What do students need to notice, so that they can do it better or differently? (d) What experience can you give your students, so that they can change their own perception? Generate at least 3 possibilities.

The idea is to figure out how your students can go outside of their habitual frame or context, notice something new, and come back to the original frame (nested structures). A few suggestions about how to make these groups fail: (a) Be vague in your description of the problem. (b) Try to ‘fix’ the problem. (c) Figure out what’s wrong with each suggestion.

Farewell comments Make time to reflect upon and to think through what you have done here. For the first few days, do not try to apply these things directly; instead, see what comes, what evolves. After a while, you can explore what you have learned in situations where you already have a few other ideas about what you could do. It makes your exploration safer if the new strategies are not your only possibility for a solution. This way the situation remains safer for you and more conducive to learning. Recall the difference between knowing, not knowing, and finding out.


Foundations of Learning



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