This week I was people watching, and noticing how early it is that we start to move in less than ideal ways. Watching a young man walk down the street outside a coffee shop (one of my first since Lockdown) I could see how he may have difficulties walking in later life, and where I would expect him to have pain, if he didn’t change anything about the way that he moves in the interim.
And the reality is, for many of us, its only when we experience pain or difficulty with some aspect of moving that we start to think that perhaps we need to do something about it. why not head it all off at the pass- we can’t change that we are aging, but we can change how we age.
I’ve had a head start on re-thinking my walking: I spent much of my childhood in hospital (Great Ormond Street) having leg operations and in a great deal of pain when walking as my legs grew. I had painful nightly “exercises” where my parents had to force my legs straight and my ankles to right angles multiple times. I would have to not cry when it hurt, as it would make it too difficult for them to do it for me. I slept in full length splints to keep the legs straight, and the feet at right angles during the night. As you can imagine its pretty hard to sleep like that, and I was only allowed to take them off after a certain length of time (they were held on with vast amounts of velcro, so there was no sneaking them off without my parents or siblings hearing!)
I had to relearn to walk several times after very long periods in plaster. So my questions are fundamental: how can I stay walking and moving, with as little discomfort as possible, given that my legs never worked as well as everyone else’s? And at the end, although I have a different starting point, its a universal question.
Its the reason I came to Feldenkrais, why I use it as one of my main resources in continually working on improving the way I move, and along with it, my self image/sense of self has changed, grown and matured. And of course, now I share that knowledge in teaching the Method.
Seeing how my trainers moved during my training was one of the inspirations. All in their 60s+, and all moving like people far younger. One was Ruthy Alon, a trainer who studied with Feldenkrais herself for many years. She’s in her 80s, and moves with the fluency and elegance of a 16 year old.
In terms of improving how we move, and with it how we think and feel, to grow as a person, Feldenkrais is your best bet. Coming to a weekly class creates a learning opportunity to improve the quality of your movement, and thinking over a longer span of time. Its cumulative learning, like so much of the learning that we do organically.
Moshe Feldenkrais wrote that:
“Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.”
If you’d like to know more about how to join me in weekly lessons, which as they’re on Zoom are accessible wherever you are, click here: