This is post on feldyforum by Amie Slate from 29 Jul 2005.
Many practitioners, from Moshe’s first graduates to the most recent, have ended their training feeling confused about how to put what they learned into practice. Various people have spent long hours and even years creating frameworks to use to find an ATM, to choose a lesson theme or even to understand the next movement to proceed to in an FI. As effective as the Feldenkrais Method is, there is something about our work which is still beyond our ability to grasp concretely. Many workshops are offered with the theme of “Pulling it all together”.
Every time I learned about someone’s conceptual organization, I hoped that it would lead to some delightful relief in that tension of not really knowing what I’m doing. (I don’t mean that I don’t have confidence in what I do. But as we were taught in my training, I often have to TRUST that what I’m doing works without really KNOWING. I’d like to add a little more of Moshe’s famous dictum in my practice: When you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want!)
Each time I came across a new conceptual scheme, it was useful, interesting, helpful but never conclusive. Recently, I have begun to think that perhaps it would be useful to think of all these schemes in an additive way. Just as I felt I learned more about what the Feldenkrais Method really is by being exposed to many different teachers, maybe looking at all these schemes together would bring a new picture. So I began systematizing those that I’ve encountered. This list could go a lot further but here’s a start.
Some of these schemes are specifically related to ATM lessons. Others are schemes for creating an FI out of all the possibilities available to us. Yet others are related to conceptualizing an overarching theme with which to organize our thinking about Feldenkrais work.
Alphabetical by lesson title. Lesson titles, of course, are not always memorable or evocative. Here is an example which is online and thus searchable:
POSITION or ORIENTATION
– chair lessons
– standing lessons
– lying on the back
– lying prone
– active lessons
– quiet lessons
Dennis Leri’s MOVEMENT PRIMITIVES
– folding (including flexion, extension and side-bending)
– turning or pivoting
– lengthening and shortening
One of the first categorizing schemes I was introduced to was that of child development. In this scheme, human development is seen as a process in which “success of each stage depends on the successful completion of the previous one.”
– Rolling over
– From rolling to crawling
– From crawling to independent sitting
– From sitting to standing and walking
– From homo-lateral movment to contra-lateral movment
– Balance mechanisms in varying fields of gravity
– Gross and fine motor control
– Coordination and orientation
– Developing speech and language
“Feldenkrais teachers joke when they see a baby: ‘Look,’ they say, ‘it’s doing Feldenkrais.'”
“The long process of coping with balance begins at a very early age, with the movement from back to the stomach. This basic movement paves the way for organising posture and balance, and prepares the ground for crawling, which in turn leads to sitting, standing and walking. Within the major functions like crawling on the stomach and on all fours, sitting, and the transition to standing, are more basic functions such as breast-feeding, eye-hand contact and breathing. The development of the baby’s movement procedures is constructed layer by layer.”. Shai Silberbush
SPIFFER by Larry Goldfarb
“SPIFFER is a framework for making explicit and rigorous observations of human movement based on the perspective of the Feldenkrais Method® of sensory-motor education.”
– SEQUENCE, the chain of movement through the skeleton
– PATH, a trajectory through space
– INITIATION, the starting place
– FOUNDATION, base of support and its relationship to COG
– FLOW, quality of movement
– EFFORT, distribution and coordination
Larry also uses a categorization for ATM’s based on the concept of ‘CONTACT.’ Lessons can be categorized as being about:
– coming to rest (greater contact)
– orbitting around contact
– launching from contact and landing
FIVE KEYS by Alan Questel
“These five key elements of organization significantly influence the success of our lessons, deepen our understanding and act as a source of more complete ‘patterns of action’.”
– FREEING THE LOWER ABDOMEN
– MOBILIZING THE HIP JOINTS
– PROXIMAL USE OF SELF
– ACTIONS CONNECTED TO THE STUDENT’S LIFE
Then there’s the familiar pull towards categorizing lessons according to parts of the anatomy. For instance, Peter Dawson, a Feldenkrais Practitioner in Australia, has set up these lesson categories for his students to choose from:
– HEAD NECK
TYPE of MOVEMENT & FOCUS of ATTENTION by Frank Wildman
1. Folding and unfolding the front of the body while on the back
2. Moving from a line into a ball and back into a line-sidelying, front and back.
3. Bending backwards, maintaining length-on stomach, sitting, standing, sidelying, or on the back pulling head through arm bridge.
4. Lateral bending-on the side, in standing, in sitting, on front or back. Example: amphibious or reptilian movements.
5. Sensing separate segments of the body in rotation-on the side, sitting, standing, or lying on the back with crossed arms, leading rotation with arms or hand.
6. Rolling the body across the floor involving head orientation, differentiation of the trunk, initiating through distal parts of the body, rolling by primarily flexing or by primarily extending.
7. Moving from the center of the body with precision-pelvic clock.
8. Orienting the whole body from the head-rolling lessons, walking, etc.
9. Learning to sit. All the ways of moving in a chair and sitting.
10. Learning to breathe more freely.
11. Getting up from the floor to sitting.
12. Getting up to standing-from a chair or from the floor.
14. Developmental movements that parallel the evolution of motion.
15. Discovering the midline-bridging, using rollers.
16. Crossing arms over or under the midline to roll or reach.
17. Crossing legs over or under the midline.
18. Lessons involving circular joint actions of the shoulders, hips, or that involve moving any segment of the body in circular planes.
19. Hands holding feet lessons.
20. Feeling the skeleton.
21. Working with pressure against the floor.
22. Developing imagination lessons.
23. Proximal distal relationships.
24. Distal to proximal relationships. Example: all the ways of reaching with arms or legs.
25. Transference of a lesson to a standing function.
26. Lessons whose primary actions involve the jaw.
27. Lessons whose primary focus is on the eyes.