Updated 1/11/22: After the first class there was a lovely discussion that inspired me to write a few more reflections on balance. I’ve copied them at the bottom of this post. -Nick
Tuesdays in January, 9:30-10:30 AM US Central time, with live discussion after class
Led by Nick Strauss-Klein. A recording will be emailed to all registrants Tuesday afternoons, along with free Feldenkrais lesson “homework” to explore between classes if you wish.
It’s ice season here in Minnesota, so by request from our local Zoomers we’re focusing on balance this month, and everyone can benefit! Join us live or by recording for lessons designed to improve balance in fascinating ways.
Balance is the fundamental task of being human and existing in gravity. It’s at the intersection of neurology and physics, and in fact it’s the #1 reason we have the amazing brain we have!
Sense for yourself that balance is about awareness, coordination, and agility of your whole self – and learn how to improve in all those ways. We’ll also dispel the myths that it’s about strength, or focusing on particular muscles.
Through the miraculous transferable wisdom of our nervous system we’ll mostly develop better balance in the safety and ease of lying down lessons. And when we explore in standing you’ll have a chair or wall to touch for safety.
Join us on Zoom if you can! Live participants have the added benefit of unrecorded Q&A and discussion after class.
Can’t attend live? That’s ok! Whether or not you’re on the Zoom call all registrants automatically receive the lesson recording in video, audio, streamable, and downloadable formats.
Here are some reflections I shared lesson notes sent with the January 4, 2022 Zoom class called “Better Balance 1: Knee on a Pillow”
This month we’ll be examining our own experience of many elusive-but-simple concepts about balance. I like to think of balance as the essential, primary intersection of physics and the human brain. It’s wonderful to think about how evolution favored bipedalism in humans! We get to be light on our two little feet and enjoy skillful, free hands that aren’t solving gravity problems like animal forelimbs must. Dealing with gravity with a vertical spine and only two limbs allows us to move in ways far more varied and complex than animals, which led our brains to grow bigger and bigger as our bipedal skills developed over millions of years.
Because of the miraculously unstable design of humans we are fundamentally precarious, yet full of redundancies in our nervous system that give us ample awareness, coordination, and agility skills to be successful “upside-down pendulums”. There’s always potential to improve balance, and even small improvements can free up vast swaths of our brains to become more skillful and effective in literally anything we want to do.
So balance is…a bit important!
Today’s lesson focused on developing awareness, coordination, and agility of your hip joints. In the unrecorded after-class discussion one student mentioned that his center of gravity felt noticeably lower, and this was an accurate noticing of personal physics: with broader functional options available for the hips, pelvis, and spine our brains will spontaneously get our pelvis more “under” our top in any action, even simply walking. Since hips are so important to balance we’ll be exploring other hip-related lessons this month.
We are naturally attracted to sensations created whenever we have enough time, comfort, and curiosity to experience our personal biomechanics agreeing more simply with physics. This is true even though our personal biomechanics are never “ideal” or perfectly symmetrical. Attending to these attractive sensations leads to changes in self-image and spontaneous behaviors, and better habits developing over time.
Feldenkrais lessons are designed to create that kind of learning-from-yourself environment. As always our route into the brain is using movement and attention to generate sensations that our nervous system excels at digesting and making good use of.
The January 11, 2022 Zoom lesson called “Better Balance 2: Advanced Pelvic Clock” is a direct followup to January 4.