Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tuesday March 21: Just Relax, Dude

Just relax, say well meaning folks, and sometimes we can do it, and sometimes not. Often, when we can do it, it is the shifting of attention that does it, a shifting of attention into the present and the awarenesses that come along with that: Ohmygod, I’m all tense in my shoulders. My, my: I’m not breathing. Oh, no wonder: I have my jaw all tensed up or my shoulders crunched.

This gives us access to breathing into and releasing some of the holding in areas that we have discovered to be tense. It doesn’t do us much good with areas that we don’t notice, but hey, it’s a great start.

So, we could say that to “relax,” we come into the present, scan our selves for tense areas and do our best to allow those areas to become less tense. There are famous, help you to get to sleep, help you get ready for hypnosis or guided meditation exercises that specify an accentuation of that: you find what’s tense, make it more tense, really squeeze down and then let go. This is good. By taking responsibility for making the tension, we have a better idea of how to undo that tension.

In Feldenkrais we don’t talk about relaxation much, we talk of spreading out the work, so that the lower back, say isn’t doing work that the things and the pelvis and the mid-back could be helping along, of the fingers are doing all the work on playing a musical instrument without the help of the wrists and arms and shoulders and back and spine and pelvis.

We also talk of letting the big muscles do the big work, and we talk of moving from the center of ourselves, which is about the same thing, usually. We talk of the core muscle, which is the brain: whose job it is to understand how to move us with ease and efficiency. You’ve heard a lot about core muscles around the pelvic area and if you want to be buff, get those puppies strong. If you want to be smart and flexible and strong, get the brain muscle working.

How? Just relax? No. Just wake up to the movements and where they are habit and where you can get out of those habits. How to do that? Come to Feldenkrais lessons, or else, have the patience to do ordinary things very slowly and vary the way you do them, and start making discoveries. When we start making discoveries our brain is very happy, and we begin to move in a more “relaxed” way, not to be relaxed, but for the pleasure and ease of it. It feels good to learn and to move with ease.


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