We Get What We Practice From time to time, I think of the saying “We become what we repeatedly do” (Will Durant) or my own version – we get what we practice. Sometimes though, we’re not aware of what we’re doing. We may actually be doing something different than we think! And that little difference could be making our life less pleasant. Like turning around this cargo ship, it can seem overwhelming to change our long-held movement or postural habits. But it’s not impossible. We influence the big picture by our small daily decisions. Even a tiny change, a one-degree shift in direction, can radically change the destination. It won’t happen all at once; it requires ongoing attention and willingness
Sometimes actual movement seems impossible. Perhaps we are in great pain, perhaps actual movement is non-existent due to a neurological or other event. We don’t need to give up in these instances! Visualization is a powerful technique for improving brain function and movement. Dr. Feldenkrais employed this approach in many lessons, long before visualization became a staple of athletic and performance training as it is today. Here’s a little guidance and what the research is saying about this technique.
In Trouble? Twenty Questions to Explore
OUCH! My shoulder hurts! What did a do? Did a sleep on it wrong?
When your usual go-to movement solutions don’t work consider asking yourself some questions. Take some time to explore – slowly, within your comfort range, breathing easily. See what you discover about the situation and your approach to such difficulties. With a little practice, you’ll be able to find relief and will probably move a bit easier in the process.
Attention: Key to Improved Movement
Sometimes people think that kinesthetic ability is something you either have or you don’t. That capacity to sense where we are in space, how parts of ourselves relate to each other and how we relate to our environment when stationary or when moving can be learned and improved. If you find yourself bumping into things, feel uncoordinated or just out of touch with yourself, check out these suggestions for improving your ability to notice things – and to change your movement habits and attitude in the process.
Should I Practice This at Home?
For many, a Feldenkrais movement class is a once, or perhaps twice a week, experience. Like many things, the more time we invest in something, the more rewards we realize. As this article explores, repetition by itself is not the answer. Follow these specific instructions and notice how your ability to sense your movement, alignment and posture grows. And how your ease of movement, comfort, perhaps even coordination and strength improve too. I’ve included several suggestions to expand your movement “practice.”
Move Slowly With Attention
Mindful movement allows us to move well as we age, to feel our best as birthdays come and go. Sure, we can learn and refine our ability to pay attention to ourselves in classes like Awareness Through Movement®, Tai Chi or yoga. But is shouldn’t end there. We know that many types of exercise are crucial to healthy aging and mindfulness can be applied in these more dynamic situations. In fact, the benefits reach far beyond our exercise performance, though that can be affected. Here’s some research on this topic.