Awareness Through Movement

Awareness Through Movement by Dr. Moshe Feldenkraisより抜粋


Movement is the best clue to the activity of the nervous system. Spasticity tremors, all varieties of paralysis, ataxia, impeded speech and poor muscular control in general, indicate injury or derangement of function of the brain stem or other parts of the nervous system.




There is no means of making somebody do any movement whatsoever unless by one means or another we induce his nervous system to send the impulses that will contract the necessary muscles in the right patterns or assemblies and the right sequences in time. Movement or its absence show the state of the nervous system, its hereditary endowment and its degree of development.





When born, we can do very little voluntary movement besides crying and contracting all the flexors in an undifferentiated global effort. We learn by experience to roll, to crawl, to sit up, to walk, to speak, to run, to jump, to balance, rotate and do whatever we are capable of performing as adults.




Our consciousness becomes gradually adjusted to our surrounding environment in all its varieties. The first contacts with the outside world are through the skin and mouth. Later we learn to use our members separately and regulate them through seeing them. The major problem is differentiation of movements. Thus the ring finger will remain clumsy unless we play an instrument or make a special point of learning to move it at will. We end up by bringing the all-or-none response of the primitive muscular contraction to a more or less perfectly differentiated voluntary activity. We come to this so to speak naturally: i.e., without awareness of the process involved, nor of the state or degree of perfection achieved in our apprenticeship- provided, of course, that we are not grossly lacking in our achievement as compared with others. There must be a real impediment to make us aware of something wrong. The majority of us achieve a happy-go-lucky mediocrity, just enough to make us one of the many.




My system or technique of bringing about better maturation of our nervous system uses the reversibility relationship of our muscular and nervous systems. Both the nervous system and the muscles have evolved in the gravitational field, which sets the standard both for the development and apprenticeship of each individual, and also for the species on the evolutionary level.




The extraordinary development of the frontal lobes (the supralimbic system in general) in man, shows that the functioning of these is an evolutionary improvement and helps towards the survival of the fittest. This new development of the human brain is by and large becoming effective through its growth after birth and is thus being directed and molded through personal individual experience. The result is an extraordinary opportunity, given to no other animal, to build up a body of learned responses, and also makes him vulnerable because of the dangers of going wrong. Other animals have their responses to most stimuli "wired into" their nervous systems in the form of instinctive patterns of action and go wrong more rarely.




We go wrong more easily than any other creature and -what is even more aggravating - we have little opportunity of becoming aware of where we went wrong, as we are the learner and the judge at the same time; and our judgment depends upon, and is limited to, our learning achievements.



It is almost obvious from our analysis, that to improve we have to better our judgment. But this is back where we started, as judgment is the result of learning, which, being adults, we completed long ago.




To break this vicious circle, we use the basic quality of the supralimbic part of our brain, which is able to sense and abstract and often even express in words the "goings on" in our bodies. On reducing all stimuli to their bare minimum, we also reduce to their absolute lowest value any change in our muscular system and senses, in general. (This is the Fechner-Weber law in practice.) We thus increase our sensitivity to its maximum and can therefore distinguish the finer details that were beyond us and escaped our notice even when we tried. We are like a person who has suffered from color blindness and could not see any difference between red and green, to whom the ability to differentiate has been restored.





Once the ability to differentiate is improved, the details of the self or surroundings can be sensed and the rest is only a question of experience, practice, time and attention.




As we become aware of what we are doing in fact, and not what we say or think we are doing, the way to improvement is wide open to us. The correction of the deviations discovered is a problem in itself. But in general, the wired-in tendency to optimal conditions takes care of that to a certain extent.




To begin with, the lessons are in the lying position, prone or supine, to facilitate the breaking down of habitual muscular patterns. The habitual pressures on the sole of the feet and the ensuing configuration of the skeletal joints are suppressed, and the nervous system does not receive the habitual afferent stimuli due to gravitation and the efferent impulses are not linked into the habitual patterns. After the lessons, on returning to receive the habitual stimuli, one is surprised to discover a changed response to them.




To facilitate such a result, the lessons should be done as slowly as possible, and as pleasantly as possible, with no strain or pain whatsoever; the main object is not training in what one knows, but to discover unknown new reactions in oneself and thereby learn a better, more congenial way of acting.




The lightness of the movements should be a major concern so that after 15 or 20 repetitions the initial effort should drop to practically nothing more than the thought of it. This produces the maximum sensitivity in the person and enables him to detect the minute changes in the efferent tonus and the change in alignment of the different parts of the body.




In the end one should improve to the point where one feels that one’s body is hanging lightly from the head, so that the feet do not stamp on the ground and the body glides when moving.




The head, carrying all the teleceptors – the eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth – which turns right and left in almost every movement of the attention to changes in the space around us, should in the end turn with a smoothness unequalled by the most perfect man-made mechanism. Of all the teleceptors the eyes can also move relatively to the head, and their movement in the direction of the head’s rotation or the opposite to it, should be gliding and easy if the head is to move as it should.




Training a body to perfect all the possible forms and configurations of its members changes not only the strength and flexibility of the skeleton and muscles, but makes a profound change in the self-image and the quality of direction of the self.





            翻訳 フェルデンクライスWEST翻訳チーム


             監修 藤井里佳



Bones for Life


住所: 〒532-0003