Bending Over: How Are You Doing It?

National Public Radio (NPR) recently did a story on the “lost art” of bending over. Spoiler: it’s only been lost in the West; other cultures still practice it.

Bending over illustrated.

Photo: Jean Couch.

If you’ve had private lessons with me, you’ve worked on this in nearly every lesson: re-discovering how to bend over, how to come from sitting to standing. Essential!

“. . . when you hip hinge, your spine stays in a neutral position. The bending occurs at the hip joint — which is the king of motion.” — NPR

Please note: this requires time and practice to re-discover as an adult. Please go slowly. Begin by thinking, “I’m taking my sit bones back. And my spine is like a pendulum. My head’s at one end, my pelvis at the other.”

Which Letter of the Alphabet is Your Spine Making?

L - Red handwritten letterYou can use the alphabet to help discover your pattern. Are you making a C-shape (rounding) as you bend over?

Or are you maintaining an L-shape with your spine and hips?

As You Practice Bending

If you’re practicing bending over, it’s key to understand, to feel, where your hip joints are located (about 15 centimeters above the crease at the top of your pant leg). Also essential: to realize that your pelvic girdle has three moving parts.

Surfer riding a wave.To see this principle in action, watch elite athletes. Speed skaters, surfers, weightlifters. No way you can lift 100 pounds or more overhead without damaging yourself, unless you take full advantage of your pelvic opportunity.

Practice every time you need to bend over. You’ll be so glad!

If you have back or hip pain, the more you understand and can bend over in this way, at your hip joints, the less pain you’ll have. And if you don’t have pain, you’ll lessen the chance of creating it.

Find the full NPR story  on bending here.

Let me know if you’d like to book a consultation to talk about how we can work together to help you practice this “lost” art.

Back Pain Solutions in CROOKED

Front cover of CROOKED, book on back pain solutionsIf you have back pain or know someone who does, please read Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry & Getting On the Road to Recovery. Crooked was painstakingly researched by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, an investigative reporter who sought relief for her own back pain.

The first part of the book focuses on what doesn’t work. Heartbreaking. Luckily, you can skip like I did to the second part, which focuses on solutions, including the Feldenkrais Method®.

Jakobson Ramin writes: “Well before you finish reading Crooked, you’ll understand that the pain in your back (or your hip or your leg) also exists in a political, psychological and economic context that greatly influences how you’ll be treated – and if you’ll recover. You’ll know which approaches are likely to reliably bring you some relief, and exactly what’s involved in each.”

What’s effective for relieving back pain

One thing all the effective modalities, including Feldenkrais, share: the client must actively engage in shifting the patterns which cause pain. None of these modalities are quick fixes: they require ongoing practice leading to self-empowerment and transformation.

The force of habit

ATM student explores how her spine moves.

ATM® student explores how her spine moves. Photo: Henry Biber.

We create chronic pain through habits of self-use. Because they’re habits, they’re hard for us to identify ourselves: we often need help from an expert. Even once we identify movement patterns which are harming us, they’re difficult to correct. Moshe Feldenkrais writes, in Awareness Through Movement: “For both the fault and the way in which it appears in action must be corrected. We need a great deal of persistence and enough knowledge to enable us to move according to what we know rather than according to habit. . . . Some conscious mental effort must be made until the adjusted position ceases to feel abnormal and becomes the new habit.” (p. 60)

Resources for back pain solutions

Angela Alston, GCFP, works with a student.

A Feldenkrais lesson with Angela Alston, GCFP. Photo: Henry Biber.

Jakobson Ramin has provided an invaluable resource: online sources for back pain solutions. She adds this note: “Unlike most back pain websites, there are no advertising dollars at play here: No resource paid to appear on these pages, and none ever will.

If you live near Dallas and would like to investigate how the Feldenkrais Method can help you relieve your back pain, please contact me, Angela Alston, GCFP.

 

Focus on Your Pelvis

6-Week Series in N. Dallas, Oak Lawn, & The Cedars

Are you ready to free your pelvis?Discover dynamic posture Mar 21 with the Feldenkrais Method!

Bring awareness to how you use your hip joints and sacrum, and their relationship to the rest of your skeleton. If you’d like to sit, stand and walk with greater ease, you’ll benefit from this series.

Illustration of human pelvis.[Fun fact: you have no pelvis. You actually have a three-part structure: your sacrum in the center, surrounded by what we’re calling your ischial wings (thanks to Russ Mitchell for coining the phrase!). Because there’s no word in the English language for them! Learn more about this part of your skeleton, your power center, here.]

Our over-arching theme for winter and spring 2018: Discover Yourself from the Ground Up.

Awareness Through Movement® (ATM®) offers a unique, profound way to examine and change your habitual and often limiting patterns of moving. You learn most movement practices from the outside in, by imitation. In ATM, you’re invited to learn from the inside out. Take your discoveries into another movement practice or your everyday life.

Choose: Mondays in Far North Dallas at MoveStudio, or Tuesdays in Oak Lawn at Dallas Feldenkrais, or Wednesdays in The Cedars (near downtown) at GoodWork.

LIMIT: 20 participants at MoveStudio, 5 at Dallas Feldenkrais, 10 at GoodWork.

WHEN & WHERE: MoveStudio, Mondays, Feb. 19-Mar. 26, 6:25-7:30 pm (register here).
Dallas Feldenkrais, Tuesdays, Feb. 20-Mar. 27, 6:30-7:45 pm (register here).
GoodWork, Wednesdays, Feb. Feb. 21-Mar. 28, 5:00-6:15 pm (register here).

$105 in all locations.

Gaga & Toolbox Workshop with Amy Morrow

Join us for a 3-day Gaga experience for dancers & people in Dallas.
“While Gaga is a serious new way of training the body, it is also about connecting to pleasure and. . . realizing that there’s nothing wrong with being silly.”
— Gia Kourlas,
The New York Times
 
People explore Gaga movement lying on the floor.

Gaga is a new way of gaining knowledge and self-awareness through your body. PHOTO: Gadi Dagon.

You’ll be guided using a series of evocative movement instructions that build on each other. Rather than copying a movement, you’ll actively explore these instructions, discovering how you interpret the information and perform the task at hand. It’s a creative framework for you to connect to with your body and imagination, increase physical awareness, improve flexibility and stamina, and experience the pleasure of movement in a welcoming, accepting atmosphere.

Led by Amy Diane Morrow, who graduated from the inaugural teacher training program directed by founder Ohad Naharin.
 
Open to people ages 16+, regardless of their background in dance or movement. All you need is curiosity!
Limit: 35. Room for 10 more as of 1/8.
 
COST
Advance: $150 (Jan. 5 on)
At door: $175 (if space remains)
Please contact us to discuss special rates for your studio or dance company.
 
Register on Brown Paper Tickets. Or if you prefer, send a check made out to “Dallas Feldenkrais” to:
3515 Cedar Springs Rd., Suite 102
Dallas TX 75219
 
SCHEDULE
Friday, 1/26
7pm | Gaga Session
8-9pm | Toolbox Session
 
Saturday & Sunday, 1/27 & 1/28
11am | Gaga Session
1-3pm | Toolbox Session
 
Wear comfortable clothes. Be ready to dance barefoot or in socks. Bring a bottle for water and a towel.
 
Gaga is a new way of gaining knowledge and self-awareness through your body. Gaga provides a framework for discovering and strengthening your body and adding flexibility, stamina, and agility while lightening the senses and imagination. Gaga raises awareness of physical weaknesses, awakens numb areas, exposes physical fixations, and offers ways for their elimination. The work improves instinctive movement and connects conscious and unconscious movement, and it allows for an experience of freedom and pleasure in a simple way, in a pleasant space, in comfortable clothes, accompanied by music, each person with himself and others. Its emphasis on self-discovery complements Awareness Through Movement®.
Presented by Dallas Movement Lab, in partnership with The Theorists & Arts Mission Oak Cliff.

Focus on Feet Fridays

Would you like to:

  • Walk on feet which feel like pillows?
  • Clarify what good balance feels like?
  • Experience ease in standing?
  • Discover what some of the 26 bones in your feet are good for?
Illustration of a human foot with connective tissue

Diagram of a human foot with connective tissue

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, join us for this series!

Our over-arching theme for winter and spring 2018: Discover Yourself from the Ground Up.

In this six-week series, we’ll begin by building the foundation: investigating the structure and function of your feet. Though the focus will be your feet, each lesson will include all of you.

[Fun fact: you have no ankles! Those knobs above your feet are the ends of your tibia and fibula bones!]

You learn most movement practices from the outside in, by imitation. In Awareness Through Movement®, you’re invited to learn from the inside out. Take your discoveries into another movement practice or your everyday life.

6 Fridays, Jan. 12-Feb. 16, 5:00-6:15 pm. $105.
Limit: 5 participants. Room for 1 more as of 1/6.

Focus on Feet in Oak Lawn

Would you like to:

  • Walk on feet which feel like pillows?
  • Clarify what good balance feels like?
  • Experience ease in standing?
  • Discover what some of the 26 bones in your feet are good for?
Illustration of a human foot with connective tissue

Diagram of a human foot with connective tissue

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, join us for this series!

Our over-arching theme for winter and spring 2018: Discover Yourself from the Ground Up.

In this six-week series, we’ll begin by building the foundation: investigating the structure and function of your feet. Though the focus will be your feet, each lesson will include all of you.

[Fun fact: you have no ankles! Those knobs above your feet are the ends of your tibia and fibula bones!]

You learn most movement practices from the outside in, by imitation. In Awareness Through Movement®, you’re invited to learn from the inside out. Take your discoveries into another movement practice or your everyday life.

6 Tuesdays, Jan. 9-Feb. 3, 6:30-7:45 pm. $105.
Limit: 5 participants. Room for 1 more as of 1/4.

Focus on Feet in N. Dallas

Would you like to:

  • Walk on feet which feel like pillows?
  • Clarify what good balance feels like?
  • Experience ease in standing?
  • Discover what some of the 26 bones in your feet are good for?
Illustration of a human foot with connective tissue

Diagram of a human foot with connective tissue

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, join us for this series!

Our over-arching theme for winter and spring 2018: Discover Yourself from the Ground Up.

In this 6-week series, we’ll begin by building the foundation: investigating the structure and function of your feet. Though the focus will be your feet, each lesson will include all of you.

[Fun fact: you have no ankles! Those knobs above your feet are the ends of your tibia and fibula bones!]

You learn most movement practices from the outside in, by imitation. In Awareness Through Movement®, you’re invited to learn from the inside out. Take your discoveries into another movement practice or your everyday life.

6 Mondays, Jan. 8-Feb. 2, 6:25-7:30 pm. $105.
Limit: 15 participants. Room for 1 more as of 1/4.
Register on the MoveStudio website.

Awareness Through Movement in Oak Lawn

Join us to re-discover your innate strength and capacity to learn.

A woman and man practice Awareness Through Movement.

Copyright © International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive, Robert Golden.

Register for just one class or all four December classes.

We’ll investigate movement patterns which are the building blocks for sitting, standing , and walking.

Take your discoveries into your dance or other movement practice or into your everyday life.

Mondays, Dec. 4-18, 6:30-7:45 pm. Limit: 5. Advance registration required.

Awareness Through Movement in Oak Lawn

Join us to re-discover your innate strength and capacity to learn.

A woman and man practice Awareness Through Movement.

Copyright © International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive, Robert Golden.

Register for just one class or all four December classes.

We’ll investigate movement patterns which are the building blocks for sitting, standing , and walking.

Take your discoveries into your dance or other movement practice or into your everyday life.

Mondays, Dec. 4-18, 6:30-7:45 pm. Limit: 5. Advance registration required.

Awareness Through Movement in Oak Lawn

Join us to re-discover your innate strength and capacity to learn.

A woman and man practice Awareness Through Movement.

Copyright © International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive, Robert Golden.

Register for just one class or all four December classes.

We’ll investigate movement patterns which are the building blocks for sitting, standing , and walking.

Take your discoveries into your dance or other movement practice or into your everyday life.

Mondays, Dec. 4-18, 6:30-7:45 pm. Limit: 5. Advance registration required.