Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Spring

Naaseh v’nishma”


The Vernal Eqinox is upon us this weekend. Important holidays are coming. It is a holy time for Jews and Christians. All of these are a time of reflection and joy.

I would like to wish everyone a spring full of sunlight and growth. This time of year brings me to thoughts about being human, and what we all share. As a matter of fact, I think about being the best human we can be.  Allow me to set a stage for a very important moment for these two faiths.  We are at the foot of Mt Sinai. Moses has brought the Ten Commandments down to the Israelites. He has given detailed rules. What did the people say?  Was it, what we might think? We will listen and we will do?? NO. They said, “we will do and we will listen.” Filled with so much faith in these commandments, they instinctively understood that these were instructions to be followed to the letter.  There would be time later to fully comprehend their meaning.  

The Cantor at my synagogue, Lonee Frailich, wrote about this a few weeks ago.  I paraphrased what she wrote in our temple bulletin about the Torah portion from that week.

These words struck me because, although the people of Israel were not only given tools to act, they were given these laws to help them reach beyond their limitations.  The understanding and meaning behind these actions could only come from the experience itself.

What does this bring up for you?  This probably sounds familiar to those who engage in awareness and learning.  In Awareness Through Movement® we move, and then we learn. We help our students  become aware of what they do, of what is happening. We do and while we are doing, we explore, and learn.  Moshe Feldenkrais gave us tools to be able to learn more about ourselves, about our possibilities for growth and health, and to live with grace.
In either a “hands on” or group session, understanding and meaning of our actions comes from the experience of moving being mindful, and connecting the parts. Dr. Feldenkrais taught us that we all, no matter what our situation, ability, difficulty, or disability is, can learn and improve. He taught us that even if we are high level performers, we have more potential to grow.

Moshe Feldenkrais obviously did not invent these ideas. They have been around for thousands of years. He pulled from a lifetime of learning and experience.

Although we strive to learn and do good deeds for others, we must remember to take care of ourselves. Part of helping the world, is helping yourself and staying healthy.   Sometimes it is hard to take the time to learn something new.  I tell my children, “act as if, and you will see and feel the change.”
Now I am inviting you to do and listen.   Experience an Awareness Through Movement® class or an individual session with me. Learn to improve vitality and confidence. Decrease your pain, improve your posture.  Come and learn about yourself. 

Naaseh v’nishma.

Chag Sameach and Happy Easter!
Beth R

Movement Matters   Connection Matters    Mindfulness Matters

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Aging" is the cool thing. And I couldn't be happier!

 Growing Bolder.Com is my new favorite facebook page.

I read Helen Dennis’ column, “Successful Aging,” every Sunday in the Daily Breeze.  I’m thrilled that she discusses topics relevant to today’s thriving Baby Boomers and seniors.   No more languishing unsung in the corner for this demographic; we’re about to start getting the respect and attention we deserve!

The topic of aging is dear to me for two reasons.  The first is that I find myself advancing past middle age in a sea of media that’s geared toward twenty and thirty somethings.  But ours is an age group that’s vital and worthy!  It is about time that we are invited to the party. 

Second, I have a bit of an odd family history:  We either die in our forties or, like my mother, live well into our 90’s.  Since I’m approaching my 64th birthday and am quite NOT dead, it seems I’m following in my mother’s footsteps toward longevity. 

So, I have chosen to age with grace.

And I’m not alone.  There’s a whole generation of people who want to learn how to be mindful and take charge as they learn how to manage stress, tension, and pain.   That’s why I teach people how to explore what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.  That means showing people how to undo the habits that are undoing them.  Exercise for fun and fitness, but, as Moshe Feldenkrais said, 
“If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.”

The recent Daily Breeze column asked, “Should older adults join fitness centers?”   The author urged us to “listen to our bodies.”  Good advice indeed, but to me it came up a bit short.  Just HOW do we listen to our bodies?  If something hurts, do we just quit?  If we get tired, do we just quit? Unfortunately, that might find a fair few of us taking up residence on the sofa. We might listen, but how can we change what is happening. First, we must know what is happening.

So, a few tips:
  1. If you are using a piece of equipment, or doing a particular exercise and you hurt, don’t just stop, and definitely don’t “muscle through it.” This is no time to be a martyr.  If you feel an exercise gives you pain, examine what you are doing. HOW are you doing it?  Often, you can figure out another way to do it, which will keep you active and engaged.

  2. If you get tired, take mini rests throughout your workout.  In strength training, there’s no benefit to exercising until you drop.  Just forget that whole “no pain, no gain” thing. You could actually end up tearing muscle fibers rather than building them!   Slow and steady is the key here. These rests might just help your brain catch up to your muscles. Rest BEFORE you fatigue.

  3. Know what muscle groups are important for basic functions like walking, reaching, twisting, and lifting. For example, how many people know the importance of the muscles on the back the the thigh, the gluteal and hamstring muscles for upright walking?  This is where I, a Feldenkrais Practitioner® can really help; you can experience how the body works, allowing you to SAFELY build muscle while protecting joints and ligaments and connecting all of this to your brain so that you will continue to function easily.

I go to a gym and I watch as seniors come in.  Most walk while looking at the floor, afraid of falling. I teach my senior clients how to feel themselves on their feet and how to be in gravity; how to feel at ease being upright.  Strength training and stretching won’t improve function.   

Starting this spring, I’ll be teaching a “Change As You Age®” workshop that will begin as 5 two-hour segments twice a month. We’ll explore habits, how to spot them and how to change them.  Participants will gain an understanding of how our minds and bodies work together to feel and function better.

Our joints don’t have to wear out before we do!      

 You can maintain your active life style!

Here’s to getting better, healthier and aging with grace.

Best of health,