The young woman, in my office for the first time, spoke to me about her back pain. She chronically slouched, and was concerned about her posture and its effect on her back.
I had her lie on her back, and began to gently explore the movements of her pelvis. Then, I lifted her head and studied how movements of her head, sternum, collarbones, and ribs related. Finally I returned to her pelvis and began gently pushing through the pelvis to the head, creating springiness in the spine. When I was finished, a small movement in the pelvis moved through the spine to affect the head.
When she stood up, her back pain was gone and her posture had dramatically changed. Her head was carried high and she looked at least an inch taller. I directed her to look at herself in a mirror and observe the change.
She agreed that there was a dramatic change, and then inquired, “When are we going to start working on posture?”
“We already have!” I said.
I explained to her that in Feldenkrais Method® lessons we do not work on posture by admonishing our students to “stand up straight.” Instead, we help them to feel the skeleton in such a way that it becomes natural and more comfortable to sit and stand in a way that uses the spine more efficiently. The brain, beneath the level of conscious awareness, re-organizes the body for more efficient posture and movement.
Isn’t this more pleasurable than “Shoulders back! Chin down!” I asked? Somewhat startled by this new information, she agreed that it indeed was more pleasurable.
Ann Harman works in Gainsville, FL. Find out more at: www.iahp.com/AnnHarman/