Alexander, Feldenkrais, Motor Function, And Mind

I found the quote below by F.M Alexander by searching for “Feldenkrais” on Pinterest. Well, it certainly could have been said by Feldenkrais as well. They were certainly on to similar ideas…

FM Alexander: Muscular Tension and Mind

FM Alexander: Muscular Tension and Mind

And Moshe Feldenkrais in a similar vein:

“There is little doubt in my mind that the motor function, and perhaps the muscles themselves, are part and parcel of our higher functions. This is not true only of those higher functions like singing, painting and loving, which are impossible without muscular activity, but also of thinking, recalling, remembering and feeling.”

Cheers to both men!

By the way…the highest ranked page on Google of Moshe Feldenkrais quotes can be found on the blog that I created many years ago while a grad student. I first published the post in 2007: Some Feldenkrais Quotes.

Moshe Feldenkrais: “You have no means of diagnosis”

Moshe Feldenkrais: “You have no means of diagnosis”

A few minutes ago, I bumped into the short transcription below from the San Francisco Feldenkrais training in the 1970’s. I thought you might enjoy it. Moshe is speaking to a group of people that he is attempting to train in his method. To what extent he succeeded with them or anyone else is a matter of debate. But he did his level best.

When people come into any training or any communicative environment each comes with his own assumptions and categories. Some are conscious. Many are not.

A major tendency of human beings is to “diagnose” and put people into categories based on any number of formal or informal criteria…based on folk taxonomies, “common knowledge,” medical taxonomies, psychological taxonomies and the like. Below Moshe speaks about his students tendency to want use – however informally or incorrectly – medical diagnoses while doing Feldenkrais-based work.

Moshe was not a fan of such things. On one level was his desire to protect himself and his students from lawsuits. Only certain qualified professionals have the right to diagnose. On a second level, was his absolute belief and conviction that “diagnosing” people limits the ability of a Feldenkrais-trained-person to do good work and to see and work with the whole person. Our departed Martin Weiner had something to say about that as you will see later…

Moshe Feldenkrais…

Some people want me to teach them how to diagnose diseases. You are not supposed to know that and it is not necessary for you to know that. You only need to know enough so you know what you do not know. You need to feel that there is something and that you will get it with experience.

You will feel when a person is complaining of one thing and there is something else wrong. That you will feel with your hands. You have no means of diagnosis. You are not supposed to do diagnosis…

…But many of you have already found that you can do useful work. And of course by the end of this year, you will be able to do better work. That is my first obligation. (June 23, 1977)

Martin Weiner, a student of Moshe’s, who is now deceased, wrote quite a bit about the medical model and the need to see the person and not the diagnosis. In 2008, Marty first gave me permission to reprint his short article below. Below, he speaks to the limits of the medical model. First re-published September 19th, 2008 here.

Martin Weiner…

I have often talked on the forum about how seeing things from a medical model limits our capacity to see what is there. I had an experience with a young woman the other day that I’d like to share in this regard.

A woman called me on the phone and asked if she could come see me. She said she had very severe pains in her neck that woke her up many times during the night. She also had numbness in her hands. She had gone to a chiropractor who took an x-ray of her neck and freaked out. He was so anxious for her that she had to quiet him down. He sent her to an orthopedic surgeon who had the same reaction and said she needed surgery immediately to fuse three of her cervical vertebrae. She was supposed to have the surgery next Monday. She is a mother of two toddlers and said she is very active.

I said, “Let me get this straight. You are not paralyzed or crippled or hobble about. You run after two little kids and exercise regularly. Your only problem is pain in your neck and numbness in your hands. Aside from these two guys freaking out you would have no idea that there is an emergency going on in your body?” She said,”That’s right”.

So I told her, “Great, I’d love to see you.”

My point here is that these two doctors looked at x-rays and did not see her. She is an active woman who runs around all day long. Instead of seeing her vertebrae they should have seen her and realize that these vertebrae live in this woman and she is pretty healthy. They saw what they saw which is conditioned by their training. Moshe trained us to see the world differently and to interact with people from a non-mechanical orientation. We have the capacity to help those who many others can’t because we do not get seduced into diagnostic categories.

She came to see me last Saturday and we worked. Today she came back to tell me that she has been sleeping through the night pain free and that the numbness is now down to just a little spot. She cancelled the surgery and is looking forward to feeling better without it.

As Hippocrates said, “Don’t tell me what someone has. Tell me who has it.” See the person and not the so called “disease” or problem.



Ryan C. Nagy, MA desde Starbucks Plaza Jardines, Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico

Is This a Major Limitation of the Feldenkrais Method?

Some of you on this list may remember the blog posts where I wrote about trauma. In particular my blog post, “Sex Drugs and Feldenkrais Classic” where I talked about some of my own childhood and adolescent trauma, drug addiction, homelessness, dealing with abuse and the like. Using the work of Moshe Feldenkrais has been a hugely important tool for getting my life back, reconnecting to the world in general and moving forward with my life. The reduction of anxiety, in particular, has been a very important “side effect” of doing the work.

Maybe Feldenkrais has done similar things for you and your clients?

But Feldenkrais for me has only been part of the journey, only part of my tool kit. I have benefitted greatly from Ericksonian hypnotherapy, somatic body therapy and counseling in general. I very often wonder:

What are the limits of a Feldenkrais approach when treating folks who have been traumatized? What else we need to learn to help people?

I had an opportunity to learn something about who tends to get traumatized and who does not and I found it fascinating:

I thought I would share it with you in case you have an interest in the topic. WHY do some people experience a traumatic event and go on to be relatively unscathed why do others end up developing trauma symptoms and pain, even PTSD. One answer may surprise you: Who tends toward trauma and PTSD?

My friends at NICABM have put together a video and free report that gets to the heart of this very important question. I think you’ll find this interesting, and without a doubt, it’s a very urgent, important question. As we learn to help more and more people and expand our knowledge and practices, we need to keep up-to-date with the latest ideas in our ever expanding field. I hope you will check it out: (The free resource will only be online for a few days, so check it out now).

I hope this post finds you well and your possibilities and actualities e.x.p.a.n.d.i.n.g.

Richard Nixon and Moshe Feldenkrais: An Untold Story?

I am looking for the details behind this rare photo of Moshe Feldenkrais’s meeting with Richard Nixon. The back of the photo is watermarked with a the date of December 21st, 1970. That date was well before the Watergate scandal. Richard Nixon was still riding high and very popular as a President. And it was several years before Moshe Feldenkrais was to teach the famed Esalen workshop in 1972.

Does anyone know more of about this amazing photograph??

Moshe Feldenkrais and Richard Nixon

Click to see the full size image: Nixon and Feldenkrais.

What If Dr. Feldenkrais Were To Say To You. . .

What If Dr. Feldenkrais Were To Say To You. . .

“I have a new studio near your house and I want you to come by for a workshop. I want to share with you some of my most important and critical sessions. These are some of the sessions that I taught in Esalen when I first taught there in 1972.”

“The Esalen workshop was an important one for me, because it was one of my first workshops in America and it gave me a chance to show off some of my best ideas. In fact, I went out of my way to pick session that would really “wow” the group and take their development to the next level. The attendees were a group of people that I thought could be highly influential in the growth of the method.”

“But here’s the thing – there was only room for a few people at that workshop and my work has not been as widely adopted as I had hoped. So…for a limited-time I am back, teaching those lessons live for you. Would you like to come by an experience these sessions for yourself?”

What would you tell Moshe if he were alive and making you that offer?

Probably the same thing that I would: Not only yes, but hell yes! When does the workshop start, how soon can we begin??

Well, we all know that Moshe’s physical presence has left us. We all have to leave this planet at some time or another. But his work…and ours…lives on in many ways. For me personally, the Esalen workshop was one of the most powerful and game-changing workshops I ever experienced. No, I was not there “live”. But I got a hold of transcripts of the sessions while I was a PhD student nearly 15 years ago. And I have been working with the material ever since: Recording the sessions, re-recording them, playing with themes and ideas in them, teaching them and using them to transform my life and the lives of others.

But as we all know, there are only so many workshops that you can teach live and so many people that you can reach personally. That is why I began professionally recording sessions based on the Esalen Workshop and releasing them to the public, doing my best to stay true to Moshe’s presentation of the work but keeping the tone and phrasing modern and up-to-date and fitting with the last we know about learning and neuroscience…

If you have ever wanted to go “in depth” with the Feldenkrais Method and wanted to do so in the comfort of your on home, where you can easily stop and rest whenever you want, and review sessions in your own time and own way…below are some of the most powerful Feldenkrais sessions you can do. These are not only powerful “movement” lessons but powerful lessons for life transformation.

And best of all, you can get them now and start using them immediately, no need to travel across town, change clothes and lay down on the floor with a group of strangers, just grab a towel or blanket and lie down in the comfort of your own home, office or studio…

Feldenkrais Classics, Volumes 1 and 2, From The Esalen Workshop

Over 12 hours of cutting-edge Feldenkrais sessions record by myself, Ryan Nagy, including…

Feldenkrais Classics Volume 1

cdCover1.21. Classic Flexors and Extensors (A must for serious Feldenkrais students.)

2. Finding Your Hip Joints (One of my favorites, can be fantastically powerful on many levels)

3. Your Dominant Shoulder (Dramatically reduce shoulder strain)

4. Exploring Your Extensors, Part 1 (Proof that you CAN get taller as you age!)

5. Exploring Your Extensors, Part 2 (Deeper and deeper)

6. Your “Dominant” Hand (Not from Esalen, but an important lesson for modern time. It can reduce or completely eliminate some repetitive strain injuries)

Feldenkrais Classics Volume 2

1. A 5-minute introduction

2. Rhythmic Tapping (a mind-blowing session)

3. Lifting on The Stomach

4. Rotating Your Spine Through Your Legs (fantastic for dealing with back pain amongst other things…)

5. Differentiating Your Hip Joint (your hips are important for many reasons – wink, wink)

6. Four Points Classic or Four Points of Support on Your Hands and Feet (This is the Feldenkrais session that I have done the most times in my life. It always has a positive effect on me. – Which will be your favorite??)

7. Crawling on Your Hands and Knees (This session can have intense changes in your self image).

Special Free Bonus: Feldenkrais “Basics” Volume 1

This album is not available anywhere else. I developed the sessions when I was dealing with some back-pain issues. I wanted to have some “moves” that I could do quickly and easily while sitting. There are five sessions, all under 30 minutes and they are fantastic. Eliminate back pain, relax easier while working and have better focus and concentration (transcripts included)

  • Integrated Turning, Right and Left (If you teach this a great demo session)
  • Opening and Folding (Wonderful if you tend to “slouch” or lean forward at your desk)
  • Bending to the Side (Yummy! Will make you relax….)
  • Full Body Integration (Combines all 3 session above with some unique variations)
  • Shoulder Rotation in Sitting (The “Erroll Flynn” from Esalen and elsewhere. Awesome lesson)

Testimonials About These Feldenkrais Sessions

“I am very excited to have these lessons at hand now. I really look forward to doing them, I have already done three today. You are very clear and easy to listen to. No mucking about. Thank you.” Rebecca Crawford, Australia

I actually bought the Feldenkrais Classics 2 first, and bought this FC 1 last week. It really isn’t important which you start with. The movements are gentle but effective. Many of them may only have to be done once to get you balanced and feeling good. Now, that’s effective! There is so much information in this MP3 set. His voice, timing and pace is just right. Buy it, you will feel better and change your life. Feldenkrais classes are pricey, this is a incredible value to see what Feldenkrais can do for you. Books and DVDs IMHO are not near effective as this MP3 set. – Cynthia R. Peterson

“I am the one who has been emailing and who hurt her back falling at Kaiser emergency room. I want to tell you that your downloads have made me very aware of the tension that has been held in my body, I must say that I have not had a headache – at all – for about three days!! What happened was, I went into your sessions and into myself and I realized WHERE the problem was coming from. I finally found the source…Thank you! You are one of three “heroes” in my life right now – there is you, my “coach” who does accupressure and massage, and my Feldenkrais practitioner, who personally trained with Moshe Feldenkrais….thank you, Ryan. ” – Melinda Frances, California

Just did your lesson on tapping and am so grateful, especially your final comments about your own journey as I have similar disassociative feelings and getting up is especially difficult in the morn. After many, many years of effort, this is the first technique which has offered me hope and freedom from pain. Bless you. I plan to continue with lessons and private sessions in my area. – Linda

Thanks so much for offering this work at an affordable price. It is a real gift. – Adrienne

Dear Ryan, After having purchased your audio collection I’m happy to say that as a busy mom I’ve even found the time to experience the lessons. What I’ve found is that your style is encouraging, concise and playful, a wonderful combination of traits that go in to create a open learning environment for the ‘experiencer’. One thing I’ve already noticed as a result of doing the lessons is an improvement in the quality of my sleep. I can’t recommend these lessons highly enough!
Mastaneh Nazarian
Austat Certified Alexander Technique teacher
Musician, Writer, Performance and Movement Coach

What Is The Cost?

I am offering everything for $27.00. That is TOTAL, including ALL the sessions listed above. Most Feldenkrais practitioners would charge $99.00 or more for these sessions. And taking them in a class or workshop would cost $200.00 or more.

Why do I offer them so cheaply? It is simple: I have some of the highest ranked Feldenkrais websites in the world and I sell a TON of Feldenkrais downloads. I can give you my “volume” discount. And…as many of you know…I am a bit of a geek. I do all the recording and editing and selling of my products on my own. There is no “middle man” and I do not spend 1000’s of dollars renting sound studios and editors and such.

Add to Cart

A soon as you purchase a link to download the sessions is sent directly to your email address…you can download to your computer and start using instantly!

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My Personal Guarantee To You

ryan_headshotAs you likely know already, I stand 100% behind what I sell. I want you to be delighted with these sessions. If you are not satisfied with the material, ask me and you will get your money back – no questions asked.

I will be raising prices across the board on ALL my products very soon. Act now if you want these sessions at the lowest price. I can only guarantee the price until September 27th, when I have to pay to upgrade my website and hosting account. (Plus, I have recently started school to get a second Master’s degree and I will not be able to work as much. But more on that in a future blog post).

How Much Human Misery Does This Cause?

Ronald Siegel, PsyD

Ronald Siegel, PsyD

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of listening to a phenomenal presentation by Ron Siegel on specific mindfulness strategies and meditations for healing from trauma. It was from the Solutions For Trauma conference that I organized with Rob McNeilly. I have been a big fan of Ron’s ever since. He has a wealth of practical knowledge and ability to share that knowledge in concrete and usable form.

How To Stop The Number One Cause of Human Misery

Ron has some new resources coming on how to help ourselves and our clients. In particular a survival mechanism that we have all developed (as human primates!) that can be harmful. Whether you are a psychotherapist, Feldenkrais practitioner, Ericksonian hypnotherapist or other “people helper” I think you will find it useful: How To Stop The Number One Cause of Human Misery.

By the way – That link above is an “affiliate” link. If you click and enter your email you can get some cool, free resources. (Mindfulness is still free, last time I checked!). But if you do buy something later, I get a small commission. As many of you know I am passionate about certain topics: Feldenkrais, Mindfulness, Brief Psychotherapy and Ericksonian hypnosis….just to name a few. And when I find something that I would personally buy (or have bought) or that I think would benefit my readers, I often promote them here. Alright?

Here is the link again to Ron’s info and presentation: click here to enjoy it.