Feldenkrais and the Artist
Julie Casson Rubin, GCFT, and Cliff Smyth, GCFT
The Feldenkrais Method often affects an individual‚s life in surprising ways. As people experience the lessons over time, many find positive changes that go far beyond an initial goal of finding relief from aches and pains. Many students notice a spontaneous improvement in the ability to express themselves with an increased sense of freedom and creativity. The sensory-motor experience, in both group and individual lessons, can help to put one in touch with sensations and experiences that are the source of many creative processes. The nonjudgmental attitude and open ended approach of the Feldenkrais Method, likewise allows one to overcome blocks and enter the process of creating without judgment.
One is often able to experience a changed state of consciousness, a state of flow‚ that allows for new connections to be made. As teachers of the Method, we think of it as integrating feeling, spirit and emotion with our primary vehicle for self-expression: our muscles and bones! Every act of creation has a physical component: from writing to dance.
The body as an Instrument
Many artists, dancers, actors and musicians, painters and writers realize that the body itself can be thought of as an instrument. For instrumental musicians, of course, there is a further object to integrate into the process of expressiveness. In all artistic endeavors, the instrument we are learning to use is ourselves. When we maintain unconscious habits of tension and inefficient movement patterns, the end result is very often pain, interference with the flow of attention and breath, and excessive effort as a substitute for intelligence and creativity. In the Feldenkrais Method we can improve the fundamental relationships of our physical movement ý how to use the spine, pelvis, hip joints, shoulders to support the use of the hands, arms and breath. And vice versa. The ways that we stand, sit and breathe influence everything else that we do. Whether playing an instrument or acting or dancing on stage, how the artist is organizing their back, belly and chest is what they are bringing to the act of self-expression. The quality of that organization will affect the quality of the artist‚s performance. The Feldenkrais Method can offer a means of "functional integration": the integration of the whole self into intention and action.
In general, the Feldenkrais Method teaches people how to use themselves more skillfully, efficiently, and simply, in order to find satisfaction in whatever form of self-expression they choose. It allows us to be more in touch with our experience and the possibilities for creativity.