Olivia Cheever


Whatever position you are in at this moment, take some time to notice the surface you are sitting or standing on and what parts of your self are more in contact, what parts less. Notice these differences as if you are just taking in information without looking to form any conclusion or judgment about what it means.

If you’re sitting, notice how each foot is pressing into the floor, how your buttocks are weighted on the chair, whether one side of your body feels heavier than the other or one shoulder higher, whether your back is pressing into the back of the chair. Try nodding your head ‘yes’ and notice whether it is easier to bring your chin away from your chest or toward it, then nod ‘no’ and see if it is easier to turn your head right or left. Or move your jaw to one side and notice whether your eyes automatically follow. You might also notice how easy it is to feel nonjudgmental about yourself when you are considering actions as neutral as these.

A body scan is always the baseline for a Feldenkrais movement sequence. It shows up, X-ray like, restrictions in movements as habitual as turning the head. You need to notice how your body is currently wired together before you can reorganize how you hold yourself.

We scan both before and after each movement sequence, and in between do gentle, repetitive movements, aiming for the least possible amount of effort. Often, the later scan shows a strikingly different range of motion. If I told my students to turn further, they would stretch and strain. But by practicing nonhabitual movements, we can actually trick the body into doing more without actively trying.

I can’t say enough how individual everyone’s Feldenkrais practice is. The brand of empathy that is so special in Feldenkrais is what I call “somatic empathy,” or feeling into your own experience and knowing your body from the inside out. The Feldenkrais Method taps into, at a very practical level, that esoteric-sounding thing called body wisdom and applies it in a nurturing way to self-care.




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Serving the Boston, MA area with classes in Westwood.
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