Olivia Cheever

Creative Imagery

By now you may have gathered that Feldenkrais is not the easiest thing to talk about. That’s because we’re translating into the verbal something that is a visceral experience, and trying to capture on a page a practice that is multidimensional. In class, I use images a lot to bridge these gaps. Here are a few:

>> Cheshire cat
If you haven't read Alice in Wonderland or seen the Disney version, hopefully you can imagine a grinning cat whose body comes in and out of focus, sometimes leaving only the smile visible. Our neurological "self image" can be a lot like that, with places in the body that do not feel quite there. One of my students calls it "people becoming strangers to ourselves" because the world is so "obsessed with complex technology and speed." Often we don't pay attention until something hurts. Feldenkrais helps build a new self-image by filling in these nonengaged spaces. Usually, becoming aware of a part of yourself from which you had checked out elicits an "Aha!" experience.

>> River of movement
Ideally, you can start a movement in one part of your body — say, by pressing the sole of your foot down as you lie on the floor — and the motion will flow in smooth sequence from joint to joint through the rest, feeling a lot like an internal massage. Initially when you try this, the movement is more likely to feel dammed up, as if whole families of beavers are in there gumming up the works. But as you become increasingly aware of the ripple effect, places that are stiff or unresponsive stand out in stark relief. Then you can learn to reorganize your body so as to reach those areas, too.

>> Rotating the tires
Tires wear down when they stay in the same position for too long. Bodies and joints wear down when they move mindlessly, out of alignment without any awareness of the pressure they're under. Look at the soles of your shoes to see how they are worn down differently like tires on your car. Often people are surprised to make the connection: "You mean, if I stop slouching my pain will go away?" When we hold ourselves with static "posture", it produces problems. When we move differently, with dynamic "acture"—in Feldenkrais's words—many of them balance out.





> Flexible Principles
> Safe Space
> Creative Imagery
> Kind Words






Feldenkrais and Feldenkrais Method are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America.
Bones For Life is a registered service mark of Ruthy Alon, its originator.

Serving the Boston, MA area with classes in Westwood.
Private coaching also in Needham Heights, MA.
Call 617-413-5680, or email ocheever@comcast.net.

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