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World Peace Meditation

2012 predictions

2012 predictions

Reducing Stress
with the Feldenkrais Method

Cathy Butler, GCFP

Obviously we can handle a certain amount of stress, but sometimes our body’s innate ability to function effectively is compromised or too overwhelmed to be effective. Over time when stress is not dealt with fully it causes serious physical problems. One way to help the body is the Feldenkrais Methodâ. This is a technique of movement education, a gentle, pleasurable movement system with a wide range of benefits. Regular sessions or classes in learning new ways to move the body reduce stress and increase overall health.

The real impact of stress on our lives and bodies today

Stress that is not adequately coped with, especially over time, causes a wide range of ailments. In Prescription for Nutritional Healing (1990), James and Phyllis Balch describe the stress response. “When faced with a high degree of stress …digestion shuts off and heart rate increases, with a resulting increase in blood pressure and breathing. Fats and sugars are released from stores in the body, cholesterol levels rise, and the blood prepares for clotting… In primitive times, these changes in the body prepared man to flee or fight. Now, we rarely use this response.” (298) James and Phyllis Balch continue by saying, “When sustained over time, instead of preparing us for a crucial action, the stress response tires out our body, weakens our immune system and creates chronic problems of hypertension and high cholesterol (298). Doctors and scientists have linked stress to a range of ailments. Minor conditions include headaches, digestive problems, and fatigue. More serious problems are insomnia, Crohn’s disease, depression, impotence, and cancer, to name a few.”

The Feldenkrais Method and Stress

Taking part in Feldenkrais provides short and long term benefits. Feldenkrais can be learned in classes (called Awareness Through Movementâ) or individual hands-on sessions (Functional Integrationâ). Immediate benefits can include breathing more fully and easily, sleeping more deeply, feeling more relaxed and alert, more comfortable in your body and more flexible. Stress melts away and future or past worries take up a smaller space in your brain during a class or an individual session as you learn to keep your mind in the present and in your body. As your breathing slows and deepens your heart rate decreases and your blood pressure drops. One enters into a parasympathetic state where the body more easily recuperates from stress. However, the real benefit of learning these types of body control methods appears in how you deal with stress outside of a class or session.

Feldenkrais teaches clients to identify and manage stress more effectively on their own. This process begins with improving awareness of causes of stress and learning to identify its effects on the body. The next step is to learn techniques that will help you consciously change your response to anxiety-producing events in the moment. In group or personal lessons, clients learn to move in ways that are easy, light, and relaxing. Repeating these movements during a stressful situation reminds your body and mind how to relax and reduces the negative impact of the event. Breathing is also a crucial element of managing stress in the moment.

The most essential learning made possible by continuing this kind of work guides you to spontaneously respond to events effectively. Babies experiment endlessly with different ways to come up onto the hands and knees in order to be able to crawl across the floor to get to a favorite toy. Although they lack the instinctual knowledge of how to walk immediately after birth that most animals have, they do possess “…an innate urge to incessantly test and search for what works better and what is more enjoyable” (Mindful Spontaneity: Returning to Natural Movement, Ruthy Alon, 1996:33). As adults, however, we lose touch with this urge. We get stuck in habitual ways of doing things including habitual ways of dealing with stress. Feldenkrais “…stimulat[es] the urge to search for more gratifying ways of moving as well as awake[ns] the intelligence to adjust more effectively to new situations” (Mindful Spontaneity: Returning to Natural Movement, Ruthy Alon, 1996:33). This ability is the deepest and most profound gift -- the ability to reawaken our capacity to learn and adapt to all situations that come up in life.

Cathy Butler is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner who maintains a private practice in McKinleyville. She will be giving a free talk and mini-class, “Stress Reduction and the Feldenkrais Method”, at Moonrise Herbs on Tuesday, October 19th 7-9pm. She also teaches classes and workshops at the Community Yoga Center and other facilities in the area.

Visit Christine Breese's Metaphysical Sciences youtube channel to view free video satsangs.


2012 paradigm shift

2012 predictions

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