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Break Free from Habitual Patterns: Embracing the Power of “What If”

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Hello everyone, it’s Cynthia Allen and I’m back again as we continue our exploration into the Feldenkrais Method®This innovative method has shaped the way I work with the Your Learning Body community and forms the basis of our discussion today.

Imagine walking through your home with your eyes closed – you’d probably be able to navigate quite well due to habituation. But what happens when something changes? A piece of furniture moved or an unexpected object left on the floor might throw off your navigation significantly because it deviates from your habitual pattern.

This same concept applies to other aspects of life as well: We get used to moving and behaving in certain ways based on past experiences or learned behaviors. Over time these habits become so ingrained that we’re not even aware we’re doing them – until something forces us out of those comfortable grooves.

The power lies within choice – breaking free from limiting behavior patterns requires conscious effort and decision-making skills which enable change by embracing freedom instead of staying stuck inside familiar yet restricting boundaries.

Today, we venture into a topic that holds a special place in my heart  – the power of ‘What If’. Throughout this piece, I’ll be diving deeper into this question, what can get in the way or open the door to possibility and its implications for our life and well-being.

 

The Power of "What If" in the Feldenkrais Method ®

This question is one of my personal favorites. Strikingly simple, yet, it subtly prompts us to reflect on our assumptions, attitudes, and actions. Unfortunately, the majority of us employ this question primarily in catastrophic thinking. We let our imagination run wild with negative scenarios, asking ourselves, “What if this awful thing happens? What will I do then?”  This is quite understandable, though, as we’re biologically wired to be more attentive to potential dangers than to opportunities.

In my work, I’m fascinated by a positive spin on this outlook. What if you could move better, feel better, live a better life? This shift in perspective is a nod to a profound quote by Moshe Feldenkrais. This quote pushes us to examine our behavioral patterns more closely and question any harmful compulsions we’ve developed over the years. Let’s take a moment to dissect this quote. Contrary to the first impression, this isn’t about mind over matter. Feldenkrais isn’t suggesting that ignoring a health issue will magically fix it. Rather, the focus here is on our behavior patterns, which form the basis of how we move.

Understanding Behavioral Patterns And Their Impact On Our Movements

Just as the tracks of a well-used path deepen over time, so too do our habitual movement patterns. But these behavior patterns are not always beneficial— they can limit our range of motion and lock us into rigid ways of responding to environmental stimuli.

Behavior patterns shape our movements which eventually become habitual. This, in fact, is a basic survival mechanism that allows us to avoid danger and perform tasks more efficiently. But problems arise when these behavioral patterns become compulsive, limiting our choices, restricting our movements, and leaving us stuck in a loop.

Habits are incredibly powerful; they save energy and make tasks more efficient since there’s no need for conscious thought every step along the way. However, this efficiency comes at a cost when habits turn into rigid routines leaving little room for creativity or spontaneity.

Beyond Physical Activity:
The Emotional Landscape in the Feldenkrais Method

While many approaches target solely physical aspects—like strength or endurance—the Feldenkrais Method recognizes our bodies as integrated wholes where emotional shifts can manifest physically too.

Emotion and movement are deeply interconnected, a concept that is integral to the Feldenkrais Method. Our feelings have an incredible impact on our actions, especially how we move. This emotional landscape can shape our behavior patterns and ultimately dictate how freely or restrictively we express ourselves physically.

Our behavior patterns, as Moshe Feldenkrais further discusses, are directly tied to our emotional landscape. When we talk about movement, we’re referring to more than just physical activity;It’s much more complex and nuanced than that. We’re including our emotional shifts, breath, and cellular activity.  It emphasizes our ability to introduce alternative patterns of movement and responses and thus, impact how we feel and live.  By attaining a higher level of consciousness, we’re able to glimpse into these subtle movements, enabling us to change their direction in a positive manner.

This shift in consciousness allows us to create a more positive outlook on life and to make healthier choices. It also allows us to be more mindful of our movements and to make better decisions. Ultimately, this movement of consciousness can help us to create a more harmonious and healthier life.

Shifting Consciousness for Positive Change

To truly grasp this relationship between e-motion and motion, it’s important to understand consciousness shifts. It isn’t just about identifying emotions; rather, it’s about acknowledging them as influential factors in our movements.

Behavior patterns often develop unconsciously. We may not realize why we favor one side when walking or why certain tasks feel more comfortable than others. The Feldenkrais Method encourages us to shift from unconscious movement habits towards conscious awareness of what we are actually doing. And it gives us an opportunity to compare an old habit to a potential new one and feel the differences in efficiency and sensation (good or bad) so we have a mechanism in upgrading habits that no longer serve us well.

This self-awareness can also lead to recognition of restrictive patterns tied  to our emotional state – perhaps a result of stress, anxiety or past trauma. Sometimes by simply changing the movement pattern, we are freed from the emotional bind that was a part of this restriction. 

The Power Of Choice In Breaking Habitual Loops

Life throws its curveballs – accidents, joint problems, muscular strains – but amid the chaos and the pain, we always have the power to make choices. Even when your diagnosis seems daunting, there are subtleties in how we move, feel, and sense, which, when combined, can bring about profound changes to our overall well being.

Moshe Feldenkrais believed in the power of choice, suggesting we should have at least three to five different ways to do something to truly embrace freedom. The absence of options can sometimes turn life bitter, he argued.

His philosophy propagates the idea that repetitive behavior patterns, coupled with a firm belief in their inevitability, become a predicament — a hurdle in our cue to move gracefully in the world. This journey of defining movement doesn’t limit itself to physical motion. Emotional shifts, cellular movements, even breath and folding of the ribs fall within its umbrella, shaping an expansive canvas for improvement.

This is where the Feldenkrais Method truly shines—it gives you tools to break free from limiting loops by fostering awareness about your movements and behaviors. With this newfound consciousness, change becomes possible; what once felt impossible might suddenly feel within reach.

Embracing Movement and the 'What If' Transformations

Few systems underscore the importance of freedom through movement like the Feldenkrais method does. By learning multiple ways of doing something – moving your arm, bending your knee – you’re given choices instead of defaulting into old habits without thought.

When you find new possibilities for action within yourself, there’s also potential growth emotionally. In other words: physical flexibility breeds mental flexibility too.

As we tread along our Feldenkrais journey, the question of “What if?” becomes a pivotal tool in our self-inquiry. It’s not a strict dichotomy where choosing Feldenkrais means renouncing other paths like physical therapy or surgery. It’s about amalgamating various options to craft the best possible life for yourself.

The possibility of moving better, feeling less pain, and leading a more fulfilling life hinges on our capacity to embrace exploration. Irrefutable physical issues exist, but there are almost always intricacies in how we move, feel, sense, and think that could influence these so-called immutable issues.

So, I urge you to ask yourself, “What if I could move better, feel better, and live better?” as you navigate through your upcoming weeks, months, and years.

This question adapts the ‘What if’ approach to a more positive direction. Shifting your focus from the negative possibilities to the wider range of opportunities available to you.

How Your Body Reacts to Different Movements

Dina Shares her Your Learning Body Experience

Before I found Your Learning Body, my life was filled with limitations. However, this journey has opened up new horizons for me, and I want to share my personal experience with the transformative power of this unique approach to holistic well-being.

The Beginning of My Journey

I began this journey out of sheer curiosity. I had heard about the Feldenkrais Method, a holistic approach to body movement and well-being, but had never delved into its depths. It was during the challenging days of the COVID-19 pandemic that I accidentally came across Your Learning Body. My initial intention was to explore a course, but little did I know that it marked the beginning of something much greater.

The philosophy of Feldenkrais completely resonated with me, but it wasn’t an instant transformation. At first, I had doubts and reservations, perceiving it in a rather rigid form. However, the way it was illuminated and explained, both through movements and the underlying ideas, gradually won me over. I began to appreciate the idea that there’s no single “right way” to do things. Instead, there are various paths, and you have to feel what works best for your body.

As I explored different movements, I became intrigued by the idea of being creative and observing how my body responded to them. In a world that often prescribes one “correct” way of doing things, this approach encouraged me to be curious and open to different possibilities.

I began to understand the importance of moving slowly and with attention, and made me realize the intricate connections between different parts of my body. And wow, that was absolutely mind shack because to discover that your tongue had something to do with your hips was amazing! It reinforced the idea that the body is a complex, interconnected system.

Your Learning Journey with Feldenkrais

Your Learning Body Community: Embrace the Power of "What If?"

Whether you’re rich in years or young at heart, it’s never too late or too early to rewrite your  own story, and it all begins with a simple question: What if? Being a part of my Your Learning BodyTM community is the process of asking and exploring “What if” Using Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lessons and my expert guidance we discover the possibilities together.

The Feldenkrais Method is the most sophisticated and effective method I have seen for the prevention and reversal of deterioration of function. With the right guidance and resources available, like the ones found in our Your Learning Body community, we can all become co-creators in our own wellbeing.

Finally, if you’re enthusiastic about exploring the rich possibilities of Feldenkrais, consider joining us at the Your Learning Body community. As a collaborative platform leveraging the value of Feldenkrais philosophy, we provide you with the tools to change your trajectory from a downward spiral to an empowering expansion.

This year has shown us, we’re all capable of resilience and adaptation. Let’s carry this mantra into our approach to wellness, disrupting our habitual patterns and embracing the power of “What if?”. I look forward to walking alongside you on this exciting journey.

Cynthia Allen
Cynthia Allen
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