A couple of things I needed to write up

Differences in Feldenkrais lessons that make a difference

In the original lesson #4 “Tilting Cross Legs” from the Esalen Workshop (1972) Moshé Feldenkrais said, verbatim:

And very slowly tilt both legs, both knees, in the direction of the floor to the right, of course, to the right.

However, in the Stransky Notes this same instruction reads:

And now very slowly tilt both legs towards the floor, to the right. The weight of the right leg will draw the legs down to the right.

Which might or might not make it a very different movement, a very different lesson even. I will have to listen to the full lesson first to report my final observations.

Feldenkrais-inspired lessons for beginners

I pulled out Thomas Hanna’s mp3 recordings of his workshop Somatic Exercises for the Legs and Hip Joints, eavesdropped into some recordings randomly, then started at the beginning and did not make it through the first 10 minutes. It’s very well presented and recorded and it’s a great beginners class and all, but I just don’t seem to have the nerves for it anymore. During the past 15 years I have been listening to literally thousands of hours of Feldenkrais-inspired movement instructions and maybe I did exhaust my patience. I guess I’ll have to step up my own movement practice. I think at this point I’m boring myself into exhaustion and what could be worse than that.

Observing fashion trends

Here in Vietnam every woman seems to have fresh eyebrow tattoos. Shading, microblading, micro-shading. It looks nice, for sure. Odd, maybe, that they all seem to have more or less the same shape and size. I think there’s more variety of eyebrow tattoos in the EU and US.

For myself I don’t care having my eyebrows done. Instead, I’m still waiting for wigs to make a come back. I think I’d don a yellow or bright green one, cut like I was 14yo Justin Bieber or som’thin.

Browsing Instagram: breaking free

Lots and lots of young people presenting their gymnastic exercises, getting in and out of hand-stands and back-bridges in thousands of variations, free from the rules and environment of Competitive Gymnastics. To me that’s nothing short of amazing.

It’s marvellous, monumental; in the sense of ownership of self. I agree with the great scholar and teacher-who-quit John Taylor-Gatto that it’s the nature of all bureaucracies to attract psychopaths (and sociopaths) who then will rise and govern their organisation’s members. “All large bureaucracies, public or private, are psychopathic to the degree they are well-managed.” (quote from The Underground History Of American Education) I applaud all young people who break free from that with any of their thinking, feeling, sensing, or moving.

I don’t think you could be part of a Competitive Gymnastics team without being part of that team or representative of the system, so that money’s gone. But it seems like people can do very well with Instagram and selling their own courses. Maybe even build their own little bureaucracies. History repeated, maybe. Wouldn’t be the first time. I hope not though, I hope they really roll and turn and twist themselves free. I can’t think of any other reason for handstands.

Browsing Instagram: gymnastics and child rearing

I see many parents pushing their 3-5 year olds into formal gymnastic exercises that are clearly above their ability. Hopeful and submissive glances towards the camera, pride and praise caught by the microphone. Do I need to comment? “Sad. I hope they will be fine, both parents and their children.”

Browsing Instagram: handstands—fashion trend or merely good manners?

The young people push themselves to ever more spectacular movement combinations. I often do a screen recording so I can scrub the video back and forth:

A guy lying supine, turning into a back-bridge, and turning further into a handstand. I pick a moment, the moment when he lifts his head away from the floor. It’s only a moment, half of a second. He struggles to lift his head, but he’s young and strong and pulls through with great vigour. I scrub back and forth… and think of a lesson that would make it easy for him to lift his head.

A girl is standing, lowering her pelvis downwards and backwards, tucking her left foot under, rolling backwards over her head, extending her left leg, planting her left foot while reaching up with her right foot high up in the air, giving the floor a push with the top of her head and… this went nowhere but looked cool… for a short moment her left foot was standing, her legs straight and single file with the right foot high up towards the ceiling, the torso standing out to the side of this pole of legs like a flag in the wind… and then she let herself fall forwards into a handstand. I scrub back and forth… I wish I could roll like that over my lower back. I never could, not even when I was 10. I recall it well, I never could, my back was broken from the start. I could sit and roll backwards over a shoulder, but my lower back always felt like I was driving over a speed bump. I wish I could roll backwards like she can so easily. I wish my back was never broken.