Squat up and down

I noticed: these short videos with movement tricks are all just and good, but they don’t give me the same feeling as I get from lessons that are more true to the work of Moshé Feldenkrais. After a proper Feldenkrais-inspired lesson I feel updated, upgraded, smooth and content, I feel as if I’m on top of the world and as if being embodied (for the lack of a better word) is the best thing ever. I get a satisfying, fresh feeling from the movements of my latest Squat to sit video [link], and I can tell from my work experience that it can greatly help with the motion of sitting down and getting up, but I don’t get the feeling that got me into studying the works of Moshé Feldenkrais in the first place.

Friday. Again, I woke up at 3:50am. I planned a lesson that’s more in accordance with Chapter 1 of Moshé Feldenkrais’s book “Awareness Through Movement”, Chapter Title: What is good posture? “In moving from side to side a pendulum passes through the position of stability at maximum speed,” he wrote. Nice. Then I put the book aside and spent 2 hours planning my next video lesson and went back to bed at 6am.

However, I failed to film today. Hopefully I will succeed tomorrow.

How to sit down and get back up

I was looking at my Youtube Analytics and noticed that people are interested in how to sit down and get back up. Looking at my videos so far I think there’s a lot more to say. 

So I spend an hour or two on Tuesday afternoon thinking about that. Had a nice evening in a coffee shop in the city, a book café where they have large bookshelves filled with books. Went to bed too late, around 1am.

Wednesday morning I woke up early, at 3:50am, and started to verbalise a couple of movements, an intro, and a lesson-learned kind of thing. At 5am I thought there’s no sleep and got up. I went through some of the movements I was thinking about physically. Made some voice notes. Uploaded a longer voice note to the website otter.ai for transcription. Read some of the transcription. Went back to bed at 7am.

I woke up feeling dead at 9am. Went down to the pool and community area to get some sunshine on my skin and do some more mini squats and other movements I could do in standing upright. I walked around like a zombie for two hours. 

Finally I was able to film at 11am. I only wanted to do a 2 minutes long video, but filming took over an hour. Then I headed to Maison Marou, a coffee shop, and did some writing, the Ivermectin story from yesterday. 

At 2pm my friend called. Her husband, my friend as well, needed help with their kids and with moving furniture. 

I started editing the video at around 4pm. Still at my friends house. I was looking at a clear line of thought but discovered quite a few different movement concepts during editing. Good stuff, but too much for a short video. I saw the need to edit away a lot of things, while still keeping enough new ideas and useful concepts for the video to be great.

At 10:30pm I was still not finished. Two years earlier I would have kept going until I was finished. Maybe I’m wiser now, or just older. I didn’t want to ruin the entire next day in favour of a victory. I called it quits. Fell asleep shortly after midnight and woke up feeling a little bit better at 8am.

I was reflecting about the video and my editing. I was walking up and down in my living room, in my bedroom, in my bathroom, sitting down, getting up, sitting down, getting up. I was thinking about my friend yesterday who tried to do the squat down to sit but failed in his first attempt. In the last phase of his sitting-down he was falling backwards onto his seat, like everyone else.

I opened my Macbook and wrote a note for my next video:

Don’t panic when you sit down

With the mini squat you arrive at the front of your chair, not the back.

It’s when you target the back of the seat when problems arise: with balance, and needing assistance, and falling.

The same is true for getting up.

When you want to get up from the back of the chair that’s when problems arise: you need your hands, or you need to swing up, or run risk to fall back into the chair.

  1. You come down to sit on the front of the chair
  2. You come up from the front
  3. You rest on the back

Therefore you need a method to slide back and forth on the chair, or to walk your pelvis on the chair. For this you need lessons in side-bending in sitting…

I need to make another video with this new insight. But first I need to finish my video from yesterday. And I need to write this blog post. 

Update: Here’s the link to the video

My friend said I need “staff”. I think I need “staff” and a studio. I don’t want to run a business via meetings in coffee shops. And I don’t want to bring “staff” into my small one bedroom apartment where I film in my small living room. Besides, I’ve always worked alone, I have no idea how to split my work. Anyways, first I need more viewers, more money, more regular income… when I want to invite someone to work for (or with) me I need to be able to promise stability.

It’s Thursday 10am and I’m at the coffee shop with a banana chocolate cookie, fresh orange juice, and a new blog post. First I’m going to finish yesterday’s video, then I’ll start the one I want to do today. I will think about the future some other day.

I took Ivermectin and this is what happened

I’ve read a lot of good about Ivermectin for human use. First and foremost it’s shown to kill parasites like nothing else. From bed bugs to head lice to lethal worms living inside the intestines or in the blood stream, or even under the skin. Ivermectin does what no other medicine can do. It can kill them all with one single dose and apparently with little to no side-effects (the studies on that are from a time where “no side-effects” still meant something). Furthermore Ivermectin is reported to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. What’s not to like? Can I buy it already?

As a first step I went to the nearby blood lab to have my blood tested for antibodies against Strongyloides. Strongyloides is a common parasite in South East Asia that can infect humans easily, but for people with a healthy immune system they can go undetected for decades. Plus, as an excuse to myself, I got my cholesterol levels checked as well.

My results came back negative. Negative for the parasite infection, and negative emotionally, because the numbers in the columns for HDL, LDL and Triglycerides basically said that I’m too fat and I should lose weight. Bummer.

However, this was not stopping me. The pharmacy had a big warning label on their website, “AGAINST PARASITES ONLY. Do not use against anything else.” But in the pharmacy itself no questions were asked and I got 8 pills for 160k VND, less than 8 USD. God I love this country.

I decided for 3 rounds of 0.2mg/kg, which seemed to be the safe thing to do, and the most likely to do at least something. Maybe there are some other parasites in hiding? Or maybe it can help with burning the belly fat? Or maybe it can make my joints more flexible?

3 days later

I’m not sure if Ivermectin did anything for me. However! I have the impression that my eye-sight has improved. During the past two years of lockdown, of which almost 5 months were total and strict curfew where we had to stay inside of our apartments (the newspaper wrote of 35 million people here in Vietnam who had to stay at home) my eye-sight in terms of near-sightedness got a lot worse. But as of today, it seems like, quite surprisingly, I can see objects and type in the distance more clearly again.

Also! Today, when I ate my usual banana-coconut vegan cookie at Maison Marou… when I was eating the cookie it suddenly occurred to me that the taste was much more intense than usual. There were more layers of flavour than usual. Noticeably so. I asked the staff if they changed the recipe, but they said it’s the same as always. So it must be me. And suddenly I became aware of that this has been the same with all food I had yesterday. Therefore I conclude that my olfactory sense has improved.

Also! Three days ago I started to read again. I decided it’s time that I read for volume – and purchased a copy of Game of Thrones. That should be enough words to do something with my English language skills, I reckoned. I was afraid that I might fail to read for volume, since I had troubles focusing lately. If I had the choice between a book or Youtube/Netflix, it was the screen… every. time. But much to my surprise for the past three days reading was easy. And now, on day 4, I prefer reading to watching videos. Therefore I conclude that my ability to focus has improved. I will see in the coming days and weeks if it stays that way.

I admit, all of these three improvements are subtle and could be due to anything else just as well. Maybe it was the stars. Maybe the beginning of spring time. A shift in the earth’s magnetic field. Me having exchanged coffee for green tea. Maybe it was a prayer from a friend. There’s no proof that my improvements are from Ivermectin. There’s no proof that these improvements are in fact improvements, and not just imagination.

Nevertheless, it was a fun experiment. Not nearly as dangerous or scary as the media makes it sound like. Maybe I’ll try again next month. Maybe with a single dose. Or two single doses two days apart. Maybe the Japanese miracle drug has a miracle in stock for me too. But maybe not. But maybe it has. There’s only one way to find out.

Did the day destroy the night?

In his lectures Moshé Feldenkrais liked to build a good bit of mystery around his teachings.

And I have to admit that I’ve always liked the mystery. The promise of open-endedness, the lack of fixed limits. The idea that there’s room for creativity, discovery, and that there’s always more to find, to explore, and to harness.

I approached studying Moshé Feldenkrais’s work the way I did practice skateboarding. The way probably everyone who loves skateboarding does practice skateboarding. Rodney Mullen explains it very well.

The microscope did not kill the mystery of the things that are too small to see with the bare eye. Instead it enabled us to peek into the world on a different scale. Moshé Feldenkrais invented the microscope of movement. The movement sequences themselves, and the quality of conduct.

A scene from the Amherst recordings comes to mind:

Moshé Feldenkrais was teaching to a group of something like 200 students, walked them through one of his marvellous movement sequences, when he strolled by Anat Baniel. In that scene Anat was rocking back and forth on her belly like a soldier on duty, a gymnast doing a workout, and every few seconds she stopped and was looking at Moshé Feldenkrais with a face as if she would ask, “Am I doing it right? Do you approve of my performance?” And Moshé just kept standing there, staring at her, and said nothing to her. Then he walked on.

At first I could’t make sense of that scene either. It’s like watching a feature film but without the ending. This scene stuck in my head like a rawlplug in a wall.

In my own research, in my own classes, I experimented with both: intervening and not intervening. As I had the good fortune to follow the progress of some of my students for years I was able to find some answers to these questions: Is there something like self-calibration? Can there be improvement without direct outside intervention in the form of correction, scolding or encouragement? Should I intervene? And if, how much, when, and for how long?

Sinking the spine in supine position

I love when students give good feedback I can work with. Here’s the latest one from my Youtube channel »Improving ability«

Ok, it seems like my way of putting together 20-30 minutes lessons seems to work. Here’s some more comments:

Yes, indeed, I myself I also do feel I’m getting the hang of it! I’ll do one more progression for the neck series, because I’m so excited about the movements, and “you just have to see this”. Know this. Feel this. Benefit from this. I think I have a complete set of movements now. My first written draft reads like this:

Sinking the spine in supine position

On the back, propped up on the elbows, front side towards the ceiling

– lift and lower the spine in between the shoulder blades (now this shows if you can bring your shoulder blades together, the medial borders, if you have what it takes to square your shoulders)
– slower, faster
– (rest)
– with right palm reach for outside of left knee
– turn head left, right with the previous movement
– (rest)
– other side
– (rest)
– lift head to point nose to feet, lower head to bring back of the head to floor
– (rest)
– during the movement eyes hold the horizon (nauseating)
– lead with eyes from horizon (below) to horizon (overhead)
– (rest)

That’s all I have for today. Wish you well!

A blog post

I don’t know if you guys remember, but before the monetisation of the Internet, before everything was about money, politics and influence, personal blogs were different.

For example, in the times before Geocities, a blog post was, well… there was no blogs. I created a blogging platform on a Linux server that we (a shared-apartment community of 4 friends) kept in a cupboard (mainly to be able to play “computer games” together over wired LAN, wire-less did not yet exist for home entertainment). I used Python and Apache, and published on my domain travelsheep.com, long before WordPress or Blogger came to be. And on there, at that time, a blog post was like a page of a diary you would read to a friend. Or like a letter Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would have written to his wife Maria Constanze Mozart. And maybe there were stars flying from left to right in the background, and everything was in Times New Roman. Something like this. The Internet was different, blogs were different, everything was different.

So. Here’s to the old times.

ONE. I just had my first dentist appointment in over a year. Here in Vietnam I can finally see the dentist again without having to produce one of these new passports they want us to have. And gladly everything is fine. I got a good cleaning, x-rays, and a chat with the doctor. I just wish I already knew as a kid what I know about tooth health and maintenance today.

TWO. I was thinking about the sequence of lessons. I just finished the shorter than 5 minutes, power-assisted head turning lesson for Youtube, and I really want to do a longer version, one without cuts and zooms and time pressure. I want to have a relaxed, long version where I’m free to think and act and talk. Therefore, I think I’m going to film such a version next, as the last lesson to my “Tight neck? Here’s hope!” series. But then, I still have another lesson in the pipeline (so to speak), I was planing to do one more progression of the “Sinking the spine” lesson, the one I wrote about in the previous post (“This is how you lengthen your psoas”).

And this conflict made me think of lessons in general. How long do we spend time with one lesson? A day, a week, several years? Do you have a favourite one? How long do your favourites stay your favourites before you discover and move on to a new one? And do you ever go back to your past favourites? Isn’t it a bit like looking at a book you’ve already read? I mean, great, fine, good memories, flipping through the pages brings back some moments we had, but it’s not the same blazing fire anymore. Innit?

THREE. Something like two years ago I’ve seen a speech by Adam Andrzejewski on Youtube, titled “The Depth of the Swamp”. This speech impressed me on several levels, one being how well he could recall all these numbers from the top of this head. I would guess twisting just one of these numbers would get him in serious trouble. Therefore, deep respect for his memorisation skills. And of course the catchy title impressed me as well, a title that totally lived up to the speech.

I was thinking of Adam’s speech this morning, as a sort of aftermath to my power-assisted neck turning lesson (there’s a longer story to that.) And because I’ve seen an advertisement for a popular influencer who goes by the name, “Sadhguru”. The swamp in terms of consciousness, perception and meditation is just as deep, if not deeper. There’s a reason why a movie like “The Matrix” or books like “The Alchemist”, “The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge”, or just for example, “Journeys Out of the Body” hit a nerve with people. People who are still able to feel, and to think, and who know, they know, there’s something going on, something is missing, terribly so, and those books, those speeches remind them of it. But what is it, what is it, them gurus are not telling, because they’re stuck deep in the swamp themselves, deeply, deeply, they don’t know, they don’t know themselves. And how could they?

But as long as there’s money to be made the feet are stuck and people keep losing their shoes. So, maybe that could be something I could write about in an article, or in an article-like blog post.

Now, I just finished my tea. It’s time to lift my head up and away from this blog post, click Publish and continue to move through the eternal summer of South Vietnam.

This is how you lengthen your psoas

Alternative title: Powerful differentiations initiated from the neck and shoulders … or the other way round

27.5.2022 4am to 5am session. Instead of early morning meditation I seem to do “moving” now, as in “writing” or “drawing”.

Starting position: on the belly, propped up on the elbows, legs spread long

let the head hang, relax
then: strings, like the voice of an angel
lift and lower the tip of your nose, a little bit, very slowly, tiny movements

bigger bigger lift and lower

eyes look up – lift head
eyes look down – lower head
eyes look up – lower head
eyes look down – lift head

raise spine – lift head
sink spine – lower head
raise spine – lower head
sink spine – lift head

rest on the back, feel the middle of your back

right eye open, left eye closed, left knee drawn up on the floor to the side
look towards floor, trace midline with right eye
eye leads movement, lift head, lower head

left eye open right eye closed, right knee drawn up on the floor to the side
look towards floor trace midline with left eye
eye lead movement, lift head, lower head

rest on the back, feel middle of the back

Magnificent

As a next step I’ll turn this into study cards, and into a video. No need to try to decipher the rudimentary notes.