Creating a new Feldenkrais lesson from scratch

So, first of all, a new lesson cannot be called “Feldenkrais” because The Feldenkrais Method®  is a trademarked term and subject to legal protection as a proprietary method. Likewise one can’t just make a new drink and call it “Powerade” or “Coca Cola”.

The difference is that while Coca Cola Inc. would sue one’s home-brew out of existence, the Feldenkrais community quite handsomely counts any new creation of their own toward the Feldenkrais brand popularity (and ultimately tends to attribute any new creation to Moshé Feldenkrais, in full, or at least in part.)

However, the drinks have enclosing categories: Powerade is a “Sports drink” and Coca Cola is a “Carbonated soft drink.” And Feldenkrais? Is it a “Somatic Education”? A Soma…what?

“Somatic Education” being the umbrella term doesn’t help much with category recognition because it’s not as descriptive as “Sports drink”; and upon hearing it the first time people wouldn’t know what “Somatic Education” actually is—including myself, to some degree, especially from a legal and trademark perspective. 🤷‍♂️

However, I’m fine with the word “Education” and with being a private teacher. And walking down the path of breadcrumbs I would guess “Physical Education” is the sub-category of choice, and then “Psychomotor learning.” In case nobody has claimed that as a trademark, certification training or proprietary academic field. I didn’t check. I wouldn’t even know how. So here’s the breadcrumb trail:

Education > Physical Education > Psychomotor learning

“Psychomotor learning is the relationship between cognitive functions and physical movement. According to the three-stage model of psychomotor development, individuals progress through the cognitive stages, the associative stage, and the autonomic stage.” – Wikipedia

Furthermore, it’s obvious to me that the “Feldenkrais Method” is very different from the work and legacy of Moshé Feldenkrais himself. Therefore we’re looking at two different things here. Confusing these two with each other might come from the fact that the legacy of Moshé Feldenkrais is monetised and guarded by the same legal entities that own the “Feldenkrais Method” and all related trademarks (I guess.)

To conclude, I think there should be an alternative to the “Feldenkrais Method.” Especially since they put the legacy of Moshé Feldenkrais behind closed doors. In their own words: “The materials are published by the IFF to [..] prevent the Materials from entering into the public domain” (from the License Agreement with the International Feldenkrais Federation Distribution Center – IFF). I guess there should be an openly accessible Moshé Feldenkrais Society, just like, as a model example, the Julian Jaynes Society – julianjaynes .org

So- it’s the 13th of July 2023 and over the past two weeks I’ve created a movement sequence for Psychomotor learning from scratch, and it’s called “Your knees can bend better, Lesson 5.”

Actually not entirely from scratch. All the movements I found through experimentation, teaching and reflection. And the movements and strategies that I chose and sequenced for Lesson #5 are actually the logical continuation of my previous Lesson #4. Which in turn is a continuation of Lesson #3, and #2 and #1.

I started to create Lesson #1 when one day I was lying on my back and noticed that my right foot slides better to the right than my left foot to the left. Why is that? And furthermore, after playing with that for some time, I noticed afterwards that my knees felt more flexible and stronger. And that I was standing upright easier. And that I could breath more freely. Therefore I started to explore the ingredients of this movement…

  • What is relevant to the bending of the knees and what isn’t?
  • What are strategies that contribute to it?

And that’s how eventually Lesson #1 came together.

Ok, now I’ve already spent more than 2,5 hours on this blog post (and another 3 hours since then.) I need to get on with my life. Here’s the outline of Lesson #5. I wrote it down to make sure I have a complete lesson. So- that’s another interesting question: what makes for a complete lesson?

Title: Your knees can bend better (5)

“In this video, the instructor focuses on improving the flexibility and range of motion in the knees. The viewer is guided through various movements to explore how different body positions and movement pathways affect their body. The emphasis is on observing any changes in comfort, knowledge, range of motion, and quality of movement. The instructor concludes by inviting viewers to reflect on their perception of themselves and their movement abilities before coming up to standing.” — Summarize .tech AI 

Step 1. Review the sliding of the foot

Stand both feet. Pick one foot to slide and observe.

Step 2. The position of the other leg

Come back to the question of the 1st lesson: Where to put the other leg? How does the leg position affect the pelvis in terms of a) mobility of the pelvis b) connecting the legs to the torso and up to the neck, head, and shoulders?

Cross the other leg over the sliding leg, like a piggyback ride. How does it change everything?

Step 3. Introducing instability

How much does the middle of the back press flat against the floor, to create stability? And how much the shoulders, neck and arms? Let’s change that, to see the difference. Therefore, do the following:

Put your arms behind your back. Cautiously. Or use a rolled up face-towel instead of your arms. Continue sliding one foot with crossed legs, then the other, what did change?

Step 4. Increase the instability

To increase the instability even more we will be increasing the flexibility of shoulders, arms, and chest. Rest on your front-side, slide your arms up and down, lift them backwards in see-saw fashion, extend both of them backwards which will also lift your head, an extension movement.

Side-theme: Observe whether you are moving your shoulders backwards and at the same time forwards… this creates a conflict that we now have the time and opportunity to resolve.

Step 5. Observe the differences for your knees

Back on the back, slide your legs, experience the increased flexibility, connection and sense of connection, the many details.

Also, by this time the foot should be able to slide more smoothly and further towards the pelvis, which means the knees bend better, and also, bending the knees should now be more of a coordinated teamwork of multiple body parts and systems.