I went to the artificial intelligence ChatGPT on OpenAI and typed in “Teach me a Feldenkrais lesson.” Here’s what was written:
Sure! I’d be happy to teach you a Feldenkrais lesson. Feldenkrais is a method of movement and physical therapy that aims to improve movement efficiency, flexibility, and overall well-being. It is based on the idea that the way we move and carry ourselves affects how we feel and function. Here is a simple Feldenkrais lesson you can try:
- Start by finding a comfortable seated position on the floor or on a chair. Make sure your spine is straight and your feet are flat on the ground.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, allowing yourself to relax and become aware of your body.
- Begin to focus on your neck and head. Slowly turn your head to the left, noticing the sensation of movement and any areas of tension or restriction.
- Bring your head back to center, and then turn it to the right. Again, pay attention to the sensation of movement and any areas of tension or restriction.
- Repeat this movement a few more times, each time allowing your head to move more freely and easily.
- Next, bring your attention to your shoulders. Slowly lift your shoulders up towards your ears, and then release them down towards your hips. Notice the sensation of movement and any areas of tension or restriction.
- Repeat this movement a few more times, each time allowing your shoulders to move more freely and easily.
- Finally, bring your attention to your entire body. Take a moment to scan your body, noticing any areas of tension or discomfort.
- When you are ready, slowly open your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
I hope you found this Feldenkrais lesson helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like more information about the Feldenkrais method.
Imagine my surprise, my shock almost! The artificial intelligence came up with a sweet little lesson. Well presented as well. I didn’t dare to dig deeper because I’m pretty sure it would fall apart if I poked around a bit. But it’s not all that bad for a teaser class, produced by an entity that doesn’t even have a human nervous system and human physical body, innit?
You would think a lesson in sitting would start with a movement as reference, for example turning the head—and then end with the same movement—to see if and how it has improved. But this is not the case in this AI generated lesson. Instead, it uses breathing and feeling-at-ease as reference. It’s quite advanced in this sense! Both in terms of teaching and what is required of the student.
Therefore, if I would teach it, I would go with the original “ideas” (or “pickings”, AI must have copied it from somewhere), but would improve the wording in certain places.
Firstly, Feldenkrais is not physical therapy. Secondly, the word Feldenkrais is very problematic. The terms “Feldenkrais” and “The Feldenkrais Method” are federal trademark registrations issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to a private membership organisation, the Feldenkrais Guild of North America (FGNA). One of the goals of this organisation is to privatise and monopolise distribution rights to the full estate of Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais and thus prevent his life’s work to enter the public domain—as stated by the End User License Agreement (EULA) with the International Feldenkrais Federation Distribution Center (IFF). Thus making the life’s work of Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais an eternal asset of this private organisation to further their business and politics, and to prevent the public (as well as its own paying members) from freely using the words “Feldenkrais”, “Feldenkrais Method”, “Awareness Through Movement”, “Functional Integration”, etc. In case you ever wondered why the Feldenkrais Method is not better known and not more widely adapted—this is part of the answer.
Lastly, my slightly re-written version. I underlined the parts that I changed, I guess most changes are just personal taste. For example I tried to introduce a more realistic language by saying “sit upright” instead of “sit with a straight spine.” It’s impossible for just any vertebrate to have a straight spine, but it’s definitely possible for most people to sit upright. Furthermore I tried to give the text a more upper-hand, positive spin and said “Also notice the areas in yourself that do not move” instead of “noticing any areas of tension or restriction.” ChatGPT even ended the lesson with ”Take a moment to scan your body, noticing any areas of tension or discomfort.” This clearly shows that it didn’t know why it put the lesson together in the first place. And of course I changed the ending to fit to my video. So here’s my re-write:
Sure! I’d be happy to teach you a lesson inspired by Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais. In this kind of lesson we use movement and introspection to improve our overall well-being and everyday movements. It is based on the idea that the way we move, feel, sense and think does indeed affect how we act. Here’s a simple lesson you can try:
- Start by finding a comfortable seated position on the floor or on a chair. Make sure your spine is upright and your feet are flat on the ground.
- Close your eyes and observe yourself taking a few breaths, allowing yourself to be at ease and become aware of your body.
- Begin to focus on your neck and head. Slowly turn your head to the left, notice the sensation of movement. Also notice the areas in yourself that do not move, that do not contribute to the movement.
- Bring your head back to center, and then turn it to the right. Again, pay attention to the sensation of movement and also the areas that do not move.
- Repeat this movement a few more times, each time allowing more and more of yourself to participate in this movement freely and easily.
- Next, bring your attention to your shoulders. Slowly lift your shoulders up towards your ears, and then release them to dangle down from your neck. Notice the sensation of tension when you lift your shoulders, and the sensation of release when you lower them.
- Repeat this movement a few more times, each time allowing your shoulders to move less jerkily and more smoothly.
- Finally, be comfortably seated like in the beginning, and take a moment to just sit and observe. Notice how your chest and shoulders are moving together with your breathing. Notice any improvement in your overall well-being and everyday movements such as turning your head, sitting and breathing.
When you’re ready, open your eyes and slowly come up to standing. See how it is to face the world in standing and take a few steps.
I hope you found this lesson helpful! Please like and subscribe, and share your experience in the comments below. Thank you for watching and see you in the next video!
Here’s the link to my video: youtube.com/watch?v=RGC6pK-62KA