During the past week or two (or three?) I got almost depressed. Maybe I really was. The reason being: I couldn’t see how I could go on with my „From The Ground Up” series.
The reason being, from the comments on the videos I could see the difficulties some viewers have with the folding of their legs, with the loading of the folded legs, and with folding the knees in combination with extending the hip joints (talk about strong opposites). I read how even some long term students got into pain instead of wellbeing. And for me, the same. Click click went my knees. Don’t do that to us, said my knees.
I couldn’t see a way.
I feared, and frowned upon, that I may need to revert to regular, saver, more innocent movement sequences. The like you would find anywhere. Good, honest movement combinations, the sequences you would find in most public Feldenkrais-inspired courses. Nothing wrong with that, I love those movements. But after all I have been trough, what I’ve created and done, what I’ve published on Youtube so far… I don’t want to go back. I want to go on, go further, I want to progress.
And then, at last, just yesterday, I found a way.
The thing is… our movement problems don’t only come from sitting on chairs. Yes, sitting on chairs for extended periods of time is bad. Even if we sit as recommended in so called ergonomic guidelines; or maybe sitting in chairs is bad because of such ergonomic guidelines.
And it’s not just because we might sleep like Count Dracula. Yes, sleeping like a log for the whole night is bad—with both legs extended downwards—the position they put us in for our last rest in a coffin.
However, the worst things we do in terms of movement, I think, is the things we don’t do. The lack of sitting crossed legged, the absence of sitting and lying with folded legs, bent, twisted; the lack of sitting and working in the many squat positions; the thousands, maybe millions of movements we don’t do, that’s the problem.
And then there’s strengthening exercises.
I don’t think that the good thing about strengthening exercises is the actual strengthening. How many repetitions of Toe raises and Toe curls and one legged heel raises with bent forward knees do we need to perform? How many Roundhouse squats? How many of these fun and beneficial knee and leg exercises do we have to do for how many times? Personal trainers are done with counting single repetitions, nowadays they count the hours („I tried exercise X for Y weeks and this is what happened”).
However, I do confirm, yesterday I verified and concluded for myself that in order to restore function we need strengthening exercises. In places where they aren’t yet, we do need to build them into our Feldenkrais-inspired movement practice as safety and priming movements, in order to be able to recover from all the harm and damage done, and in order to be able to progress.
We need the repetitions. But I might not think of these exercises as strengthening exercises. Instead, I think they are a practice of repentance. They are prayers for redemption. They are a way of making up for all the things we didn’t do. For all the years we didn’t squat down, for all the times we sat stiffly on a chair like a good girl or good boy or good office worker, without pulling our legs up into all those forbidden postures like cross legged sitting or sitting with one foot on the sitting platform and one foot on the ground.
Now. Oremus in motu. Let us pray in movement. Let’s make it up to ourselves.