I find the original recordings of Moshé Feldenkrais quite tedious to listen too, boring as well as overwhelming at times, but—generally speaking—also very interesting. Actual speaking conveys a lot of information: rhythm, pace, intonation, pronunciation, pauses, phrasing and re-phrasing, the latter especially interesting to me as a teacher, it’s all there in these voice recordings.
Furthermore, in some recordings Moshé Feldenkrais was teaching in the English language, therefore nothing is lost in translation. I transcribed the first 2 minutes of recording #4, titled “Tilting Cross Legs”, from his Esalen Workshop (1972):
Please lie on your back, spread your feet, slightly, bend them, bend, spread them, spread, your feet, your legs! Bend them, bend the knees, bend the knees and let the feet stand on the floor. Ok. Now. Some of you are having the feet much too close together. You see, when we say, spread your feet with no other indication, the distance between the feet should be at least the width of the pelvis. Otherwise, obviously that person uses his adductors in such an abnormal way that it’s … you should pay attention.
Now. Cross the right leg over the left, cross it over. The right leg over the left.
And very slowly tilt both legs, both knees, in the direction of the floor to the right, of course, to the right.
Now bring them back to standing position, and keep on tilting the legs like that. Right, always to the floor and back to the middle, back to the neutral position. Slowly.
And now just listen to your body. What happens to the right hip joint? Which part is lifted off the floor? Which parts in the back, in the chest are lifted off the floor?
And the soft part between the pelvis and the ribs on one side is being stretched, on the other one, is being compressed. The ribs on one side are pulled apart, on the other they are pulled toge… pushed together. Just keep on doing it.
Parallel to that exist the Judith Stransky Notes (held in private collection by the International Feldenkrais Guild, purchasable only by their members), a collection of transcript-like notes from the same Workshop (Esalen 1972). I find it interesting to compare the original audio recordings to the Stransky Notes. Even more so since for many years I only had access to the Stransky Notes, not the audio recordings.
In these Stransky Notes some parts seem to be written almost verbatim, while other parts are shortened. Furthermore, there are things added that Moshé Feldenkrais did not say at all, and which might change the movements, the student’s self-organisation and learning, say the lesson as a whole, considerably. Isn’t that interesting? Makes me wonder all the things my own students hear that I did not say, or do not hear even though I said it repeatedly. And, of course, makes me wonder just as much: how much do I myself hear, mis-hear, miss and make up—without me noticing? But compare for yourself:
Lie on your back. Spread your feet a little apart. Bend the knees so that the feet stand on the floor.
Cross the right leg over the left.
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.
Bring them back to the standing position. Do this movement a number of times, tilting towards the floor and back to the middle. Do this slowly.
And now listen to your body. What happens to the right hip joint? Which part is lifted off the floor? Which parts of the back and the chest are lifted off the floor?
And the soft part between the pelvis and the ribs on one side is being stretched, while the other side is being compressed. The ribs on one side are pulled apart, and on the other side they are pushed together. Keep on doing the movement a few more times.