the MYStERY OF the pUsh

I once asked Moshé Feldenkrais, “What are you going to teach today?” He replied, “I always teach the same movement—only with a different sauce.” – paraphrased from the book “Bone, Breath and Gesture” by Don Hanlon Johnson

So I was writing a new set of cards, and the first card went like this: „Lie on your belly, in prone position, with your legs extended, your toes standing, your hands standing next to your shoulders. Bend and extend your ankles to create a push up your spine towards your head. Rock your head with your feet.”

And I was thinking, „Hm, that’s odd. What is a push?” Here’s that first paragraph as an animated image:

Is a push something like „wind”? Something fleeting, invisible? Something that becomes visible only through the things that are being pushed?

I can’t quite see it in the image though. It looks more like a rocking, the rocking of the legs and entire spine, with the help of the ankles and… arms… somehow, innit? What is it?

I recalled a series of animated images I created years ago, a by-product of me studying the Feldenkrais Method, something to help myself to understand David Zemach-Bersin’s hands-on work. I never published these images due to copyright reasons, but to give you an idea, they looked like this:

I insert one of these animated images here just for the sake of illustration, I guess that should be covered under Fair Use (this specific video of David has been published on Youtube and has been visible to the general public for some time in 2012, even though it has been unlisted since then and now seems to be a purchasable on his website).

In this animated image the push is generated by David (as it looks like by his arms, which push against his stabilised trunk) and then travels into his student’s right foot up through her right leg and her pelvis and further up into her left upper rib cage. And it does all the things a push does, including pushing some parts closer together while pushing some other parts further apart from each other, which looks like rotation and side-bending and that sort of things. And then David spends half an hour with all sorts of other movements, which eventually all sum up to improve the push… which actually aren’t about the push at all. They are about a useful thing: the ability to better lift the right arm on up. No pain, just joy, whoops there it goes up!

Of course, returning to the first picture, we could self-push ourselves asymmetrically too, for example only bend and extend the right ankle, maybe place the foot a bit out to the right to have a more pronounced push vector, and then let that push go from only one foot up on upwards, wherever it goes. Where does it go? What does it do, what does it do? What does it move, what pieces will it take up? And which areas will go untouched, like a cut off branch of a river or a dead architectural space where no wind will ever go in? Is it the push that brings life to our bodies, or is the push proof that we are alive?

On the other foot, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone create a push for us? Would that be easier to feel, to understand, to integrate? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?