Seeking Chi from the Perspective of the Feldenkrais Method
Beginning or no understanding of topic, Open to all
Movement not required
There are several qualities and descriptions of “Chi”—most simply, the vital energy that flows through all of life. From a Feldenkrais perspective we can say Chi is obscured by habits that are formed and carried out without consciousness. This form of conditioned habit formation arose from our adaptation to gravity, and the familial, societal and cultural conditioning with which we became identified and that was established as our self-image. Additionally, the totality of our lived and well-internalized, calibrated experience was influenced by compensations we made when physically injured or in our recovery from illness, and the forms of self-protection we developed when we experienced emotional wounds. It is popular today to talk about trauma, an experience we had when we did not have the means to meet the circumstances we lived through. Our compensations and protections are found in our mal-adaption to gravity and hidden in our neuromuscular habits. The Feldenkrais Method can be considered to be a contemplative practice, with its core intention to create the conditions in which a person can make a radical transformation in their ability to act and function in the present moment, transcending and becoming compassionate in their personal relationship to the past they acquired from their lived experience. The process of the Feldenkrais Method is deceptively simple. Students are invited to participate in an environment that fosters enhanced perception of their internal composure. With an inward focus, the students engage in an attention to their own sensory/motor experience relative to how they generate and function in the field of gravity. Feldenkrais experiences are called “lessons.” Students are asked questions that take them deeper and deeper into sensorial experiences of how they generate movement, such as breathing, the organization of their spine in rolling, sitting to standing—common everyday experiences that people tend to generate habitually without consciousness. As they would in a meditation, Tai Chi or Chi Kung, the student gradually becomes aware of finer and finer distinctions in their ability to perceive how they generate novel motor plans that eliminate what Dr. Feldenkrais called “parasitic actions” that interfere with true efficiency. They learn to move with a sense of wholeness performed with an absolute minimum of muscular effort to perform the simplest of tasks. When a person experiences significant freedom from their habitual muscular habits that tie them to their identified sense of meaning, they become free to part the veils that have kept them returning to the past for meaning, into an openness, an internal sense of dimensionality, and a resonance with life. The “now” with all of its possible futures sensitivities, spontaneity, and creativity, is no longer obscured from them. It is in this clear, open state that one is living in life force—Chi.
All Martial & Healing Arts presentations proudly sponsored by Rafe Kelley.