How to Be "Grounded" Physically and Emotionally

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I am sure you all injured yourself once or twice, or too many to keep track of. Recall the last time you were injured and in pain. Can you describe your feelings as you were going through your recovery?

Upset? Disappointed? Helpless? Sad? Scared? Depressed? Anxious? Nervous?,…. what else?

It is very apparent that what happens to your body directly affects what happens to your mind. Can you use this fact to your advantage?

What do you do when you are feeling very unstable for whatever reasons? How do you regain your stability?

Because physical stability and balance are closely related to emotional stability and balance, the benefits of exercise and movement extend into both physical and emotional aspects.

When you are feeling emotional wobbly and unsteady, instead of thinking or worrying about “it”, start working on your physical stability and balance then you will regain your "ground" from which you can move into any direction with ease and confidence!

Watch the video below (about 12 minutes) to learn how you can improve physical stability, which will help you feel more stable and “grounded.”

Before you do this exercise, observe and notice your emotions as well as physical sensation of your body, and after you finish the exercise, observe and notice your emotions again. Did they change? How?

 Get help to move with stability and confidence and feel stable and grounded in your body and mind.

Movement is essential to our life. Improving movement quality is directly related to quality of our life. Teaching people to move well is my passion. Sign up for Trans4Move Newsletters that will teach you how to improve your movements, functions, and your life!

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My name is Taro Iwamoto. I am a Feldenkrais practitioner and movement expert. I help people develop new and more efficient movement patterns and expand movement options in order to overcome injuries/pain and move beyond limits. Feel free to post in the comments section below and feel free to share this with your friends!

Toe Dexterity and Balance

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How well can you move your toes? I bet you can't move your toes as well as your fingers. Your feet used to get a lot more sensory stimulation from the ground when you were a child as you probably walked in barefoot than you do now.

Notice how babies use their feet and toes and use the feedback from the ground to develop movements. Your brain gets so much information from your feet and toes.

Imagine how little freedom your feet and toes have in your shoes. Sensory feedback your feet receive from the ground help you develop balance.

Start activating your toes once again like when you were a child with "Monkey Toes Exercise" and improve your balance!


Get help to improve your balance and movement.

Movement is essential to our life. Improving movement quality is directly related to quality of our life. Teaching people to move well is my passion. Sign up for Trans4Move Newsletters that will teach you how to improve your movements, functions, and your life!

Taro photo2.JPG

My name is Taro Iwamoto. I am a Feldenkrais practitioner and movement expert. I help people develop new and more efficient movement patterns and expand movement options in order to overcome injuries/pain and move beyond limits. Feel free to post in the comments section below and feel free to share this with your friends!

What can you do to prevent the problems associated with sitting too much?

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Are you getting sore from sitting too much at work?  Wondering what you can do to prevent the problems associated with sitting too much?  


This seems to be a very common issue for many people, perhaps including you.  Proper ergonomics definitely helps, but that’s not enough, right?  Paying attention to your posture, but you can’t think about your posture all the time, can you?  So what can you do??

 

While sitting in itself is not bad and it is necessary, a lack of movement or less movement variability that sitting for a long period of time creates can be problematic.  I believe we, human-beings are designed to move.  Less movement means less muscle activation, less bone stimulation, less brain stimulation, less blood circulation, etc.  Your brain and nervous system will get your attention by increasing muscular tone and/or producing pain/uncomfortable sensation in your body, which is a cue that you need to move.  

 

Ideally you want to get up and move around every so often, but when you are at work or driving, it’s not very realistic to do that.  My guess is that this is a dilemma you are facing.  So, a real question is: What is a solution?

 

Solution:  Create more movements in sitting.  Sitting on an exercise ball or a dyna disc (shown in the video below) can help create more movements due to an unstable sitting surface.  I need to mention to you that you will want to start sitting on an exercise ball or a dyna disc for a short period of time and gradually increase time if you have never used it as a chair.  As it is unstable, it will require you to use muscles you haven’t used a while or you don’t use all that much, thus will require you to adapt to new physiological demands.


While an exercise ball or a dyna disc can be helpful in terms of creating more movements in sitting, they are not absolutely necessary.  You can also create more movements in sitting with simple exercises.  I suggest you try these exercises to improve comfort in sitting at work.

 Get help to improve comfort in sitting at work.

Teaching people how to move well is my passion. Sign up for Trans4Move Newsletters that will teach you how to improve your movements, functions, and your life!

Taro photo2.JPG

My name is Taro Iwamoto. I am a Feldenkrais practitioner and movement expert. I help people develop new and more efficient movement patterns and expand movement options in order to overcome injuries/pain and move beyond limits. Feel free to post in the comments section below and feel free to share this with your friends!

Applying the Feldenkrais Method in Working with People with Dementia

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I have been fortunate enough to have had many opportunities to help individuals with dementia including Alzheimer’s disease as a Feldenkrais practitioner and a physical therapist assistant in the past several years.  Although people’s diagnoses would not change how I work with people, working with people with dementia brings unique challenges.  

I’d like to share a few things that I’ve learned over the years and how I use some principles of the Feldenkrais Method to help those individuals.  I understand there are several types of dementia and they all present different symptoms, but what I am sharing here applies to people with all forms of dementia.



Principle #1:  Be present and meet them where they are at

 

This principle is not unique to the Feldenkrais Method,but is such a fundamental one to keep in mind.  Even if they don’t understand what you are saying, they can intuitively sense whether you’re giving them your attention or not.  It is very important to be able to  recognize all of their cues (verbal or non-verbal) that can suggest their needs because they may not have the ability to express them verbally.  Being present is a pre-requisite to notice those cues.

 

Principle #2:  Let go of expectations  

 

You teach them something, say, teach them how to get out of a chair more efficiently, and there is a very good chance they will forget what you teach and you will end up teaching the same thing again next visit.  We, Feldenkrais practitioners know that we should not expect any particular outcomes/results from our clients.  This is especially important when you’re working with people with dementia.  

We may guess and speculate what might happen, but it’s not our job to decide their outcomes.  It it their nervous system’s job to decide.  Just observe and notice their responses/changes.  The nervous system will take what it can take at that moment and will not take anything if it’s not ready.  Knowing this will greatly reduce pressure/stress on practitioners as well as clients.

 

Principle #3:  Developmental Movement Patterns

 

It’s not uncommon that people with dementia decline in motor functions as well as cognitive functions as they tend to work together.  A beauty of being a Feldenkrais practitioner is that we help improve people’s functions through movement.  Based on my experiences people tend to regress in their motor functions in the very similar development sequence except in reverse.  

I find it very helpful for them to practice developmental movement patterns such as rolling, crawling, scooting, all transitional movements, etc.  Development movement patterns are fundamental building blocks for more complex movements such as walking.  Thus, when complex movements become more difficult, it’s beneficial to go back to earlier movement patterns.  

I had a client in her 80’s with mild dementia, and she was declining in all her functions.  It was getting harder for her to get out of a recliner chair, bed, toilet, get in/out of shower, walk, and more.  She was working on some strengthening exercises, which were helpful, but didn’t seem to improve her functions significantly.

 I started incorporating developmental movement patterns, which she had not done for years.  After a few weeks, she started to show significant improvements in all her functions.  It was getting much easier to get out of her recliner, bed, toilet.  She was walking faster.  She was much more confident in her balance.  I am not describing specific movements here as what is appropriate will depend on each person.  

What I’d like to emphasize here is that practicing developmental movement patterns can affect their functions so significantly.  However, please don’t be shocked if you don’t see any improvements or carryover from one session to next.  As I said earlier, it’s not our job to decide their outcomes.  Our job is to facilitate their learning by creating such conditions.  Then, we’ll just need to let their nervous system do their job.  Observe their responses and adjust what we will provide next time accordingly.

 Here’s a video that shows a few examples of developmental movements I use with my clients.

While there are more Feldenkrais principles that I apply in working with people with dementia, I wanted to select a few that I find particularly helpful.  I hope you find this information helpful.  Whether you are a Feldenkrais pracitioner or not, you can use these principles to help people with dementia.  

 

Get more information:

Blending the Feldenkrais Method into my Physical Therapy Practice

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My article “Blending the Feldenkrais Method into my Physical Therapy Practice” was published on the Feldenkrais Guild Website. In this article, I shared my experiences during the 4 year Professional Feldenkrais Training period and how I’ve transformed and how I’ve adapted the Feldenkrais Method in my physical therapy practice (I am a licensed physical therapist assistance in WA as well as a certified athletic trainer). If you’re in healthcare business (PT, OT, AT, personal trainers, body workers, chiropractors, etc) and are starting your career as a Feldenkrais practitioner, you may find my article helpful. This is only my own experience, which you may or may not agree with, but hopefully this is helpful for some people.

Here’s a link to my article: https://www.feldenkraisguild.com/article_content.asp?edition=9&section=43&article=462

Top 25 Feldenkrais Blogs on the Web

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I woke up this morning to a great news: I was selected as one of 25 Feldenkrais Blogs on the internet!! These blogs were based on: google reputation, google search ranking, influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites, quality and consistency of posts, and Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

https://blog.feedspot.com/feldenkrais_blogs/

I still cannot believe how I made it to the list, but I am very grateful and honored to receive such recognition for just simply sharing my passion with other people!

Thank you very much for all support from my blog readers! This has motivated me to keep sharing what I love as it’s reminded me that there are people who benefit from my blogs.

Feldenkrais Method and Developmental Movement

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Feldenkrais Method uses developmental movement.  

Do you have any guess why??

There are several reasons but I will explain one here.  

Children rely on their own kinesthetic senses (subjective) to make a decision.  Adults, on the other hand often make a decision based on objective information (norms of the society, opinions of others).  

This happens as we learn to act in accordance with the rules set by our society.  As a result, we move away from our own senses to make a decision.

Then what happens?  

When our senses do not match our decision that was made based on objective information, stress (physical and emotional) will be created.  What we are doing is basically trying to make our senses fit into the norms of the society and others.  

So what can we do?

We can re-learn how to connect to our own senses, ourselves like children so we can make a decision based on our senses, which will free your tension (muscular and emotional). 

We use developmental movement to create similar learning conditions and processes to the first few years of our life when the only thing we could rely on was kinesthetic senses, which has nothing to do with the norms of the society or opinions of others.  During Feldenkrais class, a teacher does not show students how they need to move.  Instead, students will be verbally directed to their own kinesthetic senses.  As you practice more, you will become more sensitive and you will be able to recognize when you go back to your old habitual pattern of relying on objective information to make a decision, which may not match your senses.  At this moment, you have a new choice, that is, to tap into your own kinesthetic senses to make a decision.  Then you have more freedom than you did before.  

Here is a video of me doing simple movements to develop new movement patterns:

Get help to move freely, comfortably, and gracefully.

How to Improve Your Posture

How to Improve Your Posture

Have you tried to change your posture consciously and tried some stretching/strengthening exercises to correct your posture yet you find yourself with the same posture? Why is it so hard to change posture? Here, I talk about posture from a different perspective.

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Paradigm Shift in "Fixing" Posture

Paradigm Shift in "Fixing" Posture

Have you tried to fix your posture by strengthening and stretching muscles or by adjusting the spine or by consciously trying to correct your posture but you still have the same posture as before?  And do you wonder why you can’t change your posture?

Read More