Advanced Training in the
with Ralph Strauch
This page describes advanced training which I periodically offer for Feldenkrais Practitioners and students in professional training programs. These trainings are often also open to practitioners in related disciplines with a strong Feldenkrais grounding who would like to better understand how these ideas might enhance their practice.
- Ongoing mentoring group in Los Angeles, California.
- Meets monthly on the first Saturday . Please contact me by email or by phone at 310-454-8322.
Experience doesn't just happen. It's something we each compose for ourselves, through the (largely unconscious) choices with which we organize our perception of and interaction with the world around us. The Feldenkrais Method offers tools to improve those choices. This training will help you utilize those tools more effectively to
- enrich your life by becoming more aware of how you compose your own experience, and
- enhance your Feldenkrais teaching by thinking in terms of shaping the way your clients compose their experience.
While not the way the Feldenkrais Method is normally taught, the paradigm presented here will give you a powerful new way of understanding the Method and how it works. You will learn ways of thinking and interacting with clients that will lift your work to a higher level. You will leave the training with a new understanding of the nature of human experience and the possibilities it offers to each of us.
This training is organized around two main themes:
- Exploring perception and self-imposed limitation
- Deepening your sensitivity and sense of connection with your clients and yourself
Exploring perception and self-imposed limitation
We begin by examining the nature of perception -- how you filter and assemble your particular experience from myriad possibilities the world continually offers. You will experience and understand the concept that ordinary reality is an agreement, and discover new possibilities that flow from that understanding.
Even your perception of physical mass and solidity comes as much from the way you interact with the world as from what's inherently "out there." You will discover how refocusing your perception can make difficult interactions easier, ineffective interactions more effective, and unpleasant interactions more pleasant. These experiences will deepen and clarify your understanding of the Feldenkrais Method and enhance the effectiveness of your work.
You will discover power and capability in situations where you normally feel powerless and incapable -- rising effortlessly from a chair despite being held down, for example -- by becoming aware of the misdirected effort that is keeping you stuck. You will gain new insight into how your clients maintain the limitations they come to you to resolve.
These direct experiences will be extended and used as metaphors for interactions with life more generally.
Deepening sensitivity and sense of connection
Much Feldenkrais training focuses primarily on technique -- on the skills necessary to decide what to do with your client and then to do it. These skills have value, certainly, but there are also deeper levels to the Method that sometimes get lost in the quest for better technique. The results you achieve will ultimately depend less on the technique you bring to the table than on your sensitivity to your clients and their needs, and the sense of connection you bring to your interaction with them.
We will focus on those deeper levels, and the skills necessary to function at those levels. We will explore the subtleties of communication through touch, both in what you take in as a practitioner and what you transmit back through your connection to your client. You will learn to bring greater conscious awareness and attention to the interaction, working within the conjoined system of you and your client together rather than doing things to your client. You will experience the benefits that this provides for both practitioner and client. This is what Moshe referred to as merging with your client's nervous system.
The training will include Awareness Through Movement lessons and other experiential explorations to clarify these concepts and Functional Integration practices that utilize them, as well as lecture and discussion. It will be responsive to the interests and needs of participants. Additional areas which we have explored in the past include:
- Action as the manifestation of intention -- with particular attention to the integration of cortical and sub-cortical motor control and its role in efficient and effective action, and the role of sub-cortical control in the experience of not-doing.
- The somatic nature of emotional experience --including the role of self-awareness in enhancing the quality of that experience, the negative impacts of social conditioning and emotional trauma on both physical and psychological functioning, and the potential of the Feldenkrais Method to facilitate emotional healing.
- Grounding and centering -- the somatic experience of sensing support from the ground and acting from your center, and the role those experiences in enhancing overall functioning.
Ralph Strauch, Ph.D., practices the Feldenkrais Method in Los Angeles, California. He trained with the founder of the Method, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, and brings to his practice a wide range of insight and experience. He was formerly a Senior Mathematician with the Rand Corporation where his research focused on choice in the face of uncertainty, and has been exploring the mind-body relationship through the internal martial arts and related practices since the late 1960s. The ideas he presents in Composing Experience have developed and evolved over that time. A more complete description of his background can be found here.