The Feldenkrais Method
with Ralph Strauch

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Merging Nervous Systems
in Functional Integration

Deepen skills and sensitivities you
may not realize you possess

Advanced Training in the
Feldenkrais Method

with Ralph Strauch

Vancouver BC
October 12-15, 2012 CANCELLED


The Vancouver workshop on October 12-15 has been cancelled. If you would like to be notified of future workshops please .

Functional Integration is a conversation between practitioner and client. It is conducted primarily though touch, with supporting verbal interaction. Though sessions vary widely, this conversation is generally about how the client experiences the world and her actions in it, and about how those actions might be improved. If we think of action as the manifestation of intention, then the FI conversation is about how the client might manifest her intention as action more easily and efficiently.

Moshe Feldenkrais spoke of Functional Integration as a merging of nervous systems of practitioner and client. He didn't spell out what he meant by that, though, or how to achieve it. For many practitioners this concept is just a pleasant platitude or an unreachable ideal, with little operational meaning or impact on the way they practice.

This training will make that concept concrete. You will experience merging of nervous systems, both as a practitioner and as a client. You will learn what this involves neurologically and how to apply it in your practice. You will leave the workshop able to apply that knowledge to enhance the sensitivity and effectiveness of your Functional Integration.

Passive, Active, and Conjoined Movement

A distinction is sometimes drawn between passive movement, where the practitioner physically moves the client, and active movement, where the client moves herself under the practitioner's verbal direction. The merging of nervous systems creates a third possibility -- conjoined movement -- where the practitioner induces movement from within the client's nervous system, rather than from outside. This allows the practitioner to interact directly with the client's experience, and allows the client to experience change as emerging from within rather than being imposed from outside.

Accomplishing this as a practitioner requires that you connect with your client at deeper and subtler levels than you otherwise might -- shifting your attention from the mechanics of your physical interaction to the sensory/motor flow connecting your client's nervous system with your own. This is a bit like shifting your visual attention from the surface of a stream to things that move beneath the surface.

Bringing your own nervous system into resonance with your client's allows you to explore your client's inner organization and to guide her in ways that would not be possible from the outside. This may sound strange and esoteric, but it is achievable and can deepen the quality of your work. This workshop will give you concrete experiences with these ideas, and guidance on how to continue deepening those experiences after you leave the workshop.

Cortical and Subcortical Motor control

Motor control is not concentrated in a single area of the brain, but is dispersed throughout the nervous system. The primary components of most voluntary movement -- the movements of your fingers as you type, for example, or of your arm as you swing a tennis racket -- are initiated from your motor cortex. Many of the unconscious ancillary activities accompanying those primary components, though -- including breathing, balance, and the distribution of tonus and coordination throughout your body -- are controlled sub-cortically from the brainstem and the spinal cord.

This workshop will explore the nature of subcortical control in some detail, experientially as well as intellectually. The resonance that occurs when nervous systems merge takes place primarily at the subcortical level. It evokes a subcortical coordination between you and your client that you can use to facilitate greater cortical/subcortical coordination within your client.

The overall quality of movement and action depends on coordination between cortical and subcortical control. Poor coordination produces the "parasitic movements" that we encounter in our clients and ourselves. Improving this coordination is perhaps the best way of moving toward Moshe's ideal of acting with the whole self. Much of effectiveness of the Feldenkrais Method stems from its impact on the quality of cortical/subcortical coordination and the resulting subcortical control. Merging with your client's nervous system is one of the best tools available to you to achieve that ideal.

We may video the workshop, in which case a video release will be required.

Brochure (pdf)

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If you have any questions, please contact

Ralph Strauch by email or by phone at 310-454-8322. or
Katarina Halm by email or by phone at 604-263-9123.

Thanks for your interest.

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. He has presented advanced training for Feldenkrais Practitioners in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. A more complete description of his background can be found here.

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