Workshops and Classes
I offer classes and workshops to the general public, and to business and other interested audiences by special arrangement. I provide customized presentations on self-awareness and movement, the bodymind relationship, stress reduction, the relationship between body and emotions, and related subjects. My offerings include those described below. To obtain more information on any of these workshops, or to discuss a workshop or other presentation for your business or organization, contact me at or 310/454-8322.
- Reconnecting with the Earth
- Exploring movement over natural terrain, using the Feldenkrais Method, T'ai Chi, and the terrain itself.
- Reclaiming the Territory of Yourself
- Explores the relationship between body and emotions, and the somatic (body) dimensions of healing past emotional trauma. Body and mind are indivisible, and both must heal together.
- Composing Experience
- Discover how you create and maintain the collective illusion we call reality.
- T'ai Chi as a tool for self-exploration
- Nonstrenuous exercise and moving meditation, to rediscover the calmness and fluidity that are your natural birthright.
- Knowing Yourself in order to Know Others
- Intended primarily for those working in a helping capacity, this workshop will enhance your sensitivity and help you to apply it in your practice or work environment as well as in your everyday life.
- Awareness Through Movement classes
- Awareness Through Movement uses gentle movement and directed attention to facilitate self-awareness, activating your enormous capabilities for self-transformation and self-healing. You are guided through gentle non-strenuous movements, lying on the floor out of the field of gravity. Attentive repetition of these gentle movements will help you to discover how to move more comfortably and efficiently.
Reconnecting with the Earth
Exploring movement on natural terrain
Our ancestors moved freely across natural terrain, in a continuing intimate relationship with the Earth beneath their feet. That relationship fostered the balance and physical agility -- rare in contemporary society -- that allowed them to walk easily across a log over a stream with things balanced on their heads. It also contributed to a deep enduring sense of self, and to an accompanying deep sense of psychological security and spiritual well-being.
Today, that close and intimate contact with the Earth is gone, and with it, much of our natural grace and agility. Many people now spend their entire lives out of contact with the natural surface of the Earth, or make contact only through stiff rigid-soled shoes. Spending time primarily on flat floors and paved surfaces, we grow unaware of how we move and we chronically use more effort than our actions really require.
Our movements become inefficient and stiff, contributing to the back and leg problems now so common. We lose the connection to the Earth so necessary to our sense of security and well-being. This workshop explores the process of moving on natural terrain, drawing on the Feldenkrais Method, T'ai Chi, and the terrain itself.
- You will learn how increasing your sensitivity to balance can reduce the effort it takes to maintain yourself in gravity.
- You will learn to shift your balance as you walk, and to allow this shifting balance to do most of the work required to move yourself through space.
- You will learn that walking uphill really takes little extra effort.
- You will learn to clarify your awareness of the ground beneath your feet, and to draw from that awareness a clearer experience of your connection with the Earth.
- You will experience the relationship between this connection to the Earth and your sense of psychological security and spiritual well-being.
And most importantly, perhaps, you will learn ways to carry these insights back with you to the everyday world of flat floors and paved surfaces, so that they can continue to enrich your daily life.
Reclaiming the Territory of Yourself
Your possibilities form a vast, metaphorical territory of yourself. The ones you habitually use -- as you walk, eat, work, make love, and just be-in-the-world -- are narrow trails small clearings in that territory. Most remain unknown and unexplored.
Large sections of your territory got marked Off Limits by early conditioning or emotionally traumatic experience. This workshop can help you understand how that happened, and how you can reclaim territory you may not even know you lost.
Our cultural myth says that body and mind are separate -- subject to separate ills that require tending by separate professions. So we have mental health professionals to deal with emotional problems, and physicians, physical therapists, and bodyworkers for the physical ones.
The reality is that body and mind are indivisible -- the tangible and the intangible aspects of your experience. Distinctions between "physical" and "psychological" trauma are largely linguistic artifacts; everything you experience affects all of you.
The intimate interconnections between the physical and the emotional make it impossible to resolve either in isolation. Body and mind must heal together to reclaim the ease of movement and sense of well-being that are your natural birthright.
This workshop explores the relationship between body, mind, and emotions using a perspective derived from the Feldenkrais Method. We examine the nature of emotional experience, and the ways in which emotional trauma disrupts that experience. The workshop is designed to provide you with
- a conceptual framework for understanding the impact of emotional trauma on your bodymind system, and the physical dysfunctions and limitations it produces,
- a better understanding of how to heal those dysfunctions in ways that honor both their somatic and emotional aspects,
- guidance in enhancing your somatic/emotional clarity, and in reclaiming more of your possibilities.
Subjects covered include:
- Feeling as a sensory/motor process and the role of the musculature as a sense organ for feeling.
- How somatic/emotional blocks are formed and how to facilitate their dissolution.
- The territory of the self as a metaphor for the loss and recovery of functional and emotional capabilities.
- The importance of safety and support in the healing process.
- The special demands and opportunities for growth that healing offers.
You leave the workshop with a new sense of what incredible creatures we human beings are, and how to manifest more of your inherent human potential.
Exploring Perception and Self-imposed Limitation
We each compose our own experience, through the (largely unconscious) choices with which we organize ourselves and our interactions with the world around us. This workshop will explore the nature of those choices, and how they help to shape and maintain the collective illusion we call reality. You will discover how you unconsciously empower constraints in your life, and how you can learn to consciously reduce those constraints and to manifest more of your inherent potential!.
We will initially examine physical interaction with the world around us. You will directly experience the shifts that make those interactions easy or difficult, effective or ineffective, pleasurable or unpleasant. You will discover power and capability in situations where you first feel powerless and incapable -- such as rising effortlessly from a chair in spite of someone holding you down -- by reorganizing your construction of what is taking place.
We will generalize these insights to other areas of life, including your emotional experience and way of being-in-the-world. You will directly experience the relationship between body organization and emotional state, and the possibility of consciously constructing a richer and more satisfactory emotional life.
We will utilize Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lessons and other forms of experiential exploration to illustrate and clarify these ideas, as well as lecture and discussion. The workshop will be responsive to the needs and interests of the participants.
You will learn how to use tools such as those provided by the Feldenkrais Method to deepen and extend the insights you gain from the workshop, and you will leave with a greater sense of what incredible creatures we humans are.
This workshop draws heavily on my book, The Reality Illusion: How you make the world you experience.
T'ai Chi as a tool for self-exploration
T'ai Chi is nonstrenuous exercise and moving meditation. Helping you to become aware of and eliminate unnecessary patterns of tension and stress in your body, it allows you to rediscover the calmness and fluidity which are your natural birthright.
Learning T'ai Chi is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle; the apparently disconnected pieces gradually coalesce into a coherent whole. The role of the instructor is to show you the pieces and suggest how they might fit -- but you put them together in your own unique way.
The movements become a place within which to explore yourself and find easier, more efficient ways of moving and being-in-the-world.
Drawing on Ralph's background as a FELDENKRAIS Teacher as well as his experience with T'ai Chi and other bodymind disciplines, this class explores the T'ai Chi solo exercise as a tool for increasing your awareness and understanding of how you move through and interact with the world around you.
Even if you already know and practice T'ai Chi, this class can still provide you with a valuable new perspective on the form and what it has to offer.
Knowing Yourself in order to Know Others
Sensitivity to others requires sensitivity to yourself. Drawing on the work of Moshe Feldenkrais and related sources, this workshop will enhance your self-awareness and sensitivity and help you to apply that sensitivity in your practice or work environment as well as in your everyday life.
Intended primarily for those who work in a helping capacity -- physicians, therapists, physical therapists, etc. -- this workshop should benefit anyone who wishes to better understand what it is to be human. Topics to be covered include:
- The importance of self-awareness in being human
- The role of neuromuscular organization in efficient functioning
- Disorganization as a cause of limitation and disability
- The role of learning in overcoming limitation
- Feeling and its relationship to body organization
- Sensitivity of touch and how to use it in working with others
The Feldenkrais Method® is a unique body-centered approach to learning which evokes a natural exploratory learning mode to close the gaps between body, mind and emotions. Through effortless spontaneous learning -- the kind you experienced as a child -- you can increase your sensitivity and self-awareness, and re-discover your innate capacity for graceful ef-ficient movement. These improvements can generalize, leading to enhanced functioning in all aspects of life.
In this workshop we will use Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lessons to give you a new sense of ease and fluidity in your movement. You will have an opportunity to observe and discuss demonstrations of Functional Integration®, the one-on-one form of the Feldenkrais Method.