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Shared Reflections

This is a renewable section in which we gather articles and musings from the experienced people in the Body Cognition Method.

I Remember the Amazement

I Remember the Amazement
By Giora Raz
 
I will not speak of the method, the theory, and its insights. Rather, about my own personal experience of many years and its results. I did not turn to the Body Cognition after surgery or an accident, or due to back or other physical pain. I came, and this was over 30 years ago, when everything was actually fine; as a child of a Kibbutz, who has been involved in very demanding agricultural labor, which in those days was very physical. My army service was spent in an elite military unit that demanded being in good shape and withstanding extreme physical and emotional conditions, and later I went on to lead a non sedentary lifestyle which did not involve sitting in a chair.
 
Of course, you as professionals, will say, that such a biography is a sure recipe for physical calamities, but that was not the case. Perhaps it was good genes, or dumb luck, but as I said, everything was fine.
 
Previously, I had dabbled in the gym, Yoga, running, walking. Like most people. It did not work for me and I did not persist. And here I am, trying not to miss a lesson for 30 years now.
 
I heard about the method from a friend, met Yosepha – one class above me in Ein Harod. And immediately, like a captivated infant, who never learned what a correct movement is, and ignorant to bio-mechanic laws and such, I turned myself over to her. Very quickly I knew, before the theoretical phraseology, which had not yet been formulated, that this is good and right for me. I remember in great detail one of my first lessons, in which the topic was - the soles of the feet. I remember the amazement, what can be done with the soles of the feet in 45 minutes, and when I came out I felt as though I am walking in slow motion on a trampoline.
 
This is where my long journey with Body Cognition began. There were better lessons than others, there were great lessons. Surprising discoveries were made about skills and movement links and disappointments of the inability to realize it. In time and with accumulated experience I felt and understood what happens to me here.
 
My, our, conventional relating to the body, was in particular to its outer physical aspect, I would say the cosmetic aspect, according to some dictated ideal of beauty, measures, built and shape which dictates a very specific behavior in order to achieve this ideal. With my training in the Body Cognition, this form of relating to the body started to change into a different more functional attitude towards the body. How do I treat this complex machine, with its understandable and acquired shortcomings, so that it optimally serves my movement requirements? It takes time. A lot of time, and that's not all. In time, a sophisticated revelation is formed between the body and the consciousness. You no longer execute orders like a robot, but begin to understand, explore and audit what you are doing, while becoming aware of the given body frame and learn to improve its limitations.
 
We all know the inseparable link and the relationship between body and soul, or if you will between material and spirit. This is evident in all possible aspects of a human's life, which is deemed higher than the beast, and a good example is the language: there are phrases that link an emotional state with body parts: Weak knees, hothead, tongue-tied, heartache.
I recounted that I came to the Body Cognition without impairment. Apparently that wasn't the case. Yosepha immediately identified a stiff neck, slanted backwards, probably due to prolonged swimming and diving which cause the slanting of the neck.
 
In this context, I remember a conversation with a friend who is in the field asking me if I am training with Yosepha. According to her, a guy sitting with his girlfriend on a park bench at night must never tell her to look at the moon, because it causes lordosis of the neck. The lordosis in my neck was treated, and I learned to look at the moon without curving the neck.
 
The most important thing I gained by my long participation in the Body Cognition lessons is the rare opportunity to make time, twice a week, every week, for one hour, of an intimate, interactive encounter with my body. To enter twice a week and roam within myself, explore and try to understand who does what, why and how, where and from which side, when, and how much.
מדוע וכיצד,
היכן, ואיך ולמה,
לאן ומאיזה צד,
מתי, אן וכמה.
(כן , אלתרמן)          
 
This ongoing interaction between body and soul gives rise to a holistic change (perhaps a total change). The more the body becomes more flexible, the more the movement range grows, the more the posture improves, so improve the flexibility, the motion range and the stability of the consciousness. The more the correct motion rules – slow, not all the way, not to the end, moderate pressure, control and total ability to relax – are assimilated in the body and the muscles, the more they are assimilated in the mind, and change your being in this realm as well. This is what happens to me, and when I look around at the end of a lesson and see the smiles, the calm expressions on the faces of those around me, I feel they are going through the same thing.
 
I come out of the lesson, walk, and it happens again, light and clear in my head, and a flood of pleasure in my body, which slowly evaporates like a bubble of soap.
 
 
In conclusion let me say - continue to study and teach and reach more and more people, it is unbelievable that such a life improving method will be enjoyed by such a small number of people. There are over 40 thousand mentions on the internet to the body cognition, but most are not linked to our Body Cognition. Check out what goes on there, that's where the world is. The name of the game today is marketing, so market. It's easy, it's clear it's obvious: Tuck the stomach in, again and again, this is it in a nutshell and the rest is up to you.
 
When the prosecutor asked Socrates why he keeps teaching the same ideas again and again like a parrot, the defendant replied - do you have a different answer every time someone asks you what is 2 + 2?
To me it is as clear as 2 +2. If I did not have the Body Cognition method my situation would have been different.
 
Yosepha, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart, for everything. For the doctrine, the work and for giving me the ability, in my ripe age, to tie my shoes standing up, when the locker room is crowded.
 
19/12/2009

The Beauty of Slowness

The Beauty of Slowness
By Michal Grossman
 
During the last Independence Day a radio interview was broadcast, featuring a veteran fighter pilot and a prominent brain surgeon, which focused on different aspects of their respective field, particularly the creative side of it. An interesting and even surprising dialogue was formed, especially towards the end: the interviewer mentioned a certain situation in their work, describing it as very exciting, what led her to ask if they feel a divine connection, of conquering the skies? The brain surgeon replied emphatically and straightforward (and in English) it is just a job! And the pilot said – and here is the surprise – it's a job… but a job rich in esthetics… and the thrill is not always necessarily in the intensity… sometimes, what is thrilling is actually the slow flight… the quiet flight… the economical rotations...  when there is little fuel left...  above the layer of clouds… with a red setting sun in the evening..
This depiction was touching, inspiring, and led me to think about the Body Cognition field. I wondered (and was enchanted by) how the quiet place, the slowness and minimalism is preserved and shines through from behind the commitment of achieving a goal, the supersonic speed,
the force, the weight…
 
 
These qualities of quiet and slowness rise and shine through from the deep clandestine part of our inner soul. Also, the gentleness, delicacy, grace and other qualities – concealed in the depths of our souls, are interlaced and present in each other.
 
It is not simple to write of this inner aspect of our soul, which is so latent and hidden. But these things correspond with Body Cognition, and after more than 30 years of studying it, and gaining awareness through it, to that very aspect, I dare say something about it (and also that these things
relate to the Jewish studies I have been engaging in for the past few years).
 
The Body Cognition teaches proper movement, which is also, by way of being correct, healthy and beneficial. That is, while we acquire proper and corrected movement, we may achieve, compatibly, optimal orthopedic health and many physical benefits; and vice versa: a movement that is not corrected may cause damage and disrupt our condition.
 
As for the question – what is proper movement (which is certainly a fundamental and important question in the grasping of Body Cognition), I will not get into it here, but rather, I will present one aspect of it that relates to the core issue of this article: a proper movement is a movement
connected to and which is drawn from that deep inner part of the soul – where our spiritual qualities are kept!
The enormous significance of it, is gaining the understanding that it is impossible to attain proper movement, which is optimal and truly beneficial, without getting in touch with these qualities! If, for example, we fail to sufficiently develop our quality of gentleness, we will find it difficult to reach a precision of movement, an understanding of it, and so, it seems, we will not be able to gain a true physical benefit, prevent damage,
heal conditions and be free of pain.
 
It may seem demanding and hard to achieve, but in fact, this is a process of mutual nurture: when we practice proper movements, we not only feed on our spiritual qualities, but also, simultaneously, awaken and develop them. While we notice the physical – movement precision, we create the connection to the inner spiritual level: to the gentleness, delicacy, quiet, and also to beauty and truth...
Let's make one thing clear, the Body Cognition method is based, first of all, on vast knowledge, understanding, physical-scientific laws and rules (anatomy, physiology, etc.) however, as mentioned, we must strive to connect the abovementioned to a wider and broader wisdom, which includes our spiritual values (and indeed – as an example of the unified message – the knowledge "changes" within the whole, the conclusions and modes of implementation derived from it are completely different in the Body Cognition). The unity formed allows us to achieve, not only proper movements and physical health, but also the refinement of the body and mind, as well as the strengthening of the spirit and the soul.
 
If we dig deeper, we will see that there is something very special here – a unique illustration which shows how work that is connected to the physical, supposedly lower level, (physical problems, pains, etc')  compels the "intervention" of our highest level – our spirit – soul level, in order
for it to succeed and be executed seriously.  
 
May 2012 
 

 

The Bliss of Learning

This is a renewable section in which we gather articles and musings from the experienced people in the Body Cognition Method.
 
The Bliss of Learning 
By Nili Aslan
 
During the course of years in which I am practicing the Body Cognition Method, I have experienced quite a few analogies between the "right way" which the method bestows its devotees, and my own private "right way", in my paths of life. Here are a few key points:
 
The Body Cognition method as a knowledge-spreading tool. A person's process of self discovery.
We must not underestimate the importance of learning about the self and its implications on our quality of life and health, both emotional and physical. It is a life project. Developing an inner dialogue, out of respect, appreciation and willingness to correct and achieve a personal and intimate right way for oneself. If you stop and observe what is going on inside of you – whether its physical or emotional – in real time(!), a door will
open to learning, getting to know the self, to the choice and perhaps even to inner accord.
 
Getting to know your body – distinguishing the automated system (or a fixed thought process, or a habit), breaking it down to details, isolating components, knowing if and what is essential to us. After we are familiar with them, and learned how to isolate them, how to activate or deactivate them, we may then connect them in the right sequence, rhythm, harmony, force / release; and so we find ourselves reaching the same goal effortlessly and without getting worn out, but rather with a pleasant feeling embodying an inner smile derived by this intimate dialogue making this
possible, and just as important – by the process.
 
 
Developing the skill of listening to the self – the variable self.
 
Scoliosis – people suffering from some degree of Scoliosis, under the guidance of the Body Cognition method for correcting their posture, slowly learn how to live with this reality, to the point where it is unnoticeable. They develop the ability to position their spine while striving to achieve optimal symmetry, through a work process "an outsider will not comprehend" – controlling the muscles they learned to derive small movement out of, which allow for a layer by layer construction, while one may contradict the other, resulting in a spine whose lateral curves are practically unnoticeable, including in X-rays. The beauty of it is that they don't need a mirror in order to get a feedback reflection or affirmation that their spine is positioned exactly as they intended it to be. They also know how to derive the correct positioning of their spine through varied and changeable movements.
 
Does this remind us of an equivalent behavior in our lives? Of course! We are all "twisted" in some way or other, in some aspect or other. Learning how to live well with ourselves is a result of knowledge, the breaking down of elements while acknowledging them, and reconstructing the structure with the same elements but in a healthy balance. Gradually, it becomes an upgraded "autopilot". And if we fail to fixate ourselves within a physical or virtual brace, such as a clad thought pattern lacking the exploration and inner process, we will be left to take responsibility for ourselves while our flexibility is still with us. People who take responsibility for themselves upgrade their environment as well. After all, reaching a balance will forever be an individual process, and the Body Cognition method teaches this.
 
Accepting and living with constant changes:
The constant changes which are the product of time, the use we make of the resources we were born and equipped with, the incessant adjustments, while agreeing to let go of…(thinking patters, movement paradigm, an impulsive urge, holding on to habits, etc'); adapting to the correct position for that moment – whether it be a cold season, or a physical or emotional distress of some kind, whose ramifications are derived of the body/soul connection. Flexibility of thought begins with the willingness to part, as this prosaic example will show: we pay attention to the movement of a muscle which requires our thinking (or habit) for activating or moving it – we notice the effort required of it, that is, for its contraction, and we are not used to make an intention for the opposite muscle, whose role is reversed – to consent to lengthen while releasing (as opposed to the stretch). Once this inner and intimate accord is reached - the door is opened to the correlation between the atmosphere and the state of mind, and the physical state and through our walking path called life.
 
Building precision – precision can be an acquired skill. You can discipline yourself to be precise. Granted, it may take some time, but the reward is well worth it. When precision prevails, order is formed without disrupting creativity. Knowledge of what is right for one occurs naturally.
The range of the Body Cognition lessons is almost infinite. No lesson is repeated. There is a constant development of more complex and subtle frequencies – because of the teacher's own improvement as well as the student's, which allows progression, while gaining control of his/her body movements. A person's inner dialogue with himself throughout his life is also infinite and ever changing, according to the outer and personal circumstances, under which a person conducts himself through life's paths, whether they be short or long.
 
Measure is of major importance. Knowing and being aware of your own measure. This means recognizing when you are in excess or deficient (whether it be a joint movement range you used to the fullest or did not use at all, whether you overate, or did not drink enough, or accumulated frustrations, anger, anxieties, or lack of joy and laughter). The optimal position of a joint is essentially similar to the optimal position of our mental state – out of which one can set out to accomplish any mission. If an overflowing emotion is present such as, anger, frustration, disappointment, hurt – no reaction can lead us to the solution of the problem. And if it does, it would be a road full of obstacles with a price to pay. When you recognize you are in excess in real time – you are able to correct and/or moderate.
 
Just as important – that you are always able to stop, because your every step is calculated, and correct for every minute (of course there is no ideal world or an ideal person – it is a constant strive). It is relevant both for one's wish or lust (yes, lust) to straighten the leg in the wrong timing according to the position of the back, as well as to whether you are unable to direct/channel your anger which wants to burst out in the wrong time at the wrong place, so that you will get hurt. It is crucial to conduct oneself like a skilled driver, sensible, understanding, alert to one's surrounding and the situation, courteous, flowing – correctly accelerating and stopping – no sudden acceleration and braking abruptly – which is bad for the driver and even bad for the car.
 
The ability to stop at any given moment is a course that becomes second nature to you. A part of who you are. The same goes for the body – an overload on one area, a joint, a tendon, a muscle, working unilaterally, lack of diversity, imbalance – pave a sure way to a pathology which will not allow pleasant, efficient and painfree movement in space for life.
 
 
Responsibility: personal responsibility and the influence of good on the whole. On choice, on the ability to choose.
 
On agreeing to part/let go of obsolete habits for your body or mind, of stress, exaggerations, measurements. A muscle agreeing to give length is a very different length than a muscle being forced to stretch. And why would a muscle agree to give length? And why this strange phrasing… after all since our first physical education lessons we were programmed to stretch and increase range, being in shape and achieving goals, competitiveness and adrenaline, speed and strength. My personal experience has made it clear, that understanding and accepting are based, among other things, on trust. Since my approach towards myself in the world and in my body has changed, the marvelous cooperation I am privileged to experience includes an ample and comfortable life inside my body.
 
Unlike the past - many years in which I used motion to "gain range," stretched painfully to "gain length," and sustained unpleasant positions only to surprise myself with an ability that has no use or purpose; today, my journey is one of understanding and listening, a dialogue between myself and what is useful and enabling, and is to be with me until it becomes obsolete.
 
On the flexibility of thought – you are faced with options since you are not a horse in a manger in your own trough. Only choose what is right for you – whether it is how to get up from the floor while your knee is sensitive, or how to conduct a dialogue with a person who usually "gets on your nerves".
 
The Body Cognition method also provides the silence between the words. The kind of silence that allows one to truly be.
 
The respect one gains towards his body and its mechanisms, with outer and inner implications, and a mental implication with a constructive feedback between them.
 
The questions! To realize we have questions, and if we don't – there better be! It sharpens the mind and the link to all worlds surrounding us, even if not our own or not us. We will not always know the answers. We will also learn how to set aside the preoccupation with it, or even agree to accept giving up on understanding; or the answer can reach us, because we opened an enabling window. A good teacher asks many questions in a course of guiding the movements. The questions are stimulating, mind opening and enhancing our comprehension and awareness.
 
All that was said (and more…) is ingrained in the foundation of the Body Cognition method and is occurs during a 45 minute movement lesson.
 
2010-2011