Making Connections: Why go Slow?
Updated: Aug 1, 2020
More than 70 years ago, Moshe Feldenkrais knew the brain was capable of changing throughout one’s lifetime. By working with slow and gentle movements, Feldenkrais found significant improvements occurred by new connections being made in the brain. Today this concept has been scientifically proven and is known as neuroplasticity.
The Feldenkrais Method uses movement to communicate to our nervous systems. New movement patterns rewires the neurons in the brain. To enable this rewiring, how we move is as important than what we are doing. Try this little experiment:
Stand in place, notice how your weight is distributed over your feet. Do you feel more weight on one side or the other. Shift your weight from one side to the other. Does one side feel more supportive than the other? Walk around a little, is one side easier or smoother than the other?
Then lie on your back with your knees bent and feet standing on the floor. Tilt your legs to one side at your normal speed and comfort. Continue tilting to the same side for 5-10 repetitions. Then roll to your side into sitting position and take your time to stand. Has anything change? Shift your weight from side to side. Is there any difference in support? Walk around and notice which side is smoother or easier?
Return onto your back with your knees bent and feet standing. Now tilt your legs to the other side. Be sure to make the tilting slow, soft and smooth. Take lots of time, as if you moving in slow motion. You may also make the movement much smaller than the other side. After a few times, see if you may go even slower and smoother. Pay attention to how your contact changes with the floor and how far up you feel the movement go up your spine from the pelvis towards your head.
Roll to your side to a sitting position, then take your time to stand. What changes do you feel? How is your weight distributed over your feet? Shift your wight from leg to leg. Do you notice more of a difference than the other side? Go for a little walk. Which side is smoother now? Did tilting the legs slower create more changes?
Which side did you feel more of a change? Most people will feel a greater difference and more connectedness on slower moving side. It has to do with how the brain functions.
Our ability to think and move is much faster than how we sense and feel. There is a lag time in-between normal movements and the perception of them. Moving at usual speeds, will automatically dial in habitual movement patterns. Therefore, it is necessary to slow down so communication of the movement is clearly felt and sensed. Softening the motion will allow you greater sensitivity of yourself and your environment. This offers you the opportunity to change and create new patterns of movement. Which in turn, creates new wiring in your brain.
Remember, for the brain to grow, you must go slow. Practice the art of slow with SENSE’s free online classes. For more details go to S3NSE.org