No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends . . .
— Harry Chapin
Stand up straight!
It is anatomically impossible to comply with this injunction. The spine is curved forward in the neck and lower back, and backward in the chest. This curvy design gives your vertebral column resilience and strength.
Just like the earth, your back isn’t flat.
Nor is your body the same side to side. Your heart isn’t in the middle; you have only one liver, and it’s off to one side. While some folks are born with their organs on the opposite side, a condition known as situs inversus, no one comes into this world perfectly symmetric. Everyone’s legs are slightly different in length.
When Frederick Schjang invited me to be part of this next LGBTQA Feldenkrais® Festival, I instantly thought of our anatomy and how none of us are straight . . . or perfectly symmetrical.
That’s why I decided to teach a Feldenkrais lesson about one of the nervous system’s critical — yet unappreciated — functions: compensating for our structural asymmetries. Whether you walk with a limp, have scoliosis, struggle with issues with equilibrium or orientation, or are just dealing with our shared inherited right-left imbalance, I figured this would be a relevant, useful topic to address.
I’ll teach HEADS AND SHOULDERS IN ARC (also known to Feldenkrais enthusiasts as Alexander Yanai 436) next Thursday, November 17th, at 7:30 AM Eastern time. This ATM lesson gives you a way to gently explore how you bend to each side, slowly mapping out what sections of your spine engage and the ones that interfere. As you bring more of yourself into the action, new options open up as old habits fade, creating the possibility for functional symmetry.
This fall’s LGBTQA Feldenkrais Festival offers six days of fun and learning from 15 to 20 November 2022. The festival is inclusive and open to everyone, regardless of romantic preference or gender identity.
I’m honored to present along with other Feldenkrais teachers from four continents. All the classes and discussions will be online via Zoom. For the first time, the program also features live jazz events from Jazz at Lincoln Center and Smoke Jazz Club. Please click here to find the full schedule.
The quote from which I took the title of today’s blog comes from musician and hunger activist Harry Chapin’s song, All My Life’s a Circle. Here’s a link to Harry’s charming rendition at the Rockpalast in Germany on April 12, 1977.
The image at the top of today’s blog started with a photo by Liam Gant that is available on pexels.com.
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