The strategies and structures of lessons that work
Mastering The Method Advanced Feldenkrais Training with Larry Goldfarb
MASTERING THE METHOD (MTM) is for Feldenkrais teachers committed to improving their precision of touch, clarity of intention, and artfulness in execution. Studying the standards and masterpieces is a time-honored path to developing skillful mastery. In the lexicon of Functional Integration lessons, there are those structures and strategies that are so consistently effective, so remarkably reliable, that we can count on them to facilitate learning.
In each module of this advanced training series, Larry Goldfarb, CFT, Ph.D. presents a remarkably clear map of one such archetypal lesson plan. From the explaining the overall strategy to patiently coaching each participant in learning every technique, Larry provides the general instruction and personal guidance needed to successfully add this lesson to your repertoire of FI lessons.
MASTERING THE METHOD
offers you the opportunity to:
• Become skilled at new hands-on techniques while refining familiar ones.
• Understand the how & why of each step in the lesson choreography.
• Take better care of yourself, improve your self-use, and refine “the touch that teaches.”
• Uncover and utilize the integrity of “the movement behind the lesson.”
• Adapt the lesson to the student, not vice-versa.
• Promote the transfer of learning into daily life.
This course goes beyond simply presenting a “formula.” Studying each classic template from the inside out reveals the art and science of Feldenkraisian pedagogy. Examining essential lessons from an advanced perspective provides the means to discover—and come to embody—the methodology that guided Moshe Feldenkrais in developing our work.
MASTERING THE METHOD begins with a series of Advanced Training modules about developing length and fostering dynamic upright skeletal support. Each module presents what could, in the wide repertoire of existing FI structures and strategies, be considered a standard: an unfailing, landmark lesson.
Modules 1, 2 & 3 – Developing Length And Support:
The first module presents an FI given in a side-lying position that fundamentally re-organizes the trunk and spine. Larry contextualizes the lesson for various situations ranging from rehabilitation to performance enhancement. When he introduces advanced skeletal and muscular techniques, Larry makes the underlying teaching tactics explicit. Most importantly, he guides you in integrating what you learn and applying it in your practice.
The second module introduces an FI that dramatically re-balances flexor-extensor tonus. Not only does Larry teach the necessary techniques—addressing the feet & ankles, hips & lumbar spine and head, neck & chest (with the student supine)—but more importantly, he discloses the logic of the lesson, revealing just how each step contributes to the learning process. Exploring how to take the lesson into life, you discover it’s potential for noticeable change: making standing dramatically more comfortable, altering how someone walks and developing better balance.
The third module goes beyond the exploring extension prone, asking “How do we develop length when the student is lying on the belly?” By relying more on strategy than recipe, Larry demonstrates how a clear understanding of optimal action combines with sensory-based guidelines for a creative approach that is remarkably and reliably effective. You learn how to use this lesson to reframe common complaints in terms of habits, possibilities and choices.
Modules 4, 5 & 6 – Developing Dexterity And Strength:
In the fourth module of MASTERING THE METHOD, Larry reveals—experientially through ATMs, and didactically through interactive exercises—how the biomechanical and functional freedom of the hands, arms and shoulders relies up the support of the spine, pelvis, and legs. He outlines the lesson’s strategy by teaching the techniques and revealing the tactics of each section of the lesson. The class is designed so you learn each techniques in context of understanding the part your movement plays. As with every module, he demonstrates – and you practice – how to bookend the lesson, using a specific assessment to start and finishing by revisiting the assessment and assigning homework.
The fifth module of MASTERING THE METHOD explores the connection of the hand and arms to the center. Larry explains how this side-lying FI links the arm to the axial skeleton via the clavicle and the ring of the first rib. He reveals how the lesson builds on the biomechanical link between the action of the arm and the supporting, corollary movements of the spine. The accompanying ATM lessons that Larry teaches clarify how the turning of the forearm, arm, and shoulder are linked to the three-dimensional complexity of spine as it twists & arches – or “twarches” – and twists & folds – aka “twolds.”
The FI in the sixth MTM module takes the tact of first finding how the trunk and limbs move around the ring of the first rib and then finding out how the trunk, limbs, and head can connect to and through the first rib. To make clear what’s going on behind the scenes, Larry’s explanations of the techniques bring the connection between biomechanics and perception to the foreground. The analysis of the movement of the hand and arm yields a framework for assessing dexterity, coordination, and strength as well as for delving into the composition this module’s ATM lessons. Larry also explores an underlying theme of being comfortable and movable when lying prone.
Not content with illustrating how the hands-on work in every module relates to limitations of the arm, neck, back and how these underlie various complaints and problems, this approach to giving FIs frames each lesson in terms of functional action, in terms of such activities of daily as opening a door, reaching into your back pocket, stirring a pot, playing a musical instrument, and flying a kite.
Modules 7, 8 & 9 – Balance And Coordination:
In the third cycle of MASTERING THE METHOD, Larry teaches three more unique, and incredibly reliable, FI compositions that are designed to improve balance and coordination.
The lessons you will be learning in Modules 7, 8 & 9 will teach you to
Recognize the habits that limit poise and interfere with equilibrium
Discover how to activate and refine sensory acuity
Refine hands-on abilities by learning advanced manual skills such as “conversing with the head and neck as well as the foot, ankle, and leg.
The way Larry sequences the learning makes it possible for each participant to learn—no matter their level.
In each module he starts by setting the pre-lesson framework, moves step-by-step through each hands-on technique and teaching tactic, and finishes with how to facilitate learning after the lesson.
Larry teaches each technique by showing where to place the hands, explains why we put our hands there (in terms of biomechanics and sensory dynamics), and reveals how best to move the rest of yourself. Combined with carefully selected ATM lessons, this approach develops both an uncanny conceptual understanding and a profoundly felt appreciation for how each step contributes to the effectiveness of the lesson.
In all modules of MASTERING THE METHOD, Larry is actively engaged in making it possible for participants to learn from and with each other. For instance, after demonstrating an FI vignette, he might visit each small group to give the teacher on the table a sense of how the technique feels. The person on the table is then able to give more precise and useful feedback. Because he interacts with and tracks everyone in the course, each participant receives Larry’s individual attention and personal coaching.
Upcoming Course Schedule
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“Larry is a master at teaching practitioners how to fully embody the craft of Functional Integration. I have participated in four modules of Mastering the Method, and each time I leave with a greater understanding of the process of FI: how to structure a lesson coherently, and how to convey clear compelling information to the client. I appreciate the friendly tone that Larry sets, and the supportive, focused atmosphere of our practice sessions. His ATM teaching is remarkably subtle and informative, shedding new light on familiar movements.”
“When I went home after MASTERING THE METHOD, all the techniques I learned were second nature. I was so surprised that the whole lesson was just there: I could do what you showed us without ever having to look at my notes.”
“This was the most effective Feldenkrais teaching that I’ve ever experienced. For years I felt sure that it
could all be shown more simply and explained more clearly and you have proved to me that that is so.”
Feldenkrais Practitioner, USA
“One question that has plagued me ever since my basic training is WHY am I doing this? WHY could I want this person to bend better, or lengthen his neck? Why does this make more sense than that, or why this order and not that order? The answers to those questions are part “do-lots-of-ATM’s-yourself”, part “experience” and so on, but wow, it sure does help when someone takes the time to explain one FI in a way that gives you a sense of what’s actually going on! Understanding better how one lesson fits togther gives you a way to achieve results by design and not by default.”