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  1. I wonder if anyone has any advice on exercises for specifically increasing body awareness in a general stretch class. I teach two classes. In one, the members are all long-term yoga students and all have excellent body awareness, and move into and out of positions under control, with economy, and gracefully. However I have recently taken over another group of students, whose backgrounds can be more simply called "stretch" (and they have signed up anticipating a stretch class). The age range goes from late 30s to late 70s (though the one in the late 70s is a long-term yoga student who is excellent in all respects). However, they are a very mixed group, and some of the others give rise to concern. I suspect that some have poor body awareness and control. Some may flop into and out of positions. Some seem unable to control different parts of their body separately. Some are unable to relax their muscles while under stretch. In all my classes I pay some attention to body awareness, and find that slow, smooth movements (e.g. rotations) of the wrists and ankles are excellent at drawing peoples' attention to this (some of this is included in the Novel Movements posting some time ago; we do these too). However, these relate to only limited parts of the body. I know that body awareness underlies the practice of ST at every stage, and therefore it is implicitly taught by every exercise, but I wonder does anyone have any exercises that brings it to the forefront and teaches it more explicitly, and for parts of the body other than wrists and ankles? Also, it would be good if it ended up looking rather not too far from a stretch exercise, because they did not sign up for dance, or tai-chi, or Feldenkrais therapy (though I am looking at exercises from the latter to see if they can be used). Many thanks if anyone has any ideas. And do we have any Feldenkrais therapists on this board? Jim. (And, yes, I did a search of these forums but did not come up with anything, though may not have used the best search terms).
  2. I enjoy listening to music during my flexibility/mobility/stretching/limbering/etc. sessions, which can amount to 2hrs long per day. It's the one thing that changes from workout to workout, and helps keep me motivated to do the same exercises every day. From listening to the coffee shop conversations, awareness is highly touted, and is considered the primary focus. Do you listen to music during your sessions? Is listening to music a "distraction", hindering my cultivation of awareness? Thanks, Alex
  3. Is anyone aware of Wim Hof? If so, curious your thoughts... from what I've gathered, Stretch Therapy community in general identifies awareness of the body as a critical point of instruction when performing the exercises, if not the most important instruction. How physical limitations are actually mental in nature - emotions (fear, anger, etc.) manifest as tension in the body, e.g. that what limits you from further ROM can actually be an emotional barrier; when anesthetized one can do the splits. This explains to me anecdotal stories I've heard of how friends suddenly burst out crying uncontrollably during certain poses, like camel pose in Bikram - essentially, that going deeper in the pose elicited an emotional response. The more aware you are of your body, the more "in touch" you are with your emotions. Wim Hof seems to be a master of this then (body awareness), seeing as he can voluntarily control his autonomic nervous system - and be able to reproduce these abilities in others, using his method. Is this type of body awareness the same or similar to the one Stretch Therapy (or, at least Kit & Dave) wishes to cultivate in their practice and teachings? Or are they completely different concepts, and one doesn't necessarily transfer to the other? In other words, has he really learned to 'control' his internal organs (i.e. proprioception), or has he just learned how to fully 'surrender' to the moment when it comes (i.e. relax)? Are these both the same thing? I recall him in interviews saying, essentially, that his method is the "western" way to quickly achieve what meditators and (kundolini) yogis have spent years trying to cultivate.
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