I just came back from my first ever Feldenkrais lesson. For those of you who don't know what Feldenkrais is, it is a method to help align your body to teach your body exactly how every part relates to another. For example, our teacher had us focus on the sensations we felt in our legs as we moved our neck from side to side (that's putting it simply...the actual exercise was slightly more complicated.) It's an easy, minimal-movement kind of exercise designed to increase self-awareness and help you realize the impact of every movement you make on every muscle and bone in your body. Pretty awesome.
At the end of the lesson, we were asked to slowly stand, feel the sensations on all sides of our bodies, and slowly walk around the room. As I slowly stood, I realized that my body was naturally aligned in the position my voice teacher has been wanting me to find for the past 3 months. I walked with poise and strength, gracefully, without trying to do anything. I was so aware of my body in that moment; for the first time, I experienced--both in looking and in feeling--what my body actually is at THIS moment. After standing still for a moment and listening to what my body was telling me, and then sneaking a peek in the mirror, I had a shocking revelation. Instead of the heavy, droopy body from 100 pounds ago that I carry around with me normally, my body was what it is RIGHT NOW. Totally present, with no association to the past or to the future. It was such a shocking and remarkable discovery for someone struggling with the idea of accepting herself physically for exactly what she is. It also felt pretty damn good to see a tall, graceful body in the mirror, standing proudly in the moment.
It's interesting to think about how I perceive my body in relation to dieting. Until today, I never realized that my thoughts towards my body tend to revolve around the person I was at 300+ pounds OR the person I will be once I lose the next chunk of weight. Maybe that's a reason for the body dysmorphia issues I've been experiencing as of late. Instead of allowing myself to see the Tracy I am right now, I spend too much time thinking about the Tracy I was or the Tracy I will be. The Tracy who is typing this right now is pretty damn great, just the way she is, with her past and future there merely as "bumpers" to keep her going in the right direction.
Feldenkrais is EXACTLY what I've been looking for to realign my body, to build my own self-confidence in who I AM (not who I was, and not who I will be) and to help me realize my body's place in the world right now. Pretty cool.
Too bad it's so expensive and only available at the elite health clubs in NYC. My music theory professor is actually a Feldenkrais facilitator who can snag me free passes once in awhile (which is how I was able to get into this particular class) but I know the real effects will only come after continuous study of the method. Maybe someday...
I continue to be amazed at the learning moments that God and life throw my way, and my ability to embrace them wholeheartedly.