News from the Center  
Inside this Newsletter: All Our News, Plus:
Weekly Classes
Classes for Kaiser Permanente Members
Workshop: Vocal Power
Article: Neuroplasticity and principles of the Feldenkrais Method
Article: Sustainable Improvement
Ways to Unsubscribe

Workshops coming
We are working on a new offering of Feldenkrais® workshops for 2017: look for dates, themes, and teachers in our next Newsletter.
In the meantime, we will be hosting a Vocal Power voice workshop with one of our regular students, well-known ukulele teacher and skilled vocalist Cynthia Lin. She is the bandleader of Cynthia Lin and the Blue Moon All-Stars. See below for a description and link to book through Eventbrite (*not FCMA) or visit Cynthia's website: .
New Sunday class!
We also invite you to come to the new  Sunday morning class at 11:00 am.  I f you missed a class during the week or just want to add more good feelings to your body or for any other reason - this is a great new option for you.  Kwan Wong teaches the class.  Kwan was a long-time student at FCMA before he undertook the San Francisco Feldenkrais training under the educational direction of Julie Casson Rubin.  He also studied along the way with Deborah Bowes and Cliff Smyth.  Kwan has a degree in music from UC Berkeley, is a countertenor, and enjoys singing and playing piano duets in his spare time
Kaiser Class Dates
Note the new dates for the Kaiser Permanente classes are listed below. If you are interested, we recommend you register right away, as these class series fill up well ahead of time.  Registration through Kaiser Health Education is essential. Please direct all inquiries to Kaiser Permanente Health Education at; (415) 833-3450.
Feldenkrais in the Media
Some interesting articles about the Feldenkrais Method® appeared in the media at the end of last year.  Have a read - or pass the links on to friends you have been telling about Feldenkrais.  In the Huffington Post you'll find the following two articles:
Cynthia Allen's 7 Moves You Need for Graceful Aging is a friendly list brimming with tips that any age can benefit from. 
For those of you who have you ever wondered about the man behind the Method, check out Navigating Rapid Change? The Feldenkrais Method Can Help.  Ilona Fried shares the circumstances of Moshe Feldenkrais' early life as a Jewish refugee navigating the turmoil of the early 20th century.  She draws parallels to our current time and champions the continuing relevancy of the Feldenkrais Method. 
And in the US News, Health & Wellness editor Anna Medaris Miller examines the case of Maria Lee, a 62 year-old woman with an autoimmune disease, to help answer that persistent question: What is the Feldenkrais Method?
News from our Practitioners
Julie Casson Rubin will be graduating a new group of Feldenkrais practitioners from the San Francisco Feldenkrais Teacher Training at the end of January.  Julie, along with her husband Paul Rubin, are the Educational Directors of the program, in which Deborah and Cliff also taught.  We all welcome and congratulate our newest group of colleagues!
Julie will be teaching in the Taipei Feldenkrais Teacher Training program for the month of February.
Heidi Carlsen w ill be performing in Cutting Ball Theater's Hedda Gabler, which runs 1/19 through 2/26.  She is also teaching an Acting I class at A.C.T. (American Conservatory of Theatre) for eight weeks from January through March.
Cliff Smyth will be focusing over the next few months on finishing the research for and writing of his doctoral dissertation.  He is doing a PhD in mind-body medicine and the focus of his study is on people's experience of doing the Feldenkrais Method, and its impact on their health and lives.  He is also teaching a somatics class in the Holistic Health program at San Francisco State this spring semester.
Deborah Bowes had a research poster on Feldenkrais and interoception presented at the Tokyo meeting of the International Association for the Study of Pain.  It was a report on a research study she did with Nick Karyannis PhD, a pain science research fellow at Stanford.

We look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you at the Center soon. Remember our regular classes are drop-in: come or start at any time.
All the best,

Weekly Classes
Awareness Through Movement ® 
at the Feldenkrais
98 Chenery Street, corner of Randall  
5:00 pm
with Cliff Smyth
General class for new and continuing students.

12:00 Noon
with Cliff Smyth 
For people with physical challenges and anyone who wants to explore the basics.

6:30 pm 
with Heidi Carlsen
General class for new and continuing students.
10:00 am
with Deborah Bowes 
Class for experienced students

11:00 am
with Kwan Wong 
General class for new and continuing students.

All these classes are drop in, for one hour and cost $15. 
Awareness Through Movement Classes at the
Jewish Community Center
3200 California St, at Presidio 
Mondays and Wednesdays 1:00 pm

with Karen Ingebrigtson

Contact JCC at 415.292.1299 X 1148
for more details.

Yoga Classes 
at the  
Feldenkrais Center
9:00 - 10:00 am 
with Dawn Summers 
$15 per class/
4 classes $55

For more information click here
Feldenkrais Classes
for Kaiser Permanente members
Mondays 6:30 pm
with Abby Miller 

Kaiser Health Education Department sponsors Awareness Through Movement classes for its members at a reduced rate. Pre-enrollment and pre-payment are required. To register,  call Kaiser Health Education Department at 415-833-3450.   

Dates for 2017
Six week class series between the following dates. All classes 6:30 to 7:30 pm:
* January 23 - March 6, skip February 20

* March 13 -  April 17, 

* April 24 - June 5, skip May 29
* June 12 - July 17
* September 11 - October 16
* October 23 - November 27
Read More on Our Website
Vocal Power Workshop
with Cynthia Lin 
Sunday January 29, 2017
2:00 - 4:00 pm 
Cost: $60 
VOCAL POWER is more than just volume - vocal power is confidence, control, freedom, connection, and full-body release.  The true power of the voice comes from relaxed and practiced coordination of breath and vibration.  

In this 2-hour workshop, vocal coach Cynthia Lin will guide you through the fundamentals of how to develop healthy breathing and vocal habits to harness your inherent vocal power.  Cynthia will provide a worksheet of breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups for your home practice.  All levels welcome.

Neuroplasticity and principles
of the Feldenkrais Method
In his recent book, Dr Norman Doidge devotes two chapters to the Feldenkrais Method. He provides a useful list of 11 Core Principles of the Method, as he understands them. In our last three Newsletters we reviewed the first four: 1. The mind programs the functioning of the brain, 2. A brain cannot think without motor function, 3. Awareness of movement is the key to improving movement, 4. Differentiation - making the smallest possible sensory distinctions between movements - builds brain maps,  
5. Differentiation is easiest when the stimulus is the smallest, 6. Slowness of movement is the key to awareness, and awareness is the key to learning.
Here are the next two:
7. Reduce the effort whenever possible .  Doidge suggests that our slogan should be 'if strain, no gain' rather than 'no pain, no gain'.  Feldenkrais proposed that compulsive effort leads to movement that is carried out on automatic, uses more effort and physical energy than is necessary, increases muscular tightness in parts of the body not even associated with the movement, and risks pain and injury.  In addition, the more force we use the less sensitivity we have to the how we are doing any movement - inhibiting our ability to sense ourselves more accurately in action.
8. Errors are essential, and there is no right way to move, only better ways .  Doidge cites Feldenkrais' idea that striving to do everything correctly can inhibit the possibility of learning from the natural variation that occurs in our performance from 'errors'. As we sometimes say in Feldenkrais classes, 'if it is worth doing it is worth doing badly'.  In Awareness Through Movement lessons we use a number of strategies to generate the kind of variation that leads to learning: going slowly, breaking movement patterns into parts, reversing movements, and introducing novel movements that we would not normally do in everyday life.  We all have different bodies with different abilities and histories; Feldenkrais lessons aim to create the conditions for learning from 'errors- as well as from what feels good.  In these conditions, your nervous system can begin to identify and reproduce the new movement options that are best for you.  
Norman Doidge, 2015, The Brain's Way of Healing. New York, NY: Viking.
Quotes from p. 173 and 174.

More Core Principles in the next Newsletter!
New Year: Sustainable Improvement
Cliff Smyth, MS
When the New Year comes around many of us ask ourselves how can we live more how we want to - especially in what promises to be a challenging year.  We all know that the process of making New Year resolutions has limitations - we often discover after a short while that we are not doing what we intended.
One place to start is to think about the goals themselves.  In my coaching practice my aim is to help people develop s.m.a.r.t goals: simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-related.  Simple means that they don't involve too many parts, so that the intended action is clear to you, and even if one part of a change process doesn't come off, the whole goal is not undermined.  Often it is valuable to break an overall goal into simple parts or steps, much as we often do with movements in Awareness Through Movement lessons.  Measurable means that you know that you have done or achieved what you want to.  It may be something that can be counted but also might be something that is felt.  Research shows that people do better with goals like, 'being more fit and comfortable in my body' than 'lose 5 pounds'.
Achievable is important: it is important to set oneself up for success right at the beginning.  Is this something you can possibly do?  It is necessary to make sure it is also a realistic goal - the 'r' in 's.m.a.r.t' - and find out what is ultimately achievable further down the road.  Realistic is something you can start doing right now - that you have the necessary skills and resources to do it. Time-related can include how often but also for how long.  We all live busy lives, so working out how to create the time to do something new is important - sometimes it involves saying 'no' to something else. It might be as easy as doing less web surfing, and as hard as telling your supervisor you will be leaving work on time today.
One distinction we often make in the Feldenkrais Method is between what our private clients ultimately 'need' to help them function both more comfortably and in line with their goals, and what they can actually 'use' right away in the current Functional Integration® session.  You can apply this for yourself: What is your ultimate goal? And what can you do for yourself right now?  Your initial goals should be more about the latter.  To get started one needs to do something, not everything.
Exercise is one of the areas in which many of us make New Year's resolutions. We all know the benefits of exercise for disease prevention - there is evidence for cardio-vascular conditions, cancer, dementia. Also mood, and even cognition, can be improved.  Here is one area where Feldenkrais-thinking can be very useful.  Remember how we start small in Awareness Through Movement lessons.  This has at least two advantages: we are less likely to do something that is painful or risky for our bodies, and we can begin to sense ourselves more clearly.  Then the movements can get larger, faster, and more complex with ease.
So, when beginning new exercise, choose an amount of activity at first that you know is achievable and realistic, and then increase slowly. For example, if you haven't been active at all, start by walking 10 to 15 minutes a day several days per week for a couple weeks, before increasing that to 20 or 30 minutes and maybe adding some more days.  Likewise at the gym: start with light weights and slowly increase the weight and number of 'reps'.  With more intense activities (weights, jogging, etc.), it is usually better to increase the intensity of the workout by about 10%, and maximum of 20%, every two weeks.  At each step assess how it is going.
In terms of physical movement, awareness is critical.  Don't just count the time and number of 'reps' but check in on how you feel.  A little muscle achiness might be expected, outright and sustained pain is a source of information.  Ask yourself: 'Do I feel good after exercising'?  The kind of bodily awareness one gains from Awareness Through Movement classes can make a big difference in informing the development of a successful exercise program.
Finally, consistency is important.  Research has shown that it often takes a month of regular practice to establish a new positive habit.  So it is important to progress in a way that allows one to have sustainable improvement.
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Thanks, FCMA.
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