This Emotional Life
October 4, 2020
In This Issue
From the Editors
One thing everyone can agree on, this has been an emotional year. Grief, fear, indignation, surprise, frustration have competed with compassion, hope, small glimmers of joy (like a shockingly blue sky and Zoom cocktail parties.) Somehow, we are all moving through it using our best strategies and tools.

The Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education literally uses movement to support our "moving through" difficult life situations. Through movement, we explore what feels familiar and what feels not-so-familiar. We learn to safely approach new movement options and the inner responses that go with them. Observing and integrating emotions as we move helps us build resilience.

In this issue, we explore examples of how the Feldenkrais Method is helping people integrate their emotions Erin Finkelstein shares an experience of working with a student who explored coordination, eye movement, and eating habits to pursue emotional habits she wanted to change. Laura Bond, founder of the Emotional Body® method explains that her time as a Feldenkrais® student learning how to  "do less to find more" has impacted her life and work as a professor of Drama and Interdisciplinary Studies. 

In these challenging times, it is important that your learning environment be nurturing and safe. In this issue, we share the Professional Code of Conduct for Feldenkrais Teachers. 

And don't miss our Resources at the end of relevant articles, including a lesson and blog by Buffy Owens, and a dose of humor (which we all need right now!)

Lavinia, Mary and LeeAnn
Life in Harmony
by Erin Finkelstein

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash
Have you ever asked a friend or family member how they're doing based upon something you observed in their facial expression? If we see a frown, a firmly set jaw, or something else in their body language, we can tell something emotional is going on in another person, sometimes before they even realize it. Think of any situation that brings about a particular emotional state such as insecurity, fear, joy, anger, furry, vulnerability, or contentment, and try to imagine viewing yourself in a mirror, sensing what parts of your face move. Your face and eye movements will reflect your internal emotional state. 

The Feldenkrais Method® is a rich and multifaceted approach to learning and exploring the human condition from the perspective of the individual's own nervous system. The state of our emotional wellness and internal harmony can show up directly in how we use the muscles of our face and eyes, and conversely, we can affect our emotional state through our movements. 

In my practice as a musician and a Feldenkrais® teacher, I work with students to become aware of their physical challengesthinking patterns and emotional reactions, learning how to use the senses to guide through those states...
Erin Finkelstein is a professional clarinetist with Urban Nocturnes in Phoenix Arizona and the Carmel Bach Festival in California and has been a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner(CM) since 2007, working with musicians and people and children from all walks of life. She teaches ATM® classes and private sessions online and anyone is welcome to join! For more information please visit

How We Take Care of Taking Care

It's almost cliche at this point in history to say we are living in challenging times. Anger, fear, grief and confusion rule the airwaves and our conversations. Emotional wellbeing is key to feeling functional. The Feldenkrais Method® offers a somatic way to move toward balance through sensing, moving, thinking and feeling, all working together through Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration®
lessons in a safe learning environment. 
As we navigate turbulent times and questions about right behavior in all arenas, from politics to health care, FGNA is proud to share that our profession has had a Code of Professional Conduct in place since1983.

All practitioners and authorized trainees are responsible to follow the Code of Professional Conduct, and complaints about possible violations are reviewed by an Ethics Committee of elected and appointed volunteers. When you work with a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, you know we are caring for your emotional as well as your physical functionality.

Take a moment to look over our Code of Professional Conduct - we are proud of it and hope it offers a bit of security in these strange times. 
From Stress-Out to Restored! 
Somatic Support for Actors

By Laura Bond
The belief that "great actors need to struggle and suffer for their art" is perpetuated throughout training programs and within the profession. I knew this all too well as an actor in pursuit of an MFA degree in acting/directing in my mid-twenties. Having a personality determined to get the most benefit from learning opportunities, and an inability to say, "No" when offered artistic experiences and enrichment opportunities, I fell right into the expectations of actors within this field. 

The "break them down and then build them back up" approach similar to military service bootcamps is often used in actor training programs. Actors are taught to say "Yes!" in actions and full body commitment to just about everything presented to them. The word "No" is considered taboo and unproductive. Actors are told to nod and accept direction, and not question. They receive reinforcing messages throughout their training to change themselves in any way possible to "get the part" and then be a go-along-with-it ensemble member or risk being Black-Listed from future casting opportunities. If you are given the opportunity to play a role - any role - it is a gift not to be passed up. When applied to learning environments and coupled with the emotional content and demands of the art form, young student actors can feel as if they have little agency over their own identities and bodies, leading to issues with lack of self-esteem, and emotional dysregulation.....
  Laura Bond is the founder and Lead Instructor of the Emotional Body® method and a full professor of Drama & Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of North Carolina, Asheville.

To learn more about the face and emotions, you can try Erin Finkelstein's 30 minute "Smiling" Awareness Through Movement® lesson, included in her article above. 

How does movement of the jaw play a pivotal role in balance---phyically and emotionally? Check out this blog and short lesson from 
Buffy Owens explaining the anatomy of the jaw and its connections with emotions.  

Mask up!" is a common refrain these days. While many of us have adjusted to the current "new normal", it is still worth acknowledging the daily adaptations required of us. Enjoy Lavinia Plonka's tribute to the myriad of emotions involved in The Mask.  

Your Surge Capacity is Depleted - That's Why You Feel Awful is an article offering suggestions for resilient practices that may open discussion among friends and family. Consider the following quote from the article: 

"When we're forced to rethink our options and broaden out what we think of as self-care, sometimes that constraint opens new ways of living and thinking." 

Building Resilience Through Movement: Self Care the Feldenkrais® Way

Did you miss the Feldenkrais 2020 conference? Would you like to own 
six full Awareness Through Movement lessons and ten powerful workshops?  The complete recordings of all public events of the 2020 Annual Online Conference are now available for purchase! Learn from top teachers like Jeff Haller, Julie Peck, Moti Nativ and much more!  Learn strategies for pain reduction, emotional regulation and how to just play. Over 20 hours of rich material, including a talk by Dr. Rollin McCraty of the HeartMath Institute. Join the hundreds of others who have taken advantage of this rare opportunity (our conferences are usually in person and not recorded!) Purchase Now.

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