Roger Federer, Master Series Monte Carlo 2007

This blog is about learning better movement.

Movement means everything we do physically with our bodies – breathing, sitting, standing, walking, reaching, running, playing sports. And, not so obviously, thinking and feeling, because we use the parts of our brain that control movement for these functions as well.

Better means with more efficiency. That means with less effort, less energy, less discomfort, less pain, and more power, force, precision, coordination, elegance, grace, ease, effectiveness, accuracy. People with great movement include athletes, dancers, actors, martial artists, and young children.

Learning means this is an educational process directed at the brain, as opposed to an exercise process directed at the body.  Exercise means that you stress the body in a way that causes the body to make certain adaptations, like making a muscle bigger, longer or more capable of generating energy. Learning means you provide the brain with experiences that it can use to understand what is going on in the body and how to move it with more skill.  To put the distinction between learning and exercise in different terms, the approach I advocate here is directed at function not structure, the ectoderm not the mesoderm, the software not the hardware, the brain not the body.

Of course, I think that structure, hardware, the mesoderm and the body are all crucially important determinants of how you feel and perform, and that these factors should be optimized by intelligent exercise. However, I also think that most conventional training and therapeutic methods focus too much on hardware at the expense of the software.

For example, it is frequently assumed that weakness, pain, and poor flexibility are defects of the body. However, the central nervous system has far more control over these qualities than most people would imagine.  Training the central nervous system can bring fast and powerful results. I think that for most people, most of their potential for positive change resides in the brain, not their body.

Some methods of teaching movement align very well with this philosophy and these are: the Feldenkrais Method, Z-Health, tai chi, Alexander Technique, and Ideokinesis. I am currently a third year student in the Feldenkrais Method and I have a special focus on this modality. You can find a free twenty five minute audio lesson designed to improve your rotation here.

I am a rolfer in Seattle. I used to be a lawyer. Twenty years ago, I experienced some back pain and a strong desire to win squash matches, so I began studying how to move better and with less pain. Now I’m trying to share what I learned. Enjoy!

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17 Responses to “About”

  1. Brilliant information on this blog and great for my A&P students – will put you in my blog roll and facebook…
    when are you publishing a book?

  2. Hi Todd,

    Love your site!

    I was wondering what’s your thoughts concerning
    the Gym Movement/Biofeedback testing/protocols?

    What do you like/dislike? Agree/disagree with?

    I’ve been doing Gym Movement protocols going on several months
    now and I’ve had fantastic results. On the other hand I also purchased
    R-Phase several weeks ago and I’m having really good success with the movements.
    Got rid of some tweeks in my upper limbs I’ve had for years. Impressed!

    I see value in both systems. It does appear though that a few individuals
    are not fans of Z-Health.

    Just curious on your slant.

    Thanks for your time and especially your SITE!!!


  3. Joe,

    I actually haven’t seen the Gym Movements DVD so I don’t know how it is different from Z. I assume its some sort of offshoot with a few twists. I know Mike, Frankie, and Craig from Z-Health certs and other online chat. They are a smart bunch with some good ideas.

    I was just debating Frankie over at Adam’s site on the internal vs external focus idea, so you can get the contrasting views on that issue by visiting that site. In general, I was never a fan of the Z testing protocols involving muscle strength or ROM. I think there is research that those tests are not generally reliable. In my personal experience, these tests aren’t very informative and I do not use them. That being said, I do not have much experience testing others this way, so I will withhold judgment.

  4. Excellent posts, thank you they are most informative. I wonder if anyone has knowledge of PNF stretching (I do care about ROM) and high tone ie: Cerebral Palsy. I don’t want surgery for my daughter who is losing the battle with spasticity, however I found PNF works with her on parts of her body she can control. Any thoughts?

    • Michiko,

      So sorry to hear about your daughter. I don’t knw much about cerebral palsy but I do know that Feldenkrais practitioners sometimes treat it with some success. Do a google search for feldenkrais and cerebral palsy and I think you will get a lot of hits, including some youtube videos. Good luck.

  5. Todd – I love your site. I just found it through Matt at Impulse Strength and have been reading through all your posts. I like the concept of mindful, natural movement and have been dabbling in Mov Nat for a while. I’m going to put some of your concepts to use and try to slow things down a bit to try and improve my basic movements. Thanks for your work on here.

  6. Hi Todd,
    thanks a lot, you have a very inspirational blog, it actually got me interested in Feldenkrais. I’m staying temporarily in Victoria B.C. and treated myself to learning more about Feldenkrais and having ATM and FI with a fantastic teacher I found by accident: Brian Lynn. He really got me to the point of starting a course when I’m back in Europe. Keep on coming with all the good stuff, highly interesting and motivational,
    thanks again,

  7. Hi Todd
    Just discovered your site via Ryan’s blog. Love your writing, good info and looks great. After more than 20 years of teaching the Feldenkrais Mtethod, I’ve learned it’s about the body, movement, and the environment. The person will adapt, I don’t concern myself as much with their learning and awareness, they always get what they get and it’s always good. I’ve been teaching ATM and FI thru strength and resistance training for many years. The Feldenkrais style of teaching enables me to choreograph and adapt movement so students can perform intricate movement at the highest dynamic level. Often, precision, persistence and practicing perfect is often ignored in favor of exploring, variation and making things easy.

    Look forward to your articles and will pass them along

    jeff smith

  8. One principle I employ in every session is, “As the shoulders go, so goes the integrity of the movement and the body”.


  9. hey Todd I’m a Rolfer in Fw Texas and am curious about Z Health and finding a Feldenkrais practioner for some session work and possibly movement training. Suggestions?

    • Danette,

      Go to zhealth.net for a list of trainers. I don’t know if there is a centralized list of Feldy trainers by region, but a google search for Fort Worth Feldenkrais should turn up something. Good luck.

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