Author Archives: Sandy Weiss

Spring in our actions

It’s spring here in St. Louis. The cicada’s are here in droves. We are
waiting for the peak emergence of these insects. Sometime ago there was an
event like this here in which people were creating all kinds of recipes that
included them. I did not imbibe.

But this EMERGENCE idea is an interesting one to me. We all have a type of
spring or impetus for different things. It’s as if there is something ready to
emerge at any moment. In Feldenkrais many of our lessons develop into a type of
opening and closing or rising and lowering type of action, like flowers or the
sun and moon and sea. Many people don’t realize this action exists within them.
Many people feel, “I am how I am.” But we are each a process. And
there are waves to our processes. Like the emergence of the 13year and the
17year cicada’s that will apparently be coming to a crescendo here pretty soon.
As humans we can attempt to suppress this process within ourselves. But, as
learning and developing beings for the full length of our lives we will continue
to evolve. By allowing the opening and closing waves of our processes to act
within us and not resisting, but instead observing and engaging we can
facilitate our development. We can continue to learn and evolve and progress.
We too are emerging. We are all getting better everyday in everyway. When we
move with awareness and rest in that change peacefully we can feel happy and
easy in the next level of our development.

Feldenkrais Lessons are designed to help us find that special something
within us that rests quietly waiting to emerge. We all have it. Sometimes there
is so much other loudness outside us that we can’t hear it bubbling away inside
ourselves. Sometimes we’ve been listening to an unpleasant voice we have
developed within our own heads that is suppressing the emergence. But it’s
there, waiting for our kind attention.

Join me in an Awareness Through Movement Lesson in a group or in a Functional Integration Lesson one on one to experience the next level in your development.


How did we get here anyway?

How we move is how we express ourselves.  Our thoughts, feelings, and sensations effect how we move and how we move effects our thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Our human experience is the collection of our thoughts, sensations, emotions, and movement.    All of these things program our brain as much as our brain lets us experience all of these things.  It’s an open highway of communication between each and all of these things.  Our environment created each of us and we also create our environment.  The choices we make lead us to where we are.

Life can be hard.  But, our amazing human organism can find a way to let it be experienced a little easier.  I say, “our amazing human organism,” for a reason.  Most folks believe that the harder they try and the more they give thought to something the better it will be.  Unfortunately, that’s your “smarty pants” self talking, the one that thinks it, “knows best.”  

When in actuality your amazing human organism that grew into you from your little baby self, learned how to walk, talk, breath, digest food, circulate blood, grow hair and fingernails, store fuel for use later, use fuel for activities now, repair broken skin, repair broken bones, and take you from point A to point B via whatever form of travel you choose.  NOW that is something!!  I am pretty sure you actually have no idea how your human organism does all those wonderful things.  As you shouldn’t need to know.  It’s all automatic.  

As we go through our lives we experience lots of things.  All of those things add into who we are.  Our brains and bodies get good at learning and adapting to those experiences.  Sometimes our adaptations get added into our auto pilot functions and cause us to experience more difficulty than needed.   If we’ve unknowingly created one adaptation that conflicts with another and it gets stuck in the autopilot, the autopilot has us doing more work than we need to do. 

Actually this happens all the time.  We use our “smarty pants selves” to program our auto pilot instead of letting the natural functions of gravity, sensation, and awareness do it for us, like we did when we were babies.  When we’re babies that’s all we have, the reflexes that we are born with, gravity, sensations, and attention.  It works like magic.  We’re born in a little weak blob of flesh and bones and nerves that progressively grows larger and larger inside a womb to be delivered into the open air.  Within about a year or so we’re up and walking, soon after talking, and next getting into a little trouble.  It happens automatically.  No one teaches you those things specifically.  Just living in gravity and relating to what’s around you allows your amazing organism to learn to do exactly what it needs to.

One year olds don’t usually have back pain. They are weak as kittens and just barely able to balance enough to walk in one direction. How is it that we develop back pain as adults? Many will say “too much sitting.” Maybe so. Do you have conflicting programs in your auto pilot while sitting that are saying “gosh I just want to relax” and “sit up straight,” at the same time? This is a very common situation. But, by learning how to sense the structure of your pelvis and spine and letting go of some old ideas that “you must sit up straight,” might just allow you to find a comfortable way of sitting. It may sound like a weird kind of learning. But, it’s real and it works! Mindbodyscienceworks! ūüôā

The Face Is A Window

It’s such an important part of ourselves. It is actually a two way window to look inward and outward. Many of us don’t realize it, but sensing our own face can give us a lot of information about ourselves. We often think of our face as “important to keep up appearances,” something that others look at in potential judgement. Some people must always have a type of face covering whether it is make up, glasses, a scarf, a beard or mustache.

The face is the outward presentation of emotion if we allow it. Emotion is a type of energy in motion within our bodies. When the facial expression is not allowed to be in agreement with our inner feelings it’s very uncomfortable. How many of us have heard at some point, “don’t cry,” “if you make an ugly face it will freeze that way,” “it’s not appropriate to express your disappointment to grandma.”?

Sometimes we are not even sure how we are feeling on the inside so how can we express it? Osel Nyima, a Feldenkrais Practitioner(TM) of the UK posted this YouTube video in 2017. I recommend that you do it lying down or sitting while turned away from the video display. Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Lessons(R) are designed to be sensed rather than reproduced. Do the series of repeated movements slowly, delicately, and very small. 10% of your effort is a great learning point. If you can’t do the movement with 10-15% effort just imagine you are doing it. Rest often. Allow an easy natural breath between movements. If you are sitting, make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Stay comfortable throughout. Do less. Notice what your face feels like before you begin and then check back in with the sensations of your face at the end. Enjoy. Sandy

The Coachman

Moshe Feldenkrais tells this story in his book, Awareness Through Movement, “a man without awareness is like a carriage whose passengers are the desires, with the muscles for horses, while the carriage itself is the skeleton. Awareness is the sleeping coachman. As long as the coachman remains asleep the carriage will be dragged aimlessly here and there. Each passenger seeks a different destination and the horses pull different ways. But when the coachman is wide awake and holds the reins the horses will pull the carriage and bring every passenger to his proper destination.

In those moments when awareness succeeds in being at one with feeling, senses, movement, and thought, the carriage will speed along on the right road. Then man can make discoveries, invent, create, innovate, and ‘know.’ He grasps that his small world and the great world around are but one and that in this unity he is no longer alone.”

This is one of my favorite passages out of this book. The 4 things that make up the human experience; sensations, emotions, thoughts, and movement. A physical body enables all of these things to occur. If we can aim ourselves in a desirable direction and trust in our place and time as well as ourselves as we go it can feel so wonderful.


It’s the 2nd day of January 2021 as I write this.¬† Here in the midwestern United States it’s winter.¬† It’s gloomy outside, cloudy and with drizzle and 34 deg F.¬† We’re still in the Covid-19 pandemic.¬† Tension seems to be a theme.

I just looked up the word, tension, in the 3rd Edition of The American Heritage College Dictionary after looking it up on the innerwebs.¬† ¬†The¬† innerwebs had 3 clear, easy definitions that made perfect sense to me:¬†¬†noun¬†1.¬† the state of being stretched tight.¬† 2.¬† mental or emotional strain.¬†¬†verb¬† apply a force to (something) which tends to stretch it.¬† But, somehow I felt that there would be something in the old book version that would say something different.¬† Not surprising, I read something I didn’t expect in that old dictionary.¬† It was,¬†noun¬†5.¬†¬†A balanced relation between strongly opposing elements.¬†

It’s interesting to me because since we have been in this declared pandemic beginning in mid March 2020 the situation as I am experiencing it is not one of tension.¬† However, thankfully I am in a house with the heat on.¬† I just ate some good healthy food.¬† I am not in the threat of being evicted from my home.¬† I am healthy and with white skin.¬† My family is healthy and I feel well.

But for some this is not the case.¬† For many there is significant tension.¬† “Hanging on by a thread,” some might say.¬† Some are not hanging on by a thread.¬† The tension has been broken because there is no longer balance of any kind.¬† ¬†But the mental and emotional strain doesn’t go away when the tension in the physical is lost.¬† It might even get worse.

As single individuals we are in and out of balance and tension all the time.¬† As a society I am not sure what “balance” is.¬† Probably something like various individuals and organizations moving in and out of tension and balance and as a group it all averages out.¬† But, I am pretty sure that tension will always exist in some form or another to keep us all a float, like surface tension on water that allows objects to float partially above water and partially below.

When an average person interacts with a body of water at a comfortable temperature, because we can never completely empty our lungs of air, we all have some potential to float in calm water.¬† Although, there are people very skilled at almost completely emptying the lungs of air with great effort and practice in order to dive below the surface of the water to explore it’s depths.¬† This is not the usual.¬† There is this phenomenon of people in panic sinking below the surface of even the calmest, most comfortable temperature water and drowning.¬† It’s so hard to remain calm and peaceful when your feeling the tension of not being able to survive.¬† ¬†Of course, if you don’t know how to swim and you’ve heard that you must know how to swim before you get into a deep lake you might avoid it until you take some type of lesson or are wearing a flotation device.¬† That’s likely because there will be a sign posted near the edge of the lake which indicates you might drown if you enter the water.

But, say you enter some comfortable temperature water which is nice and clear and free of debris and hazards.  You walk into the water on a gradually deepening shore.  As you walk in your feet loose contact with the bottom now and then.  If you remain calm you may begin to notice that the water is actually supporting you in flotation.  Then you walk back to a shallower area.  Next you begin to move around lifting your feet from the bottom feeling the flotation as you curl your legs up.  Later you start moving your arms and legs in different configurations and occasionally hold your breath to dip your head below the surface.  Each time you feel the water through your hair and over your skin as you glide in different directions through the water.  Soon you start to realize that certain configurations of your body and movement of your arms, legs, torso and head take you to different parts of the lake at different speeds in different manners.  All the while you never move too fast in one direction without being aware of where you came from and how you got there.  You can always go back and check.

Funny enough throughout this entire scenario it is probably obvious that this person is learning how to swim.  Finding swimming.  This person was the teacher and the learner or the explorer and the adventurer.  When learning occurs as an exploration there is some ownership of the activity.  Learning actually occurs faster and more completely.  Oddly, tension is part of the whole process, in a way.  Each time something new happens; feet leave the bottom, head goes below the surface, arms move forward, legs curl up, speed changes, there is a bit of tension.  But when it is slow and occurs while supported there is learning.

Although this pandemic is creating a lot of tension for a lot of people, if those of us whom are not feeling so much distress can be the comfortable, calm water supporting others while they find new ways to swim maybe we can all create an environment that doesn’t need caution signs to prevent drowning.¬† ¬† Because if some can remain peaceful and calm and support those that are learning and exploring we all just might be able to find some balance.¬† And when there are strongly opposing elements creating the tension we can all learn because we all feel supported.

What an interesting time we are living in.

I would have never guessed that this is how things would be in 2020.¬† The 4th of July was gentle and slow.¬† There were some fireworks.¬† It was a hot summer day.¬† It was nice to just sense myself as I moved around without the rush of preparing for some event. It’s weird to have this kind of time.¬† I am grateful that I am not under pressure at this moment.¬† I send my heartfelt gratitude to those who are taking care of people and providing the services that we all need to continue.¬† I also send my deepest respect to those suffering in this time. May we all find just a little more space and kindness.

Here We Are

Well, we made it to 2020.¬† Time keeps passing and eventually it shows up……………..Or………….Eventually we show up.¬† Russell Delman of The Embodied Life School¬†says, “Presence is the door and embodiment is the key.”¬† Have you ever noticed how sometimes, “time gets away from you.” Or maybe sometimes you feel like you are having an, “out of body experience.”¬† In both of these cases there is no presence with embodiment.¬† But to feel your physical self as fully as possible in any given moment is such a gift.¬† Even when we are in pain, there is usually part of ourselves that is not in pain.¬† Can I notice that place??¬† And….. funny enough……….if I can allow myself to notice that place that is not in pain when I have a big pain somewhere somehow if I stick with it long enough the rest of my non-painful self comes on line too.¬† And maybe the non-painful bits can actually start to include the old painful places.¬† That’s one example of presence with embodiment.¬† It’s really quite extraordinary.¬† And we all can do it.¬† We just need to practice.¬† Sometimes it’s not a pain we’re trying to ease but a nice quality we want to find and grow.¬† Feldenkrais is a great way to do it.¬† Join us for a class!¬† Happy New Year!

Happy Winter :)

Here in the mid-western United States we find the cold air, shorter days and the slowing of nature to cue us to do the same if we are able to notice those cues. ¬† However, the holidays are upon us as well. ¬†Just as in the body, there are multiple cues from multiple angles with multiple trajectories and different levels of emphasis. ¬†Nature outside signals a time of slowing, retreat, regeneration, and recovery for us here in the central US. ¬†But, just the word “holidays,” can signal “get up and go,” quite loudly for many. ¬†How do we allow both of these seemingly opposite things to occur together???

Balance, I believe, is in order. ¬†Nature is so smart!!¬† We, humans, are part of nature.¬† But, the natural world is much quieter than, “the holidays.”¬† Allow yourself to notice what a gift from nature can do for you and have a nice pause. ūüôā

Why I call my business Mind Body Science

I happened across a great bit of info! David Bohm

This is article is truly a wonderful expression of what is going on in a Feldenkrais Lesson in words, 11 pages seems like a lot. This is part of why it’s so hard for me to explain what I do.¬† But it is quite illustrative. The great theoretical physicist David Bohm and Moshe Feldenkrais were totally on the same page when addressing our humanity. It is described by Ilana Neville about her lessons with one of her young clients.¬† We exist with each other. We connect and make the other whole. The Dialogue Model is another form of how we gain awareness of ourselves and how thought becomes conscious of itself. The world is an amazing place. Something is happening. It’s great to be a part of it all! Enjoy some Mind Body Science reading!’sdialo.html


Feldenkrais and Sports

As I prepare for teaching a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Lesson I first come into myself. ¬†I quiet my thoughts and come into my senses. ¬†Next, I engage my curiosity and extinguish my “plans”. ¬†In doing so, I prepare myself to learn something new about myself and how I encounter the environment around me. ¬†This is how any athlete, performer, or human of any kind enters into the most exquisite moments of their lives. ¬†It’s a moment of engaged non-judgmental learning. The kind of learning your brain used before you had language. A time when you were feeling your way into growth and development.

This method has something for any person ready to learn something new about themselves.  Cynthia Allen describes it so well in her Huffington Post article:  Extreme Sports Meets Feldenkrais.  When we learn something new about ourselves we grow in all aspects of our lives.  We feel better! We do better! We are better! Check it out!  See you in class!