Thinking In Movement with Katarina:
Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00 –1:45pm
Tuesdays & Fridays 7:00am-7:45am

Join us for
~ Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement®
~  Movement Intelligence: Bones for Life®, Chairs, Walk for Life, Mindful Eating
~ Yang style Taiji

Online programme continues
On location in Vancouver BC
Prerequisites, fees, additional notes
Optional Advanced Study
Feldenkrais® & Taiji May 2016

Classes currently take place weekly  Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays. Additional workshops and individual lessons are available ~ please leave a reply with your wishes at the end of this page,

On Line with our Studio Zoom!
Spring-Summer, 2016.

☯ Thursdays 1pm-1:45pm: 45 minutes 

☯ Tuesdays & Fridays 7am-7:45am: 45 minutes 

☯ Tuesdays 1pm-1:45pm: 45 minutes 
*  #207 – 2678 West 16th Avenue,
One block east of MacDonald Street, across the street and one block west of Choices Market. 
* Please let Katarina know of your attendance at least one day prior to class.


* Tuition fees;
$85 for 10 classes (45 minutes online or on location)
$15 per single class (space permitting).
* Prerequisite:
Studio Registration  form to be completed in advance or arrange to come early to your first class, thank you.

Movement Intelligence Series:
Bones for Life® (BFL) Basic Principles
Feldenkrais® Method of Somatic Education:
☯ Sequence .. Path.. Initiation .. Foundation .. Flow .. Effort .. Respiration ☯

  Bones for Life® (BFL) Basic Principles: immediately useful and inspiring. We will be exploring these principles together in class.  (The list below was compiled during the BFL trainings with Carol Montgomery and Cynthia Allen and shared with us by Elizabeth Keith.)  I have ordered the list numerically to enhance a flow of reflections and teaching strategies.

  1. Explorations of options: System chooses what is right for the situation present (Organic Kinaesthetic Learning)
  2. Multi-Angle Pressure
  3. Learning through Passivity
  4. Use of Polarized Movement
  5. Awareness of the Posterior
  6. Proportional Flexibility
  7. Use of surface contact
  8. Cultivating the memory of the pathway of pressure
  9. Accumulating consensus
  10. Deprogramming the compulsive addiction through selective inhibition

Explorations of options: System chooses what is right for the situation present (Organic Kinaesthetic Learning)

Multi-Angle Pressure

Learning through Passivity

Use of Polarized Movement

Awareness of the Posterior

Proportional Flexibility

~ Sense when you move with a flexibility that is proportional throughout your whole body and being .. perhaps it brings you a feeling of being sturdy. delicately gentle while being strong .. turning a little this way and that way from your very centre .. 

Use of surface contact

 ~ Sense your sitting bones on the chair .. perhaps practice with the roller just a little, even less and smaller, softer .. being aware of your feet on the floor, really sense your toes, arches, heels as you are walking ..  play with ‘surface contact’ .. perhaps a quiet way to find your contact with a tree, a donkey, a child, a stone .. 

Cultivating the memory of the pathway of pressure

Accumulating consensus

Deprogramming the compulsive addiction through selective inhibition

Bones for Life™ is a Registered Trademark of Ruthy Alon
* The terms Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement, and Functional Integration are registered service marks  in Canada of the FELDENKRAIS GUILD of North America (FGNA).


Enjoy pondering the SPIFFER principles listed below.
Excerpts from a longer introduction compiled by: Richard Ehrman Lawrence Wm. Goldfarb. © 2002, Mind In Motion All Right Reserved

☯ Sequence.. Path.. Initiation… Foundation .. Flow .. Effort .. Respiration  ☯


The following pages define each of these dimensions of movement, presenting a set of relevant distinctions in each category and pointing to how to use them in observing movement. Each page defines terms, lists the archetypical questions for observing from its perspective, and proposes ways of continuing to learn on your own and with others. These activities will develop your observational abilities and will further your understanding of ATM. The final pages talk about the application to a movers’ sensory experience, to teaching ATM, and to understanding optimal movement.
An Introduction to SPIFFER Page –1–


Without interference, an action begun in one area moves sequentially through the entire skeleton, creating what is called the kinematic linkage. Kinematic linkage is the reciprocal and pairwise motions of the links in any mechanism. This is an engineer’s view of the bones: muscles pull on bones (which, in turn, push on supporting surfaces), generating the force that moves the skeleton. Sequence is a way to talk about the kinematic linkage, which is defined as the chain of motion through the skeleton. Ruthy Alon refers to the “domino effect;” we observe a cascade or “waterfall” through the skeleton, noticing how the movement is distributed through this chain reaction. We ask how movement in each articulation (that can play a part in the movement) contributes to the overall motion, observing in which joints most of the movement occurs. When the cascade is impeded, force goes into a joint rather than through it. The force is absorbed rather than transmitted. There is a sort of collision or “traffic jam” (generates friction and pressure) when the mover pushes into and against, rather than through, the skeleton. Force can be transmitted through the skeleton one of three ways: compression (pushing through bones), tension (pulling across the ligaments), or torsion (twisting across joints & through ligaments). The chain of motion through the skeleton changes the shape of the skeleton. When force cascades through structure unimpeded, particular immanent global configurations of the skeleton, such as the folded over curve of the fetal position or the spiral created by twisting and arching, emerge. Questions to ask: What happens in the skeleton – between how the person moves through space and the surface(s) the mover is (are) on?
Where is the person moving, where is s/he (relatively) still?
What moves where? When does it move? A movement OF [what bone] IN [which joint(s)]?
Are all possible joints involved?
Does the force go through the chain or stop somewhere along the way? Exercises: 1) Using an ATM (one in which the student moves from one position to another), ask what is the movement behind the lesson? (That is to say, what kinematic linkage is being clarified?)

An Introduction to SPIFFER Page –2–
  1. 2)  In a trio (with one person moving, one watching the mover, & one touching), observe specific steps in the lesson, asking how does each variation effect the Sequence. Change roles, keeping the movement the same. Does everyone do the movement in the same way, skeletally speaking? How do constraints change the Sequence?
  2. 3)  Observe people opening a heavy door. Notice the Sequence in relationship to your notions of optimal movement and any ATM’s you can refer to.
An Introduction to SPIFFER Page –3–

Back to Top


Movement occurs in three-dimensional space, so it can be described it terms of where the person is going (within a specific coordinate system). Moving through space has a trajectory, a spatial intention. Path is the line of movement in 3-D space. The observer sees a vector or arrow, that is to say, movement in a direction in space. When opposite directions are combined, an axis (or dimension) is created. When two dimensions are combined, a plane appears: Planes: Sagittal (wheel) Frontal (door) Transverse or horizontal (table) Trajectories: One-dimensional – straight lines (spoking) Two-dimensional – curves (arcing) Three-dimensional – spirals (carving)
Path always refers to the trajectory of a particular part of the body, as specified by an observer (who could be the mover). Path is about spatial intention—heading in that direction, not another. The arrows of all the parts moving through space can be aligned— or congruent—or the movement can be cross-motivated, meaning the arrows cross. (Eye movements are related to Path, as well as to muscle synergies, or Effort.) Questions to ask: Observe a place in the skeleton; how does it move through space? Where is the pelvis going? If you put an arrow on that place, where would it point? What trail would it leave?
Does every part follow the same Path? Are the trajectories congruent or crossed? Exercises:

  1. 1)  Study a group of ATM lessons, paying attention to how instructions use (spatial) directions and Path to guide and constrain the student’s movement.
  2. 2)  Observe yourself sweeping: follow the trajectory of your hands, note the Path, and compare it with other parts of your skeletal frame move as you sweep. Does your shoulder girdle follow the same Path? Your pelvis?
  3. 3)  Observe someone opening a door: what are the trajectories of the hand holding the door? That shoulder? Shoulder girdle? Pelvis? Is each linear, curved, or spiral? Are they congruent or crossed?
  4. 4)  Can you relate the path of a specific movement to its relative efficiency? Look for the relationship between Effort and the Path taken.
  5. 5)  Explore a variety of handshakes, varying the path of your hand.
An Introduction to SPIFFER Page –4–

Back to Top


Where and how someone starts to move offers a clue to his or her underlying image of the action. The same movement can be started from many different places. If the brain thinks in movements, not muscles (Sherrington), then we look for what part of the person starts to move first. Observing initiation means asking the question: “Where does the movement start?” A movement can have one initiation or several. If the movement starts in more than one place, these can be simultaneous or sequential events. We distinguish between proximal and distal initiation. Since the pelvis is the biggest boney mass and has the largest muscles attached to it, beginning from it (the center) is considered more efficient in Feldenkrais and martial arts. When observing the beginning of an action, we notice if the mover has to make a preparatory movement or if s/he is ready to move. (The attribute of being able to move in any direction without preparation is called movability.) Questions to ask: Where does the movement start? In one place or many?
Is the initiation simultaneous or sequential?
Do you observe a smooth beginning of action or are there preparatory movements?
Does the movement begin proximally or distally? Is it begun on the right or left, upper or lower? Exercises:

  1. 1)  In a trio (mover, watcher, & toucher), observe each other opening a heavy door, asking where the movement starts. Do you notice something different when touching compared to when watching?
  2. 2)  Imagine a familiar movement and change the Initiation point. How do you think this will affect your experience of the quality (Flow) and Effort? Actually do the movement and observe the differences.
  3. 3)  Taking a specific ATM, examine it from perspective of Initiation. How does the lesson bring Initiation to awareness? How does it address the very beginning of a movement? How does initiation change over a variation? Over the entire lesson? Can you include one instruction addressing initiation in each variation?
  4. 4)  List examples of ATM lessons in which varying the initiation is used as a teaching technique.
An Introduction to SPIFFER Page –5–

Back to Top


Movement occurs in gravity. Every action is a result of pushing against the supporting surfaces in the opposite direction of the resulting movement (the so-called ground reaction forces). The person’s relationship to gravity can be understood by observing the relationship of the mover’s weight (or center of gravity) to the base of support. A mover’s foundation can be static or dynamic; if it’s dynamic, then the weight can be traveling in the same direction of the Path through space or not. Because once someone’s center of gravity (COG) moves outside of the base of support (BOS), the person moves or falls, the shape and size of the BOS are important. Foundation is a way of describing what are usually referred to as postures or positions. Positions, such as sitting or standing, are defined by how the person’s weight is supported by the surfaces he or she is on. For example, standing means the feet support the body while sitting means that the sitting bones and feet are supporting. There are three kinds of Foundations: Resting—being supported in one position or configuration in space. Orbiting—moving around a base of support (i.e. everything one can do while sitting). Launching & landing—moving from one position to anther. Subjectively, Foundation is based on sensing contact and weight. Questions to ask: What is the base of support? How is the person’s weight (COG) distributed over the base of support? Is it within the “polygon of sustentation”?
Does the Foundation change? Does the weight shift? In the direction of action? Exercises:

  1. 1)  Observe people opening a door or moving from sitting to standing. Follow the movement of the center of gravity. Where does the person’s weight go as s/he moves through space?
  2. 2)  Note where a person is supporting their weight in standing. Is the right or left leg the standing leg, that is to say, the one that the person orbits around? Which sitting bone does the person sit on better? How does this relate to their standing leg? What clues do you use to determine this?
  3. 3)  Notice how Foundation is used in a particular ATM, in the scan, as a constraint, and by specifying points/places of contact & how they change.
  4. 4)  In what lessons are the actions of pressing toward the floor, or lifting from it, central?
An Introduction to SPIFFER Page –6–

Back to Top


Flow is about the quality of movement. It refers to how someone moves, rather than to what or where they move. Flow is rhythm or musicality of movement; that is to say to a movement’s relationship to time. Specifically, we observe the fluidity of an action—its smoothness or continuity. In terms of attitude toward time, we ask if the movement is hurried (quick) or easy going, lackadaisical (sustained) in performing an action? We observe that the flow of movement relates to how much abandon the mover allows or how much control the mover maintains. In the Feldenkrais perspective, we go further by asking if the movement proceeds evenly or if it stops and starts, if it’s smooth or halting. A change in flow usually signals a place in the action where there is difficulty or easing of action. The fluidity, or apparent viscosity, of movement is, in part, a result of the coordination of antagonist muscle action. Moshe talked about how optimal movement was reversible—that it could be stopped, reversed, or continued at any time—and that this was a sign of a particular way of attending to oneself. In everyday action, thanks particularly to momentum, movement is simply not reversible, so we instead look for fluidity as a hallmark of coordination. Questions to ask: Is the movement fluid or jerky? Is the Flow interrupted
Is there a change in the thickness or viscosity (quality)? Does the timing alter? What parts of the sequence Flow differently than others? Exercises:

  1. 1)  Observe people opening a heavy door, when is it smooth and when does the Flow change? Is there an “oomph” at the beginning or end?
  2. 2)  Compare more than one person doing the same thing—say bowling or walking— from the perspective only of the quality of their movement. Can you get a sense of their qualitative signature?
  3. 3)  How many ATM’s do you know that are primarily about Flow or in which Flow is one of the major organizing ideas?
  4. 4)  Take any lesson and include one instruction addressing Flow in each variation, exploring how to language this as many different ways as possible.
An Introduction to SPIFFER Page –7–

Back to Top


Muscles are the engine of motion. They provide the motive force, responding to commands from the nervous system and making the skeleton change its configuration. Though we can talk about an individual muscle’s action, no muscle works alone. Any muscle action requires coordination of, at least, a pair of muscles around a joint, Functional movement in space requires compensatory action of the entire musculature to maintain balance. Therefore all movement requires changes in the patterns of muscle activity. Overarching patterns of muscle action are called muscle synergies. Muscle contractions can be concentric (toward the center), eccentric (controlled decontraction), or isometric (maintaining the same length). One of a pair of antagonistic muscles can contract while the other lengthens (reciprocal innervation) or they can both contract (co-contract). As long as the person is alive, there is always some activity in the muscles; the background activity of muscles when the person is at rest is called tonus. Optimal muscle action is defined as coordinated action: the distribution of action throughout so that muscles work proportionally to their thickness (cross-section). This means that the big muscles must do the larger amount of work and the smaller muscles guide and support, rather than initiate, the movement. Kinesthetically speaking (from the mover’s perspective), the sense of effort tells us about how we organize the movement. The sense of effort is not about on how heavy a load is, but it is a comment on how the motion is coordinated (organized). Sensing effort (in daily actions) is a sign of inefficiency; effortlessness comes from coordinated action. Questions to ask: Are the muscle groups working together or are some muscles working against the action of others (co-contraction)?
Are the antagonists helping or hindering?
Are the central muscles contributing to movement or are they keeping the center still? Is there any place working harder than seems necessary? Disproportionately to the rest? Exercises:

  1. 1)  Observe people opening a heavy door, asking: when do they increase effort to overcome poor organization?
  2. 2)  Compare more than one person doing the same ATM movement. How does their muscle action differ? How do different steps of the lesson change Effort?
  3. 3)  Name all the ATM’s you know that are primarily about effort?
An Introduction to SPIFFER Page –8–

Back to Top


The rhythm and dimensions of breath are central to coordination of movement and mood. By dimensions of breath, we mean observing the respiration from all aspects: the front of the chest and belly; the sides from the arm pits to the pelvis; the top under the ribs and in the nose, mouth, & throat; the layers of the bottom (the respiratory diaphragm and pelvic floor); and in back between the shoulders and in the region of the lower ribs. By rhythm, we mean the length of inhalation, exhalation, the pauses, if any, between them and how these relationships change as a movement unfolds. By looking at how a wave of breathing travels, in which directions it moves & which are impeded, we see the interaction of Effort & Sequence and how they shape respiration. We notice where inhalation takes place, what expands and what contracts. And the same for exhalation: what interferes and participates? Knowing that we are designed to breathe as we move, we mark interference with breathing—holding the breath, labored breathing, contrived breathing—as signs of inefficient, ineffective action. Questions to ask: Does the mover breathe and move at the same time? If the breath is held, is it on the inhalation or exhalation?
Where and when does the mover exhale & inhale? How does this rhythm relate to the action? Do the inhalation & exhalation go along with—or against—the demands of the movement? Exercises:

  1. 1)  Observe people opening a door. Can you see changes in their breath? What lets you know if they stop breathing or interfere with the breath? Can you put your hands on and feel what happens?
  2. 2)  Follow the breathing of one or more students during an ATM class. Notice when it stops and when it changes. How can you modify your instructions to help the student use their breath as a sign post to their attitude?
  3. 3)  How many different ways in which ATM instructions can address the breath can you list?
  4. 4)  Examine the breathing lessons in Alexander Yanai to familiarize yourself with the range of different global patterns of Respiration that Moshe explored in lessons.
An Introduction to SPIFFER Page –9–

Back to Top

SPIFFER’ Notes excerpted above are from  
Compiled by: Richard Ehrman Lawrence Wm. Goldfarb
© 2002, Mind In Motion All Right Reserved
Mind In Motion
POB 2778 Santa Cruz, CA 95063 Phone: (831) 459-8173 Fax: (831) 459-8174 E-mail:[email protected] Web: 

Bones for Life™ is a Registered Trademark of Ruthy Alon
* The terms Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement, and Functional Integration are registered service marks  in Canada of the FELDENKRAIS GUILD of North America (FGNA).


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *