Completing the Puzzle

Recently, I was working with a client who I have worked with a number of times before. This particular lesson took us to her neck, a place we hadn't worked with until that day. I commented at the end of her lesson that I realized the moment I touched her neck that I had never worked there before, at least not directly. She asked how I knew, and I told her that every neck has different tension patterns and no two necks feel alike. The way her neck felt in my hands matched what was going on in the rest of her body, filling out a picture in my head.

Her response: "You say things like that, and it makes me want to crawl inside your brain and see what you see."

If only we could crawl inside people's brains. How cool would that be? Sadly, technology hasn't gotten there yet, so all we can do is try to use words to explain our experiences.

At the most basic level, when I watch someone move, I look for what is and isn't moving, and how those pieces work together or contradict each other. A lot of my observation is visual, and then layered on my visual observation is hands-on observation. By "listening" and "seeing" with my hands, I get a better sense of what's going on at the muscular level - each place I touch and each movement I take you through gives me more information, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and watching the complete picture emerge.

 You can guess at some images in this puzzle, but until all the pieces are filled in, you miss the details. (Photo credit: Bruce Guenter, licensed under Creative Commons)

You can guess at some images in this puzzle, but until all the pieces are filled in, you miss the details. (Photo credit: Bruce Guenter, licensed under Creative Commons)

By building your own body awareness, you can create an image of yourself too, and sometimes it's really useful to have someone else, like a Feldenkrais practitioner, help you find those missing puzzle pieces and connect them to the rest of the puzzle you've already started putting together. The more pieces you can fill in, the better you can get to know your body and yourself.