Sunday afternoon my husband and I found ourselves lying on our backs, rolling our heads from side to side while moving our tongues and eyes in the opposite direction. We also pressed our fingertips in circles around our eye sockets and let our jaws go slack. All of this was part of what the instructor called a “Feldenkrais facial.”
I’ve written about Feldenkrais “awareness through movement” on this blog twice in the past, each time struggling to explain what constitutes Feldenkrais practice. I know two activities that it’s not: yoga and stretching. I’m only a little closer to knowing what it is. I think its goal is to help us see the connections between small movements and the rest of our bodies, to realize that moving one part of our body, such as the neck, engages our spines, shoulders, and hips if we let it. And the message is that we will move more efficiently if we involve more than a single muscle or joint in our actions.
The instructor’s husband took a “before” and “after” photo of each of us outside the classroom. The purpose was to document any changes in our appearance after two hours of making faces. Today I opened an email containing the pictures. Hmmm. We studied them carefully. Which was my “before” and which my “after?” I counted the same number of wrinkles in both. My face was shinier in one, but that seemed like a change in lighting more than a sip from the Fountain of Youth. I decided I did look a little more relaxed in the one, but since I’ve retired I feel more relaxed, so the “after” face wasn’t a lot different from “before.” We then looked at my husband’s photo. “You didn’t change at all,” I said.
“That’s because they sent me two copies of the same photo,” he replied, “and the problem is that I don’t know if this one was taken before or after the class. But at least I don’t look any worse.”