by: Giora Raz
I will not speak of the method, the theory, and its insights. Rather, about my own personal experience of many years and its results. I did not turn to the Body Cognition after surgery or an accident, or due to back or other physical pain. I came, and this was over 30 years ago, when everything was actually fine; as a child of a Kibbutz, who has been involved in very demanding agricultural labor, which in those days was very physical. My army service was spent in an elite military unit that demanded being in good shape and withstanding extreme physical and emotional conditions, and later I went on to lead a non sedentary lifestyle which did not involve sitting in a chair.
Of course, you as professionals, will say, that such a biography is a sure recipe for physical calamities, but that was not the case. Perhaps it was good genes, or dumb luck, but as I said, everything was fine.
Previously, I had dabbled in the gym, Yoga, running, walking. Like most people. It did not work for me and I did not persist. And here I am, trying not to miss a lesson for 30 years now.
I heard about the method from a friend, met Yosepha – one class above me in Ein Harod. And immediately, like a captivated infant, who never learned what a correct movement is, and ignorant to bio-mechanic laws and such, I turned myself over to her. Very quickly I knew, before the theoretical phraseology, which had not yet been formulated, that this is good and right for me. I remember in great detail one of my first lessons, in which the topic was – the soles of the feet. I remember the amazement, what can be done with the soles of the feet in 45 minutes, and when I came out I felt as though I am walking in slow motion on a trampoline.
This is where my long journey with Body Cognition began. There were better lessons than others, there were great lessons. Surprising discoveries were made about skills and movement links and disappointments of the inability to realize it. In time and with accumulated experience I felt and understood what happens to me here.
My, our, conventional relating to the body, was in particular to its outer physical aspect, I would say the cosmetic aspect, according to some dictated ideal of beauty, measures, built and shape which dictates a very specific behavior in order to achieve this ideal. With my training in the Body Cognition, this form of relating to the body started to change into a different more functional attitude towards the body. How do I treat this complex machine, with its understandable and acquired shortcomings, so that it optimally serves my movement requirements? It takes time. A lot of time, and that’s not all. In time, a sophisticated revelation is formed between the body and the consciousness. You no longer execute orders like a robot, but begin to understand, explore and audit what you are doing, while becoming aware of the given body frame and learn to improve its limitations.
We all know the inseparable link and the relationship between body and soul, or if you will between material and spirit. This is evident in all possible aspects of a human’s life, which is deemed higher than the beast, and a good example is the language: there are phrases that link an emotional state with body parts: Weak knees, hothead, tongue-tied, heartache.
I recounted that I came to the Body Cognition without impairment. Apparently that wasn’t the case. Yosepha immediately identified a stiff neck, slanted backwards, probably due to prolonged swimming and diving which cause the slanting of the neck.
In this context, I remember a conversation with a friend who is in the field asking me if I am training with Yosepha. According to her, a guy sitting with his girlfriend on a park bench at night must never tell her to look at the moon, because it causes lordosis of the neck. The lordosis in my neck was treated, and I learned to look at the moon without curving the neck.
The most important thing I gained by my long participation in the Body Cognition lessons is the rare opportunity to make time, twice a week, every week, for one hour, of an intimate, interactive encounter with my body. To enter twice a week and roam within myself, explore and try to understand who does what, why and how, where and from which side, when, and how much.
היכן, ואיך ולמה,
לאן ומאיזה צד,
מתי, אן וכמה.
(כן , אלתרמן)
This ongoing interaction between body and soul gives rise to a holistic change (perhaps a total change). The more the body becomes more flexible, the more the movement range grows, the more the posture improves, so improve the flexibility, the motion range and the stability of the consciousness. The more the correct motion rules – slow, not all the way, not to the end, moderate pressure, control and total ability to relax – are assimilated in the body and the muscles, the more they are assimilated in the mind, and change your being in this realm as well. This is what happens to me, and when I look around at the end of a lesson and see the smiles, the calm expressions on the faces of those around me, I feel they are going through the same thing.
I come out of the lesson, walk, and it happens again, light and clear in my head, and a flood of pleasure in my body, which slowly evaporates like a bubble of soap.
In conclusion let me say – continue to study and teach and reach more and more people, it is unbelievable that such a life improving method will be enjoyed by such a small number of people. There are over 40 thousand mentions on the internet to the body cognition, but most are not linked to our Body Cognition. Check out what goes on there, that’s where the world is. The name of the game today is marketing, so market. It’s easy, it’s clear it’s obvious: Tuck the stomach in, again and again, this is it in a nutshell and the rest is up to you.
When the prosecutor asked Socrates why he keeps teaching the same ideas again and again like a parrot, the defendant replied – do you have a different answer every time someone asks you what is 2 + 2?
To me it is as clear as 2 +2. If I did not have the Body Cognition method my situation would have been different.
Yosepha, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart, for everything. For the doctrine, the work and for giving me the ability, in my ripe age, to tie my shoes standing up, when the locker room is crowded.