WHAT MIGHT YOU DO IF YOU EXPANDED YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
By Marsha Novak
Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner
We often hear that to accomplish “great things”, whatever that might mean to you, you have to get out of your comfort zone. For a thoughtful and sensitive introvert like myself, telling me I have to” get out of my comfort zone” is not a way to propel me into action. There is actually research to suggest that because of their brain chemistry, introverts do far better by very gently expanding their comfort zones. For this reason I am so happy I discovered the Feldenkrais® Method and chose to certify in it.
In this method we use a process of gently guided inquiry, either verbally guided or via specialized hands on work, to help people most fundamentally improve how they move. Applications include working with situations where movement is either painful or not currently possible.
That being said Moshe Feldenkrais, who founded this work, often stated that his work was not just some form of physical therapy, but rather a way to help us also improve how we think and feel. To get a sense of this, create an image of a very depressed person walking. Can you sense how their movement, how they think, and how they feel about themselves are related?
I will now share a short movement exploration designed to help you reach more easily so physically it is applicable to many things like reaching something on a high shelf and an overhead tennis serve. All movements should be slow and gentle, not pushing into your end range. If it is at all painful try doing an even smaller movement.
To begin, go to a bookshelf or cabinet and reach for something that is a bit “out of reach”…
- Notice how this feels in your shoulder and body overall. Notice the role of other parts of yourself, if any, in helping you reach. Ribs? Shoulder blade?
- Now raise your arm without reaching for your object. Open/elongate your ribs (so that you can feel them separate) on the same side as the arm you are reaching with. Notice how that feels. How can you apply this to your reaching?
- Reach again, this time paying attention to how the ribs can become involved. Is it getting any easier?
- Now without reaching press down on the foot opposite to your reaching side noticing how that can shift your weight toward the “reaching side.”
Reach one more time combining that push of the opposite foot and the expansion of the ribs as you reach. Easier still?
Most people who complete this exploration can comfortably reach further. If we take this as a movement metaphor …
What might you do if you expanded your comfort zone? It doesn’t have to be something physical.
Marsha Novak, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner originally trained as a physical therapist. She opened her private practice Moving Well in 1998 and has been full time on Bainbridge Island since 2010. To celebrate Moving Well’s twentieth anniversary year she is offering a limited number of complimentary consultations. Please call 206-842-4608 if interested. You can find out more about her work at movingwellbainbridge.com.