Biomechanics of Psychology

The most important insight and gift physicist Moshe Feldenkrais donated to society is practical steps to experience the biomechanics of motion developing and functioning of the mind. 

I’m lost. What is “Biomechanics of Psychology?”

Since the industrial medicine era, the great mind and body divide have shaped our education and healthcare. Now, scientists are bridging body and mind, and there is a recognition one could not exist without the other. Yes, exercise helps the brain, but the structure and function of movement are foundational to how intellect and perception develop.

When we read the word “mind,” we think of awareness through thought or consciousness. When we read the word “body,” we think of the physical structure of bones, flesh, and organs. Biomechanics of psychology is neither. It is the motion or the patterning of lifeforce that makes the body the mind and the mind the body.

“Awareness” takes a whole different meaning in this context. Awareness is the experience of flesh having thoughts.

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I don’t understand. What does movement have to do with my child’s behavior? My child seems normal.

Even healthy functioning children use movement to develop and discover themselves. Everything they do, think, and feel involves movement. However, they don’t always get what they desire with their actions. For example, imagine a baby who sees a bottle on the floor. Although the feet and legs move, the baby doesn’t propel forward to get the bottle. This fumbling stage is crucial to how the child learns to function throughout life. The nature of a baby’s actions is continually negotiating between the brain and body to find ways to achieve success. Movement helps the body organize parts. The results? The “fumbling about” is the developmental progression that sets up the foundation of alignment, balance, and coordination. These aspects of movement also contribute to a healthier development in behavior, self-confidence, and character.

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You say movement affects thinking. Why can’t I feel movement affecting my thinking?

Once the brain has become fully developed in cognition, the sense of how the body affects the mind is more challenging to feel. (Feldenkrais Method ) Wonder about helping children become aware of this sixth sense before the thinking brain overshadows the subtle influences of sensations with cognition.

Other challenges with older children and adults are that patterns get set in, both mentally and emotionally. These patterns have muscular-skeletal sensations that trigger and involuntarily refire.

Just as patterns of thought create movement patterns, feelings of motor patterns rebound thoughts.

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The PARENT page provides more information on how the body works with listening, emotions, and hyperactivity.

I never noticed anything strange about my child’s movement? What should I look for? And why is it important ?

See if there is any kind of awkwardness in your child’s movement. Are their eyes tracking with each other? Do they use only one leg when they crawl? If you child can walk, do they seem balanced when walking up or down steps? Movements beyond exercise have patterns. We usually think of movement as exercise. However, how we move communicates to the brain in how we think. We move according to the behavior of every emotion and thought. We move to find and organize balance and coordination. The results? Physical movement patterns give the brain biological tendencies for mental development.

One example was Henry,

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How can I help my child have the healthiest development?

If the child is an infant or toddler, get out of the way. Let them figure out how to climb up on a couch, take their first steps, or reach for a bottle. If children are five or older the first step is getting them to feel their bodies. When I talk about the “feel their bodies” I am talking about the feeling of movement. Children must first learn where their bodies are in space to feel the body-mind. We start with a lesson called (Pancake Body lesson, page 39). Children lie on the floor, and we ask, “What is touching the floor?” Often children reply, “Nothing.” We begin to help develop this sense by teaching them to become aware of where body parts are touching the floor. Everybody part has muscles. Muscles record the senses connected to their behavior.

Why is this important?

When attention and movement come together something magical happens.The physical structure is one of the primary influences that contribute to the development of behavior. Experience it and everything is life changes. This concept may not be easy to understand because we are talking about a new type of sense. Motion attaches to behavior to teach the brain. Feeling this connection between the brain and body and a new sense develops.

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What does movement have to do with emotional and mental behavior?

This topic is the key to the uniqueness of the Wellness Through Movement. Try to wonder about the movement as something more than just physical, and you will learn that movement in the human body is also trying to teach us how to grow. It seems simple, and it is aware of the body, but many children are unaware of their bodies. Children have a lot going on inside the body. The body has a dialogue of sensations like soundwaves. The feeling of a body can feel like multiple sensations like sounds on a loudspeaker blaring and distracting attention. The results? Children need to move. Wonder about their movement. There is a connection between their movements, emotions, and how they learn. In Wellness Through Movement, we teach by watching movements to understand how to teach academically and the whole child. 

Astonishing changes happen in childrens’ behaviors. Some of the results range from having longer attention spans to being simply kinder and supportive with their peers. With the movement program, even physical conditions improved. With time, the children resourced the methods from the program on their own when needing to handle stress, violence, or depression. 

The most significant and sustainable results happen with children between the ages of five and eight; however, adults also reported benefiting from the process. Here’s a (GSA) link to the intro program that helped. 

In full disclosure, please understand organizational movement lessons will be necessary for severely challenging behavior. Here are some lessons in this book A New Sensory Self Awareness, but best seek professional help for these children. (Link HELP (Organization of MINDBODY MOVEMENT- Feldenkrais practitioner) 

For professionals in research and movement, here’s a link to lessons that we used: Part I & Part II of the Wellness Through Movement program LINK. (Biomechanics of Psychology LINK) (Bridge Scientists & Educator)

Tip: Reframe the idea of movement as the witness between intention versus action

When reading the lesson, reframe the idea of movement as just an exercise of muscles and bones. Think of the senses (sound, touch, smell, taste, & feeling) and the physical sensation to emotions and the body’s structure. All of these effects create “movements.” With these types of movements, a baby doesn’t have to “think.” They are bundles of sensations— sensations that educate the development.

In the body, we all have a root from the brain. It’s our spinal cord. Within the spine, the brain feels the whole child, mind/body. Bodily movements synchronize the whole child for a higher level of functioning. Learn from movement, and it will speak volumes. Far beyond the traditional ways like discipline, movement will get the children’s attention.