Reduce Effort Whenever Possible

Extract adapted from
The brain’s way of healing: Stories of remarkable recoveries and discoveries
By Norman Doidge MD Scribe Books

The use of force is the opposite of awareness; learning does not take place when we are straining. The principle should not be no pain, no gain. Rather, it should be if strain, no gain. Feldenkrais thought the use of willpower (of which he obviously had plenty) was not helpful in developing awareness.

Nor was any kind of compulsive driven action, which increases muscle tonus throughout the body. Compulsive effort leads to mindless, automatic movement that becomes habitual and unresponsive to changing situations. Compulsion is the problem, not the solution. We can eliminate a lot of muscle tension in the body by using awareness to spot how we often, without intending to do so, tense and use muscles that are not necessary for that movement. He called these movements superfluous or “parasitic.”


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