Rainer Knupp

Just to let you know how I spent the money which I have received in 2006 for my Feldenkrais Teacher Training in Amsterdam.

The money was spent in two parts:

One part was spent for accommodation in Amsterdam in May 2006. I had the opportunity to stay in someone's private flat near from where the training is. The room I lived in was a nice little room separate from the rest of the flat, preparing food was possible to do in the shared kitchen. I stayed in this flat for two weeks and moved to another place for the second half of the segment of the training. The cost of the room was 50 Euros per week which is incredibly cheap for Amsterdam.

The second part of the money was being used for buying reading materials for the training. I bought the book ’The Mind and the Brain, Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force’, written by Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley.

The book was recommended by our teachers of the Feldenkrais teacher training. Jeffrey M. Schwartz, research professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine (USA), describes his and many other research experiments which show evidence of plasticity of the human brain and its ability to remake itself not only in the development of our childhood and puberty but as well throughout adult life. Schwartz describes how he developed successfully from his experience of Buddhist Meditation and a psychiatrist the 4 steps ’Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’ with patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Without any drugs and any tortures experiments and with the patient’s agreements and understanding about the disorder they learnt how to use their willful thinking to help themselves to rewire their brains to find a way out of the compulsive behavior.

What makes that book special is that Schwartz and Begley write with passion and accuracy in an accessible way about the Western history of how neuroplasticity was discovered but very reluctantly accepted over the time from about 150 years back. Only now and especially since the 1990s when many more experiments occurred, there is a little more scientific acceptance about the plasticity of our brains and the consideration of the mind. The historical journey in the book reaches as far as the Quantum theory where Schwartz wants to show how mind matters in terms of shaping the brain through the discovery of the connection of the 'objective physical world' and the 'subjective experience'. The authors’ point is that it is amazing how the brain is able with some unknown mechanism to produce wholesale topographic reorganization not only in response to outside stimuli but even in response to directed mental effort. 

A very important principle of the Feldenkrais method is that we are capable of much more what we think we are. The method is exactly doing what the book describes. Through attention and movement the student learns about (new) possibilities of movement patterns. It is the nervous system which is being triggered in the method. The student learns that movement and action comes from thought and mental force rather then muscular effort.

It feels very powerful to understand the method from a neuroscientific point with some knowledge of the history of research of the brain. The acceptance of the unexplainable is a challenge for everyone and it is wonderful to learn a profession which gives possibilities to people. 

Thanks so much for you support again.

With kind regards,

Rainer Knupp