Ron Tisdale wrote:
I've been off the mat since July due to a problem with my neck...As I get this stupid neck under control, I hope to explore more...
What happened with your neck, if you don't mind saying?
Have you ever tried The Feldenkrais Method? Moshe Feldenkrais was the founder of the Judo and Jujutsu Club of Paris. He was introduced to judo by Jigoro Kano, himself, and trained by hand-picked instructors whom Kano sent from the Kodokan to instruct him. I've often wondered what would have happened if Feldenkrais had somehow met Morihei Ueshiba, instead.
Feldenkrais has two modes of treatment:
ATM (Awareness Through Movement) group floor "exercises" which are more explorations of small, soft movement to discover and release blockages in one's own movement;
FI (Functional Integration) table "adjustments" with clothes on, in which the practitioner works with the sufferer to help him find and release problems with movement that cause pain. This is "NOT" like a chiropractor: NO popping of the joints, etc., though there may be some "popping" spontaneously through one's own easy movement.
The theory behind Feldenkrais is that our bodies/nervous systems are equipped with an inate "reset" mode, like "rebuild desktop" on a Macintosh computer. The Feldenkrais Method teaches us how to access that "reset" mode, through which the nervous system returns the body to "natural" mode, releasing "parasitic" tension, shedding stress and releasing mental anxiety and wasted mental effort.
Physical training of various kinds can help us improve physical performance, but it invariably takes us away from "natural" mode, which is a very powerful mode of being. By going through the "reset," we can get back to the power of the "natural" mode without losing the benefit of the esoteric training (unless the training is very unnatural, which is always destructive). But Feldenkrais lets us "integrate" the esoteric training with the natural mode, so that the training has the effect of "cultivating" the natural instead of "replacing" the natural.
Both ATM and FI treatments are very relaxing, loosening, resting and invigorating. They help shed stress and contribute to a long-term correction of the desired course of one's life.
A friend of mine attended an ATM I'd organized in Japan. He enjoyed it, but didn't think much of it as he was leaving on his bicycle. But as he was riding home, he said he turned to look over his shoulder and was startled to find that he could look much further back over his shoulder than he could before the lesson and that his head moved far more easily and with much greater comfort than before. Feldenkrais training got me back in the dojo in Japan after I was out for some months with a back injury, barely able to walk!
This page lists 34 Feldenkrais practitioners in Pennsylvania: