At the core of enlightenment there is no distinction between Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. I have always noticed that within Zen you are solely given the wisdom of the scriptures to work with and they leave it at that. Zen Buddhism will say something like this:
“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” ~ Zen proverb
Within Tibetan Buddhism you are not only given a set of wisdom-like principals but also a complete set of skillful methods to bring more mindfulness into our body, speech and mind. In the same way, Feldenkrais Movement therapy is a wonderful and skillful method to bring more awareness into every action our body makes.
From the Into Feldenkrais website:
“Limitations in movement are often due to the unconscious habits of muscular holding we develop through our lifetime. Most of us have experienced physical or emotional trauma at some point and though our body may have absorbed the effects of this at the time, stresses and strain remain stored in the muscles and held as pattern in the brain.
This creates bad posture and movement which make more stress and strain. It’s a vicious circle. Feldenkrais sessions break this circle, helping people recognize habits of tension and discover alternatives to eliminate limitations and restrictions. As a result we learn better body mechanics and discover ease through natural flexibility and new-found coordination.”
I remember working with my Feldenkrais therapist over ten years ago. She taught me that just to get up from a seated position and walk across the room is not so easy…but with full awareness one could move with innumerable variations. After a few months of working with her I came to feel my hips were unlocked – like a swing moving along a cradle. It was amazing to experience that level of freedom of movement.
She told me that one of her lamas saw Moshé Feldenkrais walk across the room and the high lama looked at her and said “Rinpoche”. Now, Rinpoche is an honorific title in Tibetan Buddhism that means precious one. I was a little disturbed when I heard this because he never taught the dharma in a formal sense and his books lacked the clarity that I had been familiar with.
However, only years later do I understand how it is quite possible that Moshe impressed the lama through the profound awareness he brought into the way he moved his body.
The dharma teaches us that there are many thousands of emanations of Buddhas all over the world doing various works to relieve the suffering of sentient beings. We just don’t know who they are because they look so ordinary – just like us. Likewise, a bodhisattva with a good intention can bring profound benefit to others when one has an aspiration to help all sentient beings and a skillful method to accomplish healing. When we look at the results of his or her work the truth becomes readily apparent.
“Through awareness we can learn to move with astonishing lightness and freedom.” — Moshé Feldenkrais
To show how beautiful this process can be… here is one simple method I found on YouTube that has its basis in movement therapy. This particular gentleman of 4 Season Fitness has a one minute exercise to quickly remove pain or stress. See if you can notice the channels or nerves opening up in various parts of your body such as your back or neck.