Lazy Bones

Dear Reader,

Being lazy isn’t always something to be admired. Except, of course, if you’re on vacation, or relaxing because you’ve been stressed out. We clearly get a lot of mixed messages about laziness. How many books and helpful suggestions do you see about being productive and getting things done? And how often do you find suggestions or even books about being lazy?

Have you been told to “chill out” when you were getting a bit too worked up over some little something or other? Does that help you relax? Not usually.

Moshe Feldenkrais talked about being a lazy person. To look at his accomplishments—a physicist, mechanical engineer, black belt in Judo, proficient in 5 different languages—laziness would not be the first characteristic that would come to mind.

Maybe because of his engineering background, or maybe because he truly was lazy, he investigated how lazily we could move our bodies. Why? It turns out that the laziest ways to move are probably also the most elegant and efficient ways to move. If we use the biggest muscles to do the bulk of the work, we actually expend less energy. If we find the laziest alignment to move in a particular direction, we move more elegantly—and we cause less damage to our joints and other tissue.

So, in our Feldenkrais lessons, we look for the easiest, most pleasurable ways to move. We get really lazy. And here’s the best part: when we want to speed up or move with force, we already have the simplest, most efficient way to do that. It feels like magic, but it’s not.

And here’s another best part: this elegance generalizes into how we move in our lives. We have more choices, We can be lazy or not. We can react, or we can pause and then respond. We can take a breath or hold our breath. We can move slowly or quickly.

And another best part: no matter how much we learn or improve, there’s always more to discover.

Whether you’re in lazy mode or productive mode, I hope you’ll have all the fun you can!

person lying in a hammock
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