What is Movement Intelligence?
Movement Intelligence (MI) is a training system for dynamic postural re-education, extending mind-body suppleness into an active old age. It was developed by Dr Ruthy Alon, based on Dr Moshe Feldenkrais’s approach to somatic learning.
MI incorporates conventional kinesthetic concepts of flexibility, balance, alignment and strength, as well as integration and endurance, but it is something more: it recognizes the human organism’s ability to organize itself ‘organically’ – elegantly and in its entirety, with spontaneously co-ordinated harmony – for optimal efficiency, and pleasurable, sustainable living. Intrinsic to MI is the sense of effortlessness that stems from having and heeding well-calibrated sensory-motor feedback.
In line with current research on neuroplasticity, MI recognizes that overcoming physical limitations and dysfunctions is as much a matter of working with the ‘software’ of the brain as with the ‘hardware’ of the body.
Movement Intelligence consists of five programmes:
- Bones for Life focuses on natural movement that can be enhanced in order to help develop the postural integrity, flexibility and stability that support strong bones. It consists of Ninety movement processes which transform habitual patterns into ways of moving that can lead to what Ruthy Alon called a state of “Biological Optimism”.
- Chairs is designed to eliminate strain and promote dynamic sitting. The rudiments of Bones for Life have been adapted for anyone who cannot easily get down to the floor.
- Walk for Life promotes ease in walking – upgrading quality and coordination whether taking a hike or strolling round the block.
- Mindful Eating shows how exploring the art of chewing and its bio-mechanics can help us create strategies that promote healthy eating habits.
- Movement Solutions offers self-care strategies and a broad variety of movement insights to resolve common issues people may have with their functioning, thereby guiding the neuro-muscular system into effective and satisfying patterns of movement.
“I have nothing against the many labour-saving devices and inventions that have come into our lives. I only regret that this means we tend to use our bodies in limited, mechanical ways: we stiffen ourselves, and move only one body part at a time.
Movement Intelligence uses sensory guided movement to improve the interdependent relationship among all the many moving parts of the body, ensuring a healthy division of labour.
No human being need deteriorate prematurely. If you do not move well, then life in general will be a difficult struggle, rather than rewarding, pleasurable, and beautiful.”
Dr Ruthy Alon
Ruthy Alon 1930-2020
Meeting the right teacher at the right time determined Ruthy’s life’s calling. She graduated from the first training of Moshe Feldenkrais in 1969, went on to become a senior Feldenkrais trainer for many decades, and benefitted from a close working relationship with Dr Feldenkrais until his death. The Feldenkrais Method is “not just a method of body movement,” said Ruthy, “but rather an awakening of bodily resourcefulness and creativity.”
In 1970 Ruthy published the insights of her teaching in her book Mindful Spontaneity, which has been translated into 7 languages and was awarded the Book of the Year Prize for Natural Healing by the Jungian Society in Italy. A second edition was published in 2018.
Until her late eighties Ruthy continued to teach Movement Intelligence throughout Europe, America and the Asian Pacific to practitioners, students and the general public. She became an elder and mentor to students in over 30 countries.
One of the special qualities that Ruthy brought to her teaching was her capacity to decipher complex combinations of movement management and to design solutions for how to improve them.
She offered clear verbal explanations that empowered her students to comprehend and master the work on their own, with a sense of personal achievement.
In her mature years, she was a living model of what she was teaching, as demonstrated by her youthful, flowing way of moving, which she always said was getting better every year!
Movement Intelligence in the UK (Co-Directors: Silvia Gray and Marye Wyvill)
Silvia Gray taught the Alexander Technique and Pilates for many years, before attending the first of several workshops with Ruthy Alon in 2013. She subsequently trained to teach Bones for Life with Adam Ward, and received Bones for Life Trainer Certification from Ruthy in 2017. In 2020, she completed the four year Feldenkrais Training in London.
Marye Wyvill taught yoga for over 20 years, including a period as resident and teacher at Mandala Yoga Ashram in Wales. She is also a keen practitioner of Authentic Movement. Marye began Bones for Life teacher training in 2011 with Adam Ward, at that time Director of MI UK. During that time, she also attended Ruthy Alon’s workshops on Walk for Life and Chairs. She received Bones for Life Trainer Certification from Ruthy in 2017.
Ruthy taught two memorable six-day courses in Solutions for Optimal Mobility at Triyoga in north London, in July 2017 and July 2018. Her teaching, as ever, was superb, and her stamina astounding!