The Feldenkrais model

©Gunnel Iverus

Yochanan Rywerant –
remembering his fabulous hands and the mind behind

I was participating in Yochanan’s first professional training in Stockholm.

It was like an adventure. We, the participants, were all fascinated and eager to learn from him. He was an inspiring teacher and could really captivate his audience. To characterize his way of teaching it suffice to use one word: precision.   

Yochanan’s way of using the hands when working was unique. We were taught to use bony parts of  our hands on very specific bony parts of the client´s skeleton, not using the whole hand in order to avoid confusion in the brain of the client. 

So where to put your hands, how the touch should be and the timing and how to understand the answer/reaction of the client was of outmost importance in his teaching of FI.

When teaching ATM how to use verbal instructions was equally important. The words used had to be crystal clear so that the client could understand them and act accordingly.

Yochanan also reformed the way professional trainings were organized.

He was teaching ATM and FI in parallel, a model which makes it both easy to learn and understand. This had never been done before. Soon other trainings began to use his way of teaching worldwide.

 

Once Yochanan showed us how to work with neck and head. The person working with me actually hurted me badly. I said to Yohanan that this was kind of tough for the neck. He immediately understood me and put his hands on my head in the most exquisite way, and with uttermost skill and care restored my sore neck. That was Yochanan in a nutshell.

Another time I called him when practicing and asked him to help me getting the exact touch on a part of a person´s spine. He came, put his hand on mine and suddenly I could feel the whole bony spine of that person, and I also felt how to put the correct touch so that it would benefit the person I was working with.

Once we were working half sitting on the bench with one leg on the bench and leaning on one arm. I was sitting there for a long time while someone was working with me, and I began getting tired in my neck.  Yochanan came by. I said to him” Look, I get tired holding my head for so long, so I use my other arm-hand to hold my head.” He answered immediately:” It has taken too long to do this. Stop it now.”

Yochanan once told me how he survived in a camp where he was interned for 4 years in his home country. He approached the guardians and succeeded to establish a kind of friendly contact with them, which led to his getting some little extra piece of food now and then, which probably saved his life. And possibly contributed to the development of his extraordinary sensitivity, which he later on used in his work.

Yochanan suffered from severe diabetes, and he took care of himself meticulously. When once he got a dish in a restaurant and it turned out that there was a spoonful of alcohol in the gravy, he would not eat anything of it.

Overall, Yochanan was a man using words sparingly. He was not talkative.  But when it came to lecturing, he became alert, lively, enthusiastic, telling stories to illustrate his lessons... He just loved it.

The contribution to the clarifying of the feldenkrais model that Yochanan has made can never be forgotten. His publications, his professional trainings and workshops are the proofs of his excellence.  And the unforgettable skill when he spoke with his hands!

Bromma August 9, 2022

Gunnel Iverus


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