Cheerful smiling child at the blackboard. School concept

“Thinking isn’t taught…it’s released” – Patricia Holman

Per dictionary definition, learning is the act of acquiring knowledge through experience, study, or being taught. In neuroplasticity brain-speak, learning is the process whereby the brain creates increasingly complex differentiations that expand awareness and ability.

Anat Baniel explains that the learning switch, although not an actual location in the body or brain, is a metaphor for those conditions that converge in the student which contribute to an upgraded ability to make connections, reduce inconsistencies, and increase cognitive and functional organization.

The Learning Switch affects learning power, which lies on a continuum from lowest learning power — memorization and retrieval, to maximum learning power — critical thinking through inductive and deductive reasoning.  If a student is learning, then the learning switch is on—The learning switch must be “on” before any learning can occur. The learning switch acts as a potentiometer…the degree to which quality learning occurs is entirely dependent on the learning switch being “on”.

The stereotypical form of learning occurs in the traditional school, religious, or social setting. It’s an externally imposed framework relying on the “learners” capacity to store and retrieve information; this is learning through indoctrination. Success in this paradigm stems from a desire to create harmony in a group, please an authority figure, and/or satisfy familial and cultural requirements; this is the low vitality end of the learning power spectrum. On the opposite end of the continuum is having the learning switch on; which is an empowering process of generating volition and intention via curiosity and enthusiasm, where the learner is self-motivated to seek information for their own gratification.

Turning On the Learning Switch Means We Begin With Connection

Turning the learning switch on is to intentionally create those conditions which make learning easier and more iterative. Starting where a child is at…in other words working within the limits of their current ability is one of the first steps in turning the learning switch on.  Correcting kids, instead of connecting with them, as is often the case in traditional school settings, disconnects kids from their learning potential.

So this is the first requirement for turning on the switch.  Connecting with the little person instead of correcting them.  Connecting with learners means that we look for that thing that they do well, recruit their attention for that with games and play and creative variations, slowly introducing novelty or problem solving within their ability to be successful at what their already doing. This will make the switch turn on, and then, problem solving and critical thinking become a natural consequence.   When we insist on teaching kids things they don’t know without first turning on the learning switch, learning takes longer, is less interesting, requires more thought effort, and creates anxiety.

Our intention, with the ABM Nine Essentials is to directly & intentionally access the learning switch, to use our specialized movement & thought tools to help a child “Turn on their learning switch” in order to make connections richer and learning more potent.

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So, now the real test, on my horse after the Feldenkrais work.  As I rode, I made sure to think about my pelvic and head movement with the horse.  It really relaxed my back muscles.  I exaggerated twisting to the left and then went back to the center.  My feet were the same in the stirrups.  I kept falling back into my old twisted body pattern, but caught myself and fixed it.  I also kept thinking about how I lift my chin and kept tabs on that.  After a while the walk felt good.  Then I trotted.  NO ankle pain, back still relaxed.  Now, the canter……….It was wonderful.  Clancy felt like he was moving differently.  He may have been, but it was probably more that I was sitting centered and we were both more comfortable.  For the first time in my 42 years of owning a horse, I believe I felt what centered riding is.

THANKS for helping me with that “feel”!!


Julie K


“Whenever I have had episodes of back,neck, hip, or knee pain, Pati’s work has helped to resolve those issues in a day or two. I have recommended Pati Holman’s work to friends and relatives. They have also derived great benefit from the process. I feel that we can all improve the way that we move and that moving can be more natural and effortless.”

– Cari Bravo-Fernandez, M.D.

“I’m in too much pain for even Pati to help today.”
I have a back injury that is significant in terms of how much it has turned my life on its ear. The chronic pain impacts my ability to do almost everything.
And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this depressing, “Nothing is helping”  thought upon entering Pati’s studio.  And it never ceases to amaze me how much better I feel, how much like my former self, and how many things I can knock off my to-do list after a session.  I feel very grateful to have found her.
Debbie M
Former Sales Executive


“Life as I knew it changed after I was injured in two auto accidents. I turned to traditional as well as alternative methods to manage and cope with the pain. Nine months ago, my physician referred me to Patricia Holman. After the fourth lesson, I knew I had another tool to help me cope with my chronic pain. I’m learning how to be better focused and use my body differently. I’m also incorporating this new awareness of myself into my daily exercise routine & activities. This time, it is a positive lifestyle change for me. I can walk more freely without the limp I was becoming accustomed to, and my pain levels have diminished greatly. What a great feeling! I only wish I had known about the Feldenkrais Method before my injuries as I now know the power that brain/body awareness can bring to daily movement and life.”

– Marlene Wilde, Consulting Director to the IT Industry

On the drive home Friday after my Feldenkrais lesson I couldn’t believe how relaxed I felt.  I haven’t felt that relaxed since I had acupuncture.  I couldn’t believe how much movement I had in my shoulders & elbows.  It was wonderful.  During the whole ride we did not have one pulling match between us.  He did not lean on me once.  I could actually soften him to the left, his stiffer side, and use my left leg to move him to my outside rein.  My left leg used to be so heavy that this wasn’t possible before.  The whole left side of my body feels lighter & better!

– Mary Ann C. / Equestrian

“Given my mothers age and the severity of the stroke she suffered in January, ’09, she has been written off by the medical establishment. Because she was not ambulatory, she became Medicare ineligible in the nursing home setting in which she resides. Patricia has stayed with us through thick and thin. The result is that mom’s physician that has assumed responsibility for her medication says he can’t believe her progress. Her agitation is diminished and the movement on her affected side has continued to improve. Mom’s improvements are incremental milestones, nothing short of miraculous. Patricia finds the keys which unlock the door to movement. We appreciate her in ways she will never know. We are thankful for the spirit of Moshe Feldenkrais which lives in Pati through her perceptive awareness, caring touch, and kind guidance to relearn movement.”

– Heidi Stutzki

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 10 years ago at the age of 45.  I am a senior executive at an international manufacturing company and travel extensively.  I have been under the care of an outstanding physician and have progressed through a series of drug treatments that have been effective in moderating my tremor and fine motor skills for 60 – 75% of my waking hours.  I have tried other non-traditional therapies over the years with no resulting benefit.  Last year I became aware of Feldenkrais therapy through an article written by Andrew Weil.  It turned out that Patricia Holman was a 5-minute drive from my home so I decided to give it a try.  Three months into treatment I am thrilled with the improvement in my overall movement and level of energy.  While my tremor is still present, I feel like the length and quality of my “on time” has been improved and my rigidity has been lessened which has helped to significantly improve my sleep.  Pati has demonstrated an amazing ability to “center in” on the needs of my body in any given session.  Her commitment and passion are evident as Pati works to eliminate what she calls “parasitic resistance” to my body’s natural movements.  While Feldenkrais may not cure my disease, it has certainly improved my quality of life.  I am truly thankful to Pati for sharing her gift with me.


Patrick Ciriacks

People & Culture Leader  / Creation Technologies

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