The Franklin Method

Eric Franklin

The Franklin Method bases its’ core teaching on three simple things that we all share as humans: We relate to gravity in posture and movement. We breathe. And we use our brain to think and dream. The Franklin Method addresses the body-mind continuum  through the use of imagery in all its applications and the body is addressed by learning how it is designed to function.

The Franklin Method asks: Why does it make sense to be good at something you do all the time? The answer…You get better at what you do. Simply put, poor posture leads to worse posture and incorrect use of the body tends to lead to dysfunction and injury. Learning how we are actually designed to function, how bones/muscles/organs work together to function efficiently, and how the mind is always part of the context is at the forefront of every Franklin Method lesson. It’s about paying attention to how we are using our bodies when we exercise, train, and practice. Thus, The Franklin Method teaches the practical elements of body design, emphasizing imagery for maximum efficiency. Body posture and movement are imagery driven, and if the image doesn’t correspond to the way the body is designed, the result will be a steady decline in function. By contrast, the best way to improve function is to start with an image that corresponds to how the body is designed.

To activate the body/mind function, the Franklin Method uses Dynamic Imagery, Experiential Anatomy and Reconditioning Movement. Dynamic Imagery is a multi sensory and kinesthetic way of using the brain to affect movement and function. Experiential Anatomy helps give us a direct physical awareness of our body’s function and design. Reconditioning Movement integrates dynamic imagery with experiential anatomy to produce optimum function.

One of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century is the plasticity of the brain; that the lives we live shape the brain we develop. The Franklin Method is at the forefront of practical neuro-plasticity as it teaches us how to use our brain to improve the body’s function. It teaches us how to harness the transforming power of the mind. It all starts with the knowledge that we have the power to change. “We are not reinventing the wheel, we are simply connecting the spokes “” body/mind, posture, breath, health, imagery and motivation.” (Eric Franklin)

Dynamic Imagery

The speciality of The Franklin Method is the use of imagery. To use imagery successfully most people as well as athletes, dancers and their teachers need training that is based on the information about how imagery works, under which conditions it works best and how personal factors influence the process. Imagery has a wide spectrum of application and has been proven in conjunction with physical practice to be the fastest avenue to affect change on a cortical level which translates into how the nervous-system and the body interacts. We can learn to use imagery systematically to learn new skills, aid performance, reduce anxiety, increase confidence, enhance endurance, speed recovery from injury or heavy exercise, for deep relaxation, and more. “The Franklin Method demonstrates what innumerable studies have shown; that the mind can affect the body. Neurological studies tells us that the brain remodels itself throughout life and that it retains its capacity to change itself based on the way we behave and think. Philosopher Henry James stated a hundred years ago: “The brain is an instrument of possibilities, not of certainties”. Merely thinking about movement produces brain changes similar to those of actual physical movement. “The Franklin Method uses imagery as the primary tool to facilitate positive change because by using imagery, we work directly with the nervous-system which has been scientifically proven to be the fastest way to change the way we use our body. Mindful awareness is the first step in learning to use imagery. Some people think that imagery doesn’t work for them but imagery is always at work whether we are aware of it or not. The creative question to ask is: Are your thoughts and general attitude supporting what you want to achieve or not? When learning The Franklin Method, you explore a full overview of imagery in all its varied applications especially as it pertains to movement, health and motivation. Dynamic imagery can be used to improve any skill you want to improve. Imagery is the number one body/mind skill.

Experiential Anatomy

The Franklin Method uses a comprehensive understanding of the function and design of the human body to produce optimal health and peak performance. It does a thorough job at simplifying the complex without loosing the essence of the depth of what you’re studying. Our anatomy is the result of the experience of evolution. Our species evolved solutions to deal with various challenges. The Franklin Method teaches how our bodies are designed to function based on the science of movement, biomechanical principles and evolutionary history. Rather than simply learning anatomical details and names it is helpful to experience and understand how our design works so in a lesson, you spend time learning and embodying how your body is designed to function in posture, movement and breathing.

Reconditioning Movement

We can all agree we should be fit but mere exercise is not a guarantee for better usage. Only when the body is being used according to the way it is designed, muscles naturally gets trained to produce movement, stability, strength and flexibility that supports healthy function: Good function does indeed improve function leading to movement efficiency, poise and presence, performance excellence and enhanced longevity. It is built into our system; if you use it well, you will feel well. The body was designed to move and movement respecting that design is the great elixir of life. “It is not realistic to fix the bad habits of daily life in a few weekly exercise classes. Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent. Simply adding weight, endurance or flexibility will not correct bad movement patterns but only make you more strong, fast or flexible in your imbalance. The Franklin Method at its base uses all movements as possible exercises; we analyze them and see how they fit in with the design and bio-mechanics of the body. Because when we have balance and alignment in our every day life, it is a great starting point for exercise. Then you can build strength, endurance and flexibility into a well organized body. “The Franklin Method uses a rich variety of movement ranging from everyday activities, walking, sitting standing to dynamic stretching, Thera-Band® exercise series, Franklin Balls, dance, rhythm, coordination exercises and improvisation to stimulate the ongoing dialogue of life in the body.

Content Credit:  Eric Franklin

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