Nehemia is the creator of the Mitzvah Technique. He was born and raised in the old city of Jerusalem. He was a dancer and was a long time member of the acclaimed Inbal Dance Theatre. He developed a talent for helping dancers deal with injuries and postural difficulties. He studied in England and was certified in the Alexander Technique. He continued his studies in Israel and was a colleague of Moshe Feldenkrais.
Nehemia was interested in improving human performance, He observed good working bodies in action among animals and children and he spent several years observing the Bedouin people of the Sinai Desert. His observations inspired what was to become known as the mitzvah principle. Over the years he designed hands-on table and chair work and exercises to restore freedom of movement of the body and encourage greater physical awareness.
Nehemia Cohen is the director of the Mitzvah Technique Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
The Mitzvah Principle
Nehemia identified an-interplay of forces between the pelvis and spine, which frees the neck and enables the body to release tension naturally. An upward ripple of movement is triggered from the pelvis causing the spine to lengthen, the back to widen, the chest to expand, and the head to rebalance itself freely on top of the spinal support. This movement defends the body by correcting destructive patterns of body use and realigning the neuromuscular and skeletal systems with the force of gravity. This self-corrective defense mechanism becomes dormant with habitual patterns of body misuse.
"The Mitzvah Principle, after the Hebrew word "mitzvah", meaning" a good deed returning to the doer". I believe that frequent operation of The Principle is essential for efficient body/mind functioning, is essential for good health, and is essential for the achievement of inherent human potential." The Mitzvah Exercise and Its Principle by M. Nehemia Cohen"
The Mitzvah Technique
The Mitzvah Technique involves the analysis of the body in motion and how postural misuse interferes with the mitzvah principle. It identifies how postural misalignment becomes dysfunctional movement, and how this progress can lead to pain and loss of mobility. It also provides an understanding of how to correct these problems and to bring about a form of dynamic posture.
The Mitzvah Technique involves table work, chair work and exercises. Through this work the natural defense mechanism (the mitzvah principle) of the body becomes reactivated and strengthened, while patterns of neuromuscular interference are inhibited.
The Mitzvah exercises are a proven form of self-care for fitness and health. They are practical and simple. The exercises bring ongoing corrective changes to the body. The students learn that by practicing these exercises daily, they can release tension and pressure that accumulates daily and compounds over long periods of time.