The founder of Mitzvah—Nehemia Cohen—was originally a dancer who suffered from serious back problems. Wanting to understand dance-related injury so that he could heal himself, Nehemia spent many years researching and observing the bodily movement of various kinds of people including other dancers, children and desert nomads. He also studied postural healing systems such as Feldenkrais and the Alexander Technique.

From this research he discovered a subtle bodily ripple communicated from the bottom of the pelvis, through the hips and up the spine during all movement. He realized that this ripple was the key to maintaining good health.

When we are babies, all of us have a relaxed posture that allows our spine to ripple fluidly. But as we grow up, we force our body to perform all kinds of unnatural activities—especially slouching over desks at school—that gradually ruin our original posture. By the time we are adults, the natural rippling motion of our spine has become severely impeded, generating pain, tension, and illness.

Nehemia realized that by developing awareness of our bodily habits and performing certain gentle exercises, we can regain our original posture and restore the healthy rippling motion of our spine, thereby eliminating unnecessary discomfort and protecting us from many kinds of ailments.

This realization became the basic idea for a new postural re-alignment method, which Nehemia called the “Mitzvah Technique”, using the Hebrew word mitzvah, which means “a good deed”. In the Mitzvah Technique, “mitzvah” means “doing a good deed for our body”.

Nehemia now lives in Toronto where he has been teaching Mitzvah at his studio for over 40 years.