Maureen McHugh, Feldenkrais Practitioner 703-751-2111
“It has made a huge difference for me”
by Maureen McHugh
I spoke recently with Elizabeth K., a vigorous wife, mother, and professional woman of 65, who began attending one of my group classes in April 2004. Elizabeth is very committed to the class because she says, “It has made a huge difference for me.”
As Elizabeth recalls, “When I first came to the class, I could barely get down to the mat. I am not sure why it was so, but over several years I had become very stiff.” She was talking with her husband recently and he agrees that she has become, in the 21 months that she has been coming to class, much more flexible. And, she adds, “More stable.”
When Elizabeth began, the stiffness was interfering with her walking. She loved to walk outdoors every day, but she had become fearful because she didn’t trust her balance, and she was afraid that if she fell, she wouldn’t be able to get up. She was walking very slowly because she was looking at the ground with each step.
At first Elizabeth made a lot of progress in class and felt excited and happy about participating. In particular, she gained confidence in walking again and had the joy of her time outdoors every day. She also felt more confidence while doing her daily chores.
After several months of progress, though, a plateau came. She didn’t feel any progress and wondered why she was bothering to attend. She considered quitting, but made a decision instead to invest in patience. Today she is so glad she did – and she recommends the same long view to others -- because now she is again in a growth spurt, which she finds so rewarding.
Elizabeth also lost some weight over this period of time and feels that this, too, has made a contribution to her increased well-being.
One aspect of our training that she recognizes as having taken some time to sink in has been the instruction “to do just the part of the movement that feels comfortable.” She was more used to exercise requiring a strong exertion. It took time to get used to paying attention to her own feeling of comfort and regulating her movement by that.