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Case Study: "Joy through Movement Awareness"
   Maureen McHugh, Feldenkrais Practitioner                                           703-751-2111

Joy through Movement Awareness
by Sandy B.
Arlington, VA
August 2002

    One day recently, while visiting an assisted living home, I saw several residents sitting in wheel chairs and others confined to their beds. I remembered watching children at play and suddenly recognized that, at age 57, I was nearer in age to the assisted living residents than to the children. Hope returned, however, when I realized that the critical difference between the assisted living residents and the children was not age, but rather, the extent of their mobility. Chalk one up for the Feldenkrais "Awareness through Movement" classes taught by Maureen McHugh.

    I remember my first class; I came late and missed Maureenís introductory explanations and the beginning exercises. Perhaps thatís why I concluded, at the end of the first class, that I had wasted my money. I enjoyed the next class, finding it relaxing after a hectic day at work. However, it was the morning-after effect that kept me coming back for more. I noticed then that my lower back was not bothering me. With more classes, I learned to notice when I was tensing my lower back muscles and how to relax them.

    After one year of classes, my leg muscles had realigned so that I no longer needed to wear orthodics (shoe inserts) to correct pronation. I had learned, when driving, to turn my upper body and not just my head to check for safety before changing lanes. The immediate effects: a wider range of vision and no neck strain.

    The results of my second year of Feldenkrais classes were even more amazing! While attending a second or third walking and running class, I tried running with Maureenís encouragement. I could hardly believe what happened. For the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed running! I felt freer than I had ever felt before! During my second year of classes, I also learned to enjoy swimming freestyle, to swim easily and with more endurance than before. I learned to walk up and down stairs using my whole body instead of putting too much pressure on my knees. The effects: freedom from creaking knees while walking upstairs and far fewer creaks while walking downstairs.

    Now in the beginning quarter of my third year of classes, I no longer am stiff when I awake in the morning. My back is straighter; my shoulders are not so rounded; my breathing is deeper. But even more wonderful, I am beginning to experience the joy of walking, the joy of feeling my whole body in motion, not just the movement of legs and arms! I donít remember feeling so young, so free of restriction! Not bad for a 58-year- old. Thank you Maureen McHugh. Thank you Moshe Feldenkrais.