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Case Study: Elizabeth did a Backward Roll for The First Time
   Maureen McHugh, Feldenkrais Practitioner                                           703-751-2111

A Backward Roll for the First Time
by Elizabeth M., resident of Arlington, VA
June 2004

      My name is Elizabeth, I am 47 years old, and I have been taking Awareness Through Movement classes with Maureen McHugh for about 4 years. I have enjoyed the hour of relaxation and the sense of looseness and "lift" that each class brings. But even after 4 years there are still surprises, such as the one last Saturday.

      Maureen told us that the goal of the session was to do a backward roll. There was certainly a lot of EYE rolling that followed that remark! We spent the hour doing what seemed like no more (and no less) that our usual no-strain movements. Frankly, I couldn't see that any of them had the slightest connection to a backward roll, so I just forgot all about it. But at the end of class, Maureen said, "So here's a backward roll," demonstrated, and asked if anyone else would like to try.

      A spirited discussion ensued──inside my own head. Half my brain said, "Go for it." The other half said, "YOU CAN'T DO THAT! You're 47 years old, the mother of teenagers, and you have never done a backward roll in your LIFE! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND???!!!"

      Maureen looked puzzled at my hesitation, since I'm usually one of the first to try big moves. I trusted Maureen's judgment that I was ready. After all, she's been watching me move for a long time. It was my own brain that was my real obstacle. After some gentle suggestions from Maureen and from an encouraging  classmate, Loudmouth Brain got distracted enough for Rational Brain and my muscles to take over. I got down in a squat, tucked my head, and entertained the thought of going backwards. Suddenly, I was on my hands and knees. I had done it! I really can't tell you how I did it, but I did, and I felt GREAT!

     I learned two lessons this past Saturday:

  1.  Feldenkrais makes it possible for me to do movements I thought were impossible and to do them in such a way that I not only achieve the movement, but I have fun.

  2.  Sometimes, when I know my preparation is solid, it's worth ignoring what I "know" and taking a risk.

Thank you Moshe and Maureen!