When you hear of Feldenkrais the first question naturally is, “What is it?” It is such a basic question! And yet it is hard to answer. This is so for two reasons: 1) the Method is about sensed experience and 2) people have different experiences.
Happily, over the years, many students and clients have shared about a success in their life in which Feldenkrais has made a contribution. Some clients have shared short reviews through Maureen’s online booking tool Genbook.
Others have given longer accounts and photos. You will find these below.
Sue is a fairly new, but very accomplished quilter. In the photo she is pointing out a detail on the quilt she has just finished for a friend’s wedding.
Before Sue got into quilting, she had some discomfort in her neck and hands. But when she really got rolling with quilting, the pain intensified. She was waking up in the middle of the night with pain, and also sometimes felt it during the day. Sometimes her hands went numb. She was already doing Feldenkrais at this point but, as she put it, “just for fun.”Continue reading
“Here I am, Maureen, doing what I love — running on trails.
A professional photographer took this photo –after I had just waved at him — during the ‘Backyard Burn’ at Fountainhead Park this past Sunday. The trail was mud from start to finish. Just the same, I loved it!
Bruce is in his early 70’s and has been living with Parkinson’s Disease for 25 years. He takes an active approach to maintaining fitness. He trains with different people five days a week. One of those days he comes to Feldenkrais.
Through Feldenkrais, Bruce is seeing a definite improvement in his gait. He feels more at ease as he walks and that his balance is better. Also, he is finding that his step is lighter; this makes life easier on his low back.
One thing that Feldenkrais has highlighted for him is the benefit of making small changes in behavior. For instance, while walking forward, when he focuses on the fact that the heel lands first, then you roll through the whole foot, and at the end you push off through your toes, when he focuses conscientiously on all that, then his balance is better. “There are no miracles”, he says. But conscientious application is making a difference.
Cherry Gaffney, MD ran the Paris Marathon in April 2012. Kept at a steady pace by her music and profiting from her methodical conditioning and regular Feldenkrais sessions, Cherry kept a smile on her face and a song in her heart throughout a long, cool run.
Professional musicians have more repetitive-use injuries than the lay person may know. It’s a big issue, and it often gets worse as the musician gets older. Increasingly, it is also cropping up among young musicians.
At George Mason University they are taking preventive measures. In 2002, Professor David Sternbach founded the Center for Arts and Wellness. Courses within the Center help young musicians cultivate healthy habits for practice and performance.
Professor Sternbach invited me to present the Feldenkrais Method to two sections of undergraduates. One had 20 students, and the other 10. Both sessions were fun and productive.
At the start of this 75-minute class, three volunteers from the 20 students played their instruments. One played violin and two piano. This was the Before. Then the whole class did a number of movements standing, then lay down and was quiet for a while then there were movements while on the floor. For the After, the same students played again. The result? Each of the three, all men, was amazed by how much more relaxed and confident he felt. Then I asked the listeners for feedback. All agreed that for each player the quality of the sound had improved.
In the second class the volunteers were a percussionist, a singer, and a trumpet player. The feedback was the same.For me, the change in the singing was the most dramatic. One woman’s voice filled the whole room. That quality of singing lifts you up! That’s me in the center background, sitting on a chair and wearing a yellow sweater.
To his credit, John Flanigan is always willing to try something new. We are working together regularly on improving his balance and limberness.
John is in his eighties and lives in assisted living in Arlington, where he is President of the Residents’ Council. John is happy to acknowledge that he stills drives — and not his own car, which he gave up when he moved into assisted living a few years ago — but a Zip Car, which he schedules online. He walks to pick it up at various locations, never knowing what kind of car he will get, but confident that he can adapt to the moment.
I am a naturally athletic person, and I love the outdoors. Here I am on a recent trip to the Grand Canyon, a place that touches me deeply.
Unfortunately, despite my love of nature and physical activity, I have struggled with lower back pain and general muscular tightness most of my adult life. I realize now that an injury to my lower back in my mid-twenties set up inefficient body mechanics that lead to plantar fasciitis and knee pain. Just the same, over the years, I’ve remained physically active: hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and gardening.