Five Weeks of Feldenkrais Classes!
The Wellspring School is excited to add another movement class to our schedule in June and July:
Instructor: Susan Marshall
Wednesdays, June 15th through July 13th from 5:30-6:30
Cost: $12 drop-in fee or find us on ClassPass. (You can also use your movement class pass!)
What is Feldenkrais?
Influenced by yoga and martial arts in the middle of the last century, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais developed a series of lessons designed to improve life through movement. His approach was to encourage conscious attention to small movements. By engaging the brain and nervous system, people learn in a simple, pleasurable way. He summed up his method in the following way:
“Make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant.”
F-E-L-D-E-N-K-R-A-I-S in the News!
If you don’t read the news, or follow national spelling bee news in particular, you may not know that FELDENKRAIS was one of two words in the winning round of the US National Spelling Bee last week!
So great, now many more people can spell F-E-L-D-E-N-K-R-A-I-S. And those who watched the video of the final round can pronounce Feldenkrais (rhymes with “paradise”).
I took my first Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® class entitled “Yoga and Feldenkrais” in the summer of 2008 at an Annual Feldenkrais Conference in Boulder, CO. Since I was already a yoga teacher, I thought it would be a great way to find out what the classes were all about.
I entered a room of 30 people, who were lying on their backs on yoga mats. During the 45 minute lesson, at the direction of the instructor, we started to experiment with small lifting movements of arms and legs, and hips and then shoulders. The emphasis was on small incremental movements. I couldn’t figure out where the teacher was going with it, so I just followed her step by step instructions. Everyone seemed to be doing it differently, and she didn’t care! We moved slowly and only did easy movements. And we took a lot of “rests.” By the end of the 45 minutes, the instructor had not gotten to the end of the lesson. She suggested that we could continue these movements later on our own to see where they led.
I thought it was quite odd. It was like no other class I had ever taken. As a yoga teacher I would have done things so differently! We didn’t even move with the breath! And what was all this “resting” about?
When I returned to Portland, my curiosity was ignited. I laid down on my yoga mat and started to experiment with reaching arms overhead, pushing my hands into the floor, lifting my shoulders and pushing my feet into the floor to lift my hips. I moved slowly and incrementally. Before I knew it I had entered a yoga pose I had NEVER EVER been able to do! I was in an extreme backbend with my hands and feet on the floor but with my head OFF the floor! (Some yoga teachers call this pose: Wheel)
By introducing movements bit by bit within a short period of time, they also could come up into Wheel Pose. I didn’t even need to watch them when I gave verbal instructions. I could tell when someone came up into the pose for the very first time by the audible pleasurable gasp of surprise. A knowing smile still creeps across my face when I think of how many people experienced the innate pleasure of doing something new with their own bodies—especially in the face of declining physical mobility that we assume inevitably goes with getting old. Really it’s our brains, not our bodies, that often limit us.
I was hooked on Feldenkrais. Fast forward to 2016. I am now a Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, having taught weekly group Awareness Through Movement classes for the last three years. The thrill of coaching people, through one of the 1200 or so lessons developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, has never gone away. The classes are extremely varied, include many positions and are so fun and mostly easy. Think the exact opposite of “no pain no gain.”
On Wednesdays, between June 15th and July 13th, I am happy to share 5 classic Feldenkrais lessons with you at The Wellspring School. Come to one or more classes to come to your own understanding of what “Feldenkrais” is!
Feel free to contact me at: Susan.Marshall@feldenkraispdx.com.