I hold my Functional Integration – Feldenkrais 1:1 – sessions at The Practice Rooms in Sheffield. The Practice Rooms are a network of centres devoted to therapy and counselling and the Sheffield centre is situated in a beautiful large building in a leafy part of the city. Last month, the organisation invited me to contribute to their blog page on the theme of Creativity & Play; here’s the link to my article, I hope you enjoy it! https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/…
Last week, my car keeled over and wouldn’t start. It’s been a great car, nothing wrong with it whatsoever and then suddenly it wouldn’t start. The AA man came out and looked at the battery and asked me “how old is this?”. I know perfectly well that you should replace a car battery every 2-4 years so sheepishly I told him: “The battery is six years old”. He just looked at me sadly. I hadn’t bothered thinking about anything underneath the bonnet at all, the car just magically kept going – until it didn’t. We often think about ourselves in the same way; we choose not to think about our own physical and mental state as long as we can keep going – until a crisis happens. To prevent our personal battery running down, we need to make small changes in order to make a big difference to our physical and mental welfare.
I’m a qualified Feldenkrais teacher and I am particularly interested in the notion of change. The Feldenkrais Method is a process of self-education through movement and is named after Dr Moshe Feldenkrais, who developed this approach. The aim of The Feldenkrais Method is to improve functional movement, primarily through developing perception, motor learning, and our innate ability to discover that better movement patterns can be pleasurable and instinctive.
When we become aware that one form of posture is uncomfortable and potentially damaging but another approach can be pleasurable and beneficial, then perhaps we can create a different form of habitual movement. However, remembering to be mindful can be a real challenge. Our habits form part of our identity, they create a structure on which we build our self-image. We define ourselves by what we do but we often limit ourselves by how we do something. The Feldenkrais Method helps you identify limiting habits – this can be as simple as changing the way you sit on a chair or reach up to a high shelf. Small changes in everyday actions work with the nervous system, increases your self-awareness, and teaches you easy and comfortable options for self-reorganisation.
In a Feldenkrais class, we gently explore movement patterns that are similar to the way you first learned to move: we learn to release tension in the muscles and to use the skeletal system more efficiently in order to reach, roll, stand up and sit down with less effort. The emphasis is on re-learning the natural movement you had as a young human, to regain pleasure and freedom instead of effort and anxiety. The pleasure principle is important in all learning situations because no matter what type of habit we are dealing with (emotional, mental, or in movement) a person will not give up an old habit unless the one being offered as a replacement is in every way as good or better than the old one.
When I begin to teach a Feldenkrais class lesson, I start by asking the class to lie down on the floor – to give up on the struggle with gravity for a moment and surrender to the floor. There is very little muscular effort required in order to lie on a neutral surface and so in this way, the nervous system can feel safe and calm, then it is possible to notice in finer detail the physical and mental state. Here, the practice is closely aligned to mindfulness, I’m asking everyone to notice the present moment, without judgment and without dwelling on the past or the future. Try it, your body will thank you for it.
I teach a regular online class for home office workers called “Take a Break From Work”. For most people, the idea of taking a break is to put the kettle on, it’s a habitual response to needing time out. If you can instill the notion that before you reach for the tea bags, you pause, check in with your physical and mental state, perhaps even lie down for a few minutes, then you will discover a sense of relief and release. You might even create an easy, new habit that will benefit your whole body and mind.
(This blog piece originally appeared on The Practice Rooms website in January 2021)
I’ve just added a whole schedule of workshops and classes to my Acuity booking system. As we move out of lockdown, I’m very happy to offer live classes and – for the time being – a Saturday workshop where you can choose to join via zoom or be there in person. Here’s the link to view all the available classes. https://MIndfulBodyclasses.as.me/
LIVE FELDENKRAIS CLASS AND 1:1 SESSIONS FOR THE AUTUMN
It’s been great fun teaching Feldenkrais online whilst we’ve been in lockdown but I’m aware that, for some people, online classes are not for them. Therefore, I’m very pleased to say that All Saints Church is opening its doors again in September. I will be starting live classes again on Thursday 10 September from 10 – 11am. We will be in the main hall, which is large enough to be safely socially distanced, and also much quieter as it’s some distance from the playgroup!
To ease people back into live classes, the first session will be free to attend. Because of Covid-19 safety measures, please bring your own mat or blanket to lie down on; I will mark out the floor so that you have a safe space of 1-2 metres from other people. I will be limiting numbers for this class so please use this Eventbrite link to book, then I can keep an eye on capacity. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-taster-feldenkrais-class-tickets-117549512757
The online classes will continue on Wednesdays from 5.30-6.30pm and Fridays from 11.15-12.15, so if you can use your Class Pass for any or all three classes.
Online 1:1 sessions (Functional Integration)
I know that many of my clients are missing their regular 1:1 sessions during this time of social distancing. I’m very happy to say that I’m starting my 1:1 sessions back at the Practice Rooms from 8th September – to begin with, sessions will be on Tuesday and Friday afternoons in the Blue Room. This room is on the ground floor, so no more climbing up to the attic! – and is large and airy. Please go to the bookings page for available dates
I really enjoyed teaching a half day online workshop for musicians last week. Rachel Shirley, the organiser, posted a lovely review over on Facebook.
Busy people often have so many commitments, to their families, friends, children, work, clients…the list can seem endless but sometimes what’s missing from that list is self-care. This is the most important item on anyone’s list because – as the Buddhist saying goes:
You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection
As a Feldenkrais teacher, I encourage people to take care of themselves but all too often, I see that self-care becomes a low priority when others need care and attention. We understand unconditional love allows the vulnerable to flourish, so why not love yourself unconditionally? If you know that time set aside for exercise, quiet reflection or pleasurable activity makes a real difference to your physical and mental health, then make a commitment to that personal time – but don’t punish yourself if you can’t always do this!
It’s often easier to make a commitment to self-care if you’ve signed up for a block of sessions – it takes more than one session to change your habits and attitude towards yourself! That’s why I created the Class Pass to make life easier for my clients. A drop-in class is £8 but a Class Pass gets you five online sessions that you can take at any time over 90 days – a no-brainer really! Make the commitment today and click on this link
Very happy to announce a new series of online workshops!
IMPROVE YOUR FLEXIBILITY IN FEET AND ANKLES
Saturday 27th June 10-11.15am (£15)
Stiffness and a lack of flexibility in your feet and ankles can lead to pain and discomfort in your knees and hips as well as restrict your walking and running. This workshop will help you to discover stability and strength as well as a better range of movement. Here is your direct booking link: https://MIndfulBodyclasses.as.me/?appointmentType=13787304
Your zoom link is in the confirmation email.
MOVING THROUGH YOUR WHOLE BODY
Thursday 9th July 6 – 7.15pm (£15)
Release body tension and find how connecting through your whole body improves your strength and flexibility as well as giving you a sense of “grounded-ness” and calm. Book here:
https://MIndfulBodyclasses.as.me/?appointmentType=14139781 Your zoom link is in the confirmation email.
Saturday 18th July 10 – 11.15am (£15)
Stiffness in your hips affects sitting, walking and running as well as adding to knee strain. If you’re spending too much time on your sofa or office chair, then this workshop will give you a greater sense of flexibility and connection in your pelvis. Book here: https://MIndfulBodyclasses.as.me/?appointmentType=14139762
Your zoom link is in the confirmation email.
I had a great time teaching “Releasing Tension in the Neck and Shoulders” last Saturday. This is part of my monthly First Saturday workshops that are now online. The Feldenkrais Method is well suited to online teaching as this system of movement learning is all about learning to listen to your own body and not craning your neck to copy your teacher! For me, the added bonus is that people can now attend my workshops and classes even if they aren’t near me geographically so I have had people dialling in from Sweden, Berlin and all over the UK. 🙂
The next two workshops scheduled for this month are: Thursday 18th June at 6.15-7.00pm “Creating a More Flexible Spine” and on Saturday 27th June 10-11am “Flexible Feet and Ankles”. Make a note in your diary!
Each year, Feldenkrais teachers and practitioners use the anniversary of Moshe Feldenkrais’s birthday (6th May) to put on special events in order to raise awareness of The Feldenkrais Method across the world. I’m joining in with this by adding a series of mini workshops every day from 4-8 May 2020. Here are the details:
Daily: 4th – 7th May from 12 -12.30pm. Home Office.
Working from home can be a pain in the neck – literally! This short lunch-time session will bring relief as I guide you through some short sequences to release your neck and shoulders.
Monday 4th May 6-6.30pm Ease Your Lower Back
Too much time sitting down? Overdone the gardening? This mini workshop will relax your lower back and help you move more easily.
Tuesday 5th May 6-6.30pm Release Your Neck and Shoulders.
Tension in the neck and shoulders can restrict all your movement and lead to headaches and a general sense of discomfort. This mini workshop will help you release tense muscles and improve your range of movement.
Wednesday 6th May 6-6.45pm Fully Functional Knees, Feet & Ankles
A short form of this ever popular workshop! Here you will discover how to reduce stress and pain in your knees by improving your flexibility in feet and ankles.
Thursday 7th May 6-6.45pm Happier Hips
Stiffness in your hips affects walking, running and your yoga practice as well as adding to knee strain. This mini workshop will give you a greater sense of flexibility and connection in your pelvis
Friday 8th May 6-6.45pm Moving with your Whole Body
Reconnect with the joy of flexible, integrated movement and lose the creakiness! A lovely way to end your week.
You can book for one or all of these sessions by following my scheduling link here