Feldenkrais Method®: Everyone can improve, but who will you help?
A builder, a surfer and a dancer walk into a room. What do they have in common? These men were all facing the possibility that they would have to stop doing what they love because of pain and injury. Initially, their interest in the Feldenkrais Method was to improve their own wellbeing and longevity, but now they’re helping others improve their lives as well.
Phil is a carpenter and martial artist. “I had a lot of old injuries as well as the stresses and strains of work,” he said. “I wanted to be able to keep working. The Practitioner Training has really brought home to me that this is my ticket to keeping a healthy body and mind into old age. The added bonus for me at 58 years of age is that I now have a new career path.”
Roger is a surveyor and keen surfer. He had a persistent shoulder problem. “I was taking painkillers and using icepacks for two years, but worst of all was that my surfing sessions were down to 30 minutes and some days I couldn’t get out there at all,” he said. “I really enjoy learning and this is something I could stick with.”
Julian is a dancer, musician and physical theatre performer. “Throughout my different trainings I just kept getting more and more injured,” he said. “I realised that this helps me use my whole self rather than being driven by the professional ideas of performance. Before I came to the training I could move in some nice ways, but now I have a much greater understanding of how to make that sustainable.”
Three professional women also came into the room … a physiotherapist who specialised in helping children with developmental challenges, an occupational therapist specialising in hand problems, and a speech therapist who also works with singers and actors. They all had well-developed professional skills but recognised that they needed something more. Through participating in the Feldenkrais Training, they have discovered new ways to engage their clients in a shared journey of curiosity, trying different ways of moving and contributing to their own improvement.
Belinda works directly with children, helping them discover the missing elements in their movement, building coordination, independence and self-confidence. She also works with their parents to support them in optimising their interactions with the children so that they can make the most of the professional input during the rest of the week at home.
Elinor had helped many people recover the use of their hands after injury or surgery, but she was frustrated that there were some people who didn’t seem to be able to let go of the tension in their arms and hands, and she couldn’t help them make progress.
Mary was already an expert in helping people with vocal pathologies, but she also wanted to be able to help singers and performers move to the next level of excellence.
One of the hallmarks of Feldenkrais Professional Training Programs is the diversity of the student cohort. Participants range in age from their 20s to their 80s. Their backgrounds are widely diverse and interesting. They learn with and from each other in a highly experiential setting that is well supported with resource materials and online interaction between the face-to-face components. They are encouraged to learn at their own pace and pursue their particular interests by a caring and experienced staff. Over the three-year program, they first learn to improve their own self-awareness. They move on to teaching others Awareness Through Movement and then using their hands to bring improvement to the movement and organisation of others. The Feldenkrais Institute of Australia takes pride in developing innovative teaching methods and leading the world in excellence of learning.
The founder of the method, Dr Moshe Feldenkrais, believes that “health is the ability to realise our avowed and unavowed dreams”. Through movement we can improve the quality of the process of what we do and how we enact ourselves. When we connect with what is important in our lives and begin to find ways to move towards it, we truly mature as human beings.
Barbara was a housewife. After many years at home raising her children and caring for ageing parents, she wanted a career for herself. Her skills in attending to and caring for others served her well. Like her colleagues, she is now able to help people build hope and find ways to move towards joyful action. She has discovered that everyone can improve.
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