The seed was planted one day in 1987 when I was a busy fiber artist, working in my basement and listening to radio talk shows for afternoon entertainment. As I threw the shuttle back and forth on my loom that snowy afternoon, the interviewee talked about the benefits of the Feldenkrais Method. I was only mildly interested in what she had to say but two things stuck in my mind—the name Feldenkrais and the concept of gentle exercise. The first because it was such a strange name and the second because in my world gentle and exercise were mutually exclusive.
Flash forward two years to a conversation I had with my friend Fran, who had just returned from a weekend movement workshop. "Sandra, you’ve got to try this. You do these small exercises and without any effort at all, you can do something that moments before seemed an impossibility. It’s called the Feldenkrais Method.” There it was again. Fran was so excited about this new discovery that she insisted I try a short sequence that she had been taught at the workshop.
Try it yourself...
As you might guess, the seed was taking root. However, another few years went by before I felt compelled to investigate further. My life got a lot busier when I gave up my career as a fiber artist and returned to the school system to teach special education. When the stresses and strains of teaching began to take their toll, I embraced yoga to keep sane. One day when I was thumbing through a copy of Yoga Journal, I found an ad for a series of videos using the Feldenkrais Method. I decided to send for the videos so I could see what this was all about.
At 40 something I was doing an hour of yoga every day and was fitter than I had ever been in my life, so I wasn’t really expecting to feel much in the way of improvement. Perhaps my experience with Fran way back when had been an anomaly, a ruse, a trick that couldn’t be reproduced. After all I had simply learned to turn a little more efficiently than normal. Would the Feldenkrais Method affect my ability to lengthen into forward bending, increase my stamina in standing poses or help my balance in tree pose? Well, there was no way to find out what would happen unless I tried the lessons. Amazingly, the first lesson made an appreciable difference and I could feel a qualitative change in my next yoga practice. Six months later, on the strength of my experience with those videos I registered for a Feldenkrais professional training program in Boulder, CO.
I originally wrote the above article in 2010 and now almost 10 years later, I continue to find my work and lifestyle as a Feldenkrais practitioner both fascinating and rewarding. My practice in Kelowna, B.C., Canada is thriving and I have the privilege of working with people of all ages who partner with me in their desire to move and feel better. Some of these people have gone on to become Feldenkrais practitioners. This has been of great benefit to me professionally because I now have colleagues close by who welcome the opportunity to share ideas and collaborate on projects. These same people have become friends who have enriched my life in so many ways. Any regrets? I can say a big resounding “no” to that question. And now I’m part of a new and exciting project, The Kelowna Feldenkrais Training Program starting in 2020. So I say, raise the curtain and let the show begin!
Photo:© International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive, Robert Golden. Article written by Sandra Bradshaw.