Student Reflections of the First Training Segment

 Aliza Stewart teaching in Segment 1, Year 1 of Boston 3

Aliza Stewart teaching in Segment 1, Year 1 of Boston 3

Doing the Movements Isn't the Goal

My favorite takeaway was something I always knew but had never quite sunk in all the way... The movements aren't the goal, rather the idea is to do whatever parts of the movements are possible within ease, with the goal to use the movements as a lense through which to sense one's self. –Alex

 

Slow Down to Sense & Learn

My ability to really be mindfully in the moment changed, which allowed me to sense very small physical sensations during and after ATMs. I have taken Feldenkrais classes locally for years, but realize now that I would often use my habitual movements and not slow down enough to really SENSE!  – Pam

I was so glad to be continuously reminded to slow down to increase my learning, to slow down if something felt confusing, to slow down if something felt hard, and that only I can prevent myself from injury. I was so blown away with how simple awareness and attention changed the way my body felt almost instantly. I have been carrying these lessons into my life, everyday! –Michelle

 

Floating & Bouncing

 Sarah: This is a crazy moment I had when my middle line/stick figure felt all wonky and incredible lopsided. It was so clear in my imagination and felt sense.

Sarah: This is a crazy moment I had when my middle line/stick figure felt all wonky and incredible lopsided. It was so clear in my imagination and felt sense.

After receiving a Functional Integration lesson with Donna Wood on the third day of the training, I felt as though my head was going to float away and leave my body. The weight on my neck was so light, it was as if my head actually lost a few pounds. As each day brought new ATM lessons, this sensation increased. I began to feel not like I was walking, but that I was bouncing. Everywhere I went, my head bounced and bobbled on the top of my spine. Sometimes I was even drawn to actually bounce or hop with my feet and feel the reflection up into my head. My commute to the training had me walk up the 5-6 block hill towards the studio we were practicing in. It became one of my favorite parts of the day to bounce up the hill and feel my head respond so clearly to what my feet were doing. –Sarah

 This an illustration of something Aliza said about self-observation and awareness as being the small moment or sliver in time when intention turns into execution.

This an illustration of something Aliza said about self-observation and awareness as being the small moment or sliver in time when intention turns into execution.

Playing

Letting the belly go
Feeling confusion
Then letting my belly go again and again
Trying to integrate it
Feeling the hip joint release and floating leg
Ribs and sternum softening
But confusion in my abdomen.
Lots of confusion through my torso but walking is easier.
Slowly Lifting my foot from the floor heel then toes and bringing it back down slowly toes then heel.

Just playing with all that since we left. So much playing, but these things are taking center stage. —Suzy
 

Infinite Options & Pain Relief

During our first session, it clicked for me that there are nearly infinite options for where to hold my head relative to my neck, and where to hold my head and neck relative to my shoulders. It's completely surprised to me that there are angles that don't come with excruciating pain.

In two or three decades of living with osteoarthritis, bone spurs, and various nerve and muscle disorders, I had never found any pain-free possibilities. I had systematically tried "all the options" I knew were available, and thought I was out of luck.

During the training, I had an "Aha!" moment when we set up a posture on our sides, then slid just our heads forward and back relative to our bodies. Endless possibilities all of a sudden presented themselves to me.

I think it will take years to fully integrate this learning, and I'll probably never stop playing with it. For now, it's just so relieving that I can sometimes consciously relieve some of my own intractable neck pain. –Bean

 

Confusion, Authenticity & a Freer Neck

Aliza made a couple comments during training that were resonant and helpful for me.  

First, “confusion is good.” I was able to relax into the feeling of confusion and even enjoy feeling it as a dissolution of rigid mental structures, a fluidity, a “not knowing,” an openness that might be more characteristic of childhood. I felt that my body was learning and exploring and understanding all on its own and my mind was free to take a vacation. 

Another of Aliza's comments that struck me was that this Feldenkrais exploration is about “authenticity.” "Oh good," I thought, "I’m in the right place! I’m so glad I came to Boston rather than choosing a program someplace warm."  

My most wonderful physical takeaway was that my neck had probably 15-20 degrees greater range of turning motion on each side after the training than before.  –Kevin

 

Handstands on My 61st Birthday!

Since the training a lot has been swirling...in a great way. The day after the training I was in that amazing altered state that a number of people have talked about. My mind and body felt free and unencumbered. That Monday was also my 61st birthday. I went for a glorious swim at Walden Pond, where all the swims are glorious. I have an annual tradition of doing handstands on my birthday (begun on my 60th birthday!). I ran into a friend who took this photo. I felt so aligned and especially love how relaxed my feet look. I'm curious how my handstands might change over the next years. #FeldenkraisWorks –Jude