Feldenkrais(R) Training: My spine is fine!

After my little romantic interlude with the dance floor on the second day of my Feldenkrais(R) training, I started to loosen up a little. My nervous system was ready for the next learning experience. Or so I thought.  We were told to partner up, and just gently feel along each other’s spine. We were instructed to explore the shape of our partners spine, without judgment, but with a spirit of interest and curiosity, just like I did with that remarkable floor earlier in the day.

I got down on the floor first. My partner, like myself, was a physical therapist. She was really smart, and she had a lot of experience. Apparently she also had her own interpretation of this exploration, because she had a lot of judgment about my spine. And, she found a lot of things wrong with it. “You have a subluxation at T7 with a rotation at T8 and a counter rotation at T9. Wow, this is really bad! I’m having a hard time not correcting this.” I was put on the spot as I felt myself trying to explain why I was so messed up.

She found a lot of things wrong with my posture, too. “You have a scoliosis and a significant thoracic kyphosis, which explains your poor posture including your forward head position and round shoulders. I can’t believe you can walk around like this , let alone get through a ballet class! You must make your teachers crazy!”

The truth was, I did make my teachers crazy, and I still do, but not for those reasons. I stopped trying to explain myself and fought back tears as familiar and negative “self talk” started in my head. I felt like she was exposing some deep and shameful secret deep within me that was manifested through my defective spine and horrible posture.

All of a sudden our teacher was beside us asking if we understood the assignment. I vigorously shook my head “NO” as my partner listed her clinical findings of my dysfunctional spine and postural faults. Then she began to describe how she would “fix me.” That’s when I almost bolted out of the room.

Our teacher said, “Well, that’s one way of looking at it. Here’s another way.” She began gently feeling along my spine. That’s when something changed. I felt myself relax under her gentle touch. I felt the length, strength and shape of my spine that made it uniquely mine. That’s when I realized the truth.

My spine was fine.  There was nothing wrong with me, my spine, or my posture. I wasn’t the one with the problem. That was a little pearl of wisdom and a revelation that still resonates with me today. Actually, that one little truth was worth the price of tuition for that entire segment. And just think, it was still only the second day of a 2 week long training. However, I was pretty certain I had learned enough for one day!

The Floor is Your Friend…..

Today’s Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (R) lesson was titled “The Floor is Your Friend.” During this lesson, we explored how the floor can be a blueprint for how we stand, sit, move and walk.

The floor is a powerful tool to help you identify and release unnecessary muscle tension, refresh your body and your spirit, and discover a new sense of relaxation as you decrease aches and pains. As an added bonus, you can learn how to get down onto the floor and back up from the floor with ease, grace and effortless movement.

Getting down and up from the floor is a valuable and functional skill, one that a lot of us lose as we get older. So, get down on the floor, make yourself comfortable, and sense your contact with the floor. You may be amazed at what you discover!

Discover The Feldenkrais Method(R), and begin to discover your full potential! Learn more.

There’s a new class at Colorado Free University!

Swiss Ball for Strength & Stamina

Tell a Friend about this Course

Do you have a Swiss ball rolling around your house that you hardly use? This quick and fun one-session class will introduce you to a variety of easy, strength building exercise that you can do in just a few minutes a day. Build your core, balance, and muscle strength while sitting, bouncing, and using weights in creative ways on your ball. Even 5-10 minutes a day can make a big difference in your overall fitness. Take home handouts with descriptions of exercises so you can repeat them easily at home. Cheryl Ilov is licensed physical therapist, Pilates instructor, and certified Feldenkrais practitioner. She specializes in therapeutic exercise and has been teaching clients of all ages how to improve their strength, fitness, and flexibility for the past 18 years.

Code: 2646A
Dates: April 12, 2014 Check for other dates
Meets: One Sat., 10-11:30AM 04/12
Location: S. E. DENVER: I-25 & Colorado Blvd.
Fee: $31
You could save $12.00 on this course by becoming a member of CFU Membership
Notes: Bring a Swiss ball, properly inflated. Bring 2-5 pound hand weights if you have them.

More than a floor….Feldenkrais Training: Day Two

Since I had survived the first day of Feldenkrais Training, I decided to show up for the second day. I still kept an open mind. Which meant that I could leave anytime I wanted to, and quitting was always an option, even if it was in the middle of the segment. Heck, even if it was in the middle of the day. Anyway, I walked into the dance hall that doubled as our training venue, and did a mental eye roll as I walked past the large poster proclaiming “This is the first day of the rest of your life.” Sheesh.

I picked a spot on the floor, unrolled my big purple mat and set up my camp site for the day. Then I heard those magic words…”Lie on your back.” Ahhhhh, now you’re talking! “Sense your contact with the floor.” We began to sweep our arm slowly out to the side and overhead. “Slowly, very slowly…many times. Continue to sweep your arm and slowly grow the movement to sweep over your head and bring yourself onto your side.” Deep sigh. Yep, this was exactly why I was there. I could feel my shoulder joint relax and my ribs begin to open.

Eventually my fingertips swept against the floor as my arm went over head and then back down to my side. That’s when it got really interesting. My fingers glided across the wooden dance floor. Something about the feel of the floor captured my attention. I moved even more slowly and I could feel the individual fibers of the wood. I felt the seams in the floor, and the little imperfections that comes from the normal wear and tear over 60 years of thousands of people dancing on a floor.

I couldn’t get enough of that floor. I wondered about the many people who had danced over that exact spot I was lying on over the years. Who were they? What were they like? What kind of clothes did they wear? What were their shoes like? As I thought about this, my tactile sense of the floor became even more awake and alive. “Rest on your back.”

I rolled onto my back, but I continued to stroke the floor as if there were tiny little question marks on the tips of my fingers, looking for the answers to some of the questions that were forming in my mind. I looked up and saw the gorgeous chandelier directly above me. Mmmm…pretty! Why hadn’t I ever notice it before? I had spent several weekends in that room during the year of pre-training workshops, but I had never noticed how beautiful and how detailed the chandeliers were.

Maybe it was the Valentine decorations hanging from the chandeliers that caught my attention. And perhaps it was those same decorations that captured my sense of romance as I went back in time and imagined the thousands of dancers that had glided over that beautiful floor. You know, the floor that I just couldn’t stop touching. Yes, that must have been it. After all, it couldn’t be anything else that was awakening all of my senses as I moved through the lesson…or could it? Feldenkrais….accessing your nervous system in a gentle but powerful way, through movement! 

Feldenkrais(R) Training: Day One

By the time my Feldenkrais training was about to begin, I was a nervous wreck. After all, 2 weeks of training, every 3 months for the next 4 years seemed like one heck of a commitment. Besides, I was overwhelmed by all of the pre-training discussions and email communications. On top of that, I was feeling pretty apprehensive about the “touchy-feely” sense I was getting from the training group.

I didn’t want to bond with anyone. I didn’t want to share my feelings. I had no desire to change my self  image, and I certainly didn’t want to challenge my belief system. Most of all, I didn’t want to release anything I may have repressed over the years. I just wanted to learn Feldenkrais.

I didn’t like the glowing faces and dewy eyed look my teachers and classmates got when they talked about Feldenkrais. I pasted a polite smile on my face and did a mental eye roll when they talked about the wonderful journey we would all travel together. Ugh…what did any of that have to do with Feldenkrais?

I almost didn’t make it to the first day of training. My husband had to give me a pep talk and push me out the door. He handed me my lunch, my car keys, my huge purple mat and instructions to call him at anytime during the day. I would have put him on speed dial, but I am a techno-moron. I didn’t even know if my phone had speed dial, let alone how to program it.

When I got to the training and parked my car, I saw a long line of people entering the building. With their over-sized mats on their backs,  they looked like a bizarre pack of brightly colored mutant turtles plodding up the stairs. I grabbed my phone and called my husband. He gave me another pep talk. I promised I would go inside, but I reserved the right to make a quick escape anytime I felt like it, no questions asked. I took that first day one minute and one ATM at a time. Before I realized it, the day was over.

But, I was exhausted. When I got home I had dinner, a hot bath, a glass of wine and went directly to bed. After all, I had to get up and go back to the training in the morning. Of course, there was no guarantee that I would go back. I might just decide it was time to quit before I got any deeper into the training. But that’s a story for another day…