Restoring Human Dignity, One Person at a Time

Human dignity is such an important part of our overall health and well-being physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Unfortunately, life experiences can chip away at our human dignity, and in some cases even brutally rip it apart. However, I discovered an almost magical method that literally helps restore human dignity, one person at a time.

It was in February of 2000 when I found Feldenkrais. That statement sounds like it has an almost poetic and biblical sound to it, and I mean no disrespect. I do mean that it changed my life forever and helped me see the light.

After I took my first Feldenkrais class, I knew I had to become a practitioner of this remarkable movement therapy and share it with everyone who was looking to move better, feel better, look better, and generally improve their activity level and quality of life. To restore their human dignity.

Then I found out that the training was a grueling four-year-long program to become a Feldenkrais Practitioner. Yikes! I was still paying off my student loan from my physical therapy program! But, I just had to do it, and I graduated from my program and became a Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner in November of 2009.

The Feldenkrais philosophy is to restore human dignity through the process of exploring primitive movement, finding ways to move effortlessly and easily in your body and your mind, and challenge your belief system in a gentle and non-judgmental approach.

The founder of the method, Moshe Feldenkrais, was a genius, a survivalist, and martial artist. He was the first European ever to earn a black belt in Judo. The principles of martial arts are deeply embedded in his method.

In a weird twist of fate (or was it destiny?) I began training in Ninpo Tai Jutsu, and ancient Japanese martial art, in September of 2003. The combined teachings of Feldenkrais and martial arts had a profound and powerful impact on every aspect of my life. Through these harmoniously connected movement arts, I found my true self and regained my own human dignity.

I continue to promote and share the principles of both Feldenkrais and martial arts to my hundreds of clients, colleagues, friends, my many speaking audiences, workshop attendees, and pretty much anyone who will listen. Because I am dedicated to restoring human dignity, one person at a time. And I refuse to quit until I do.

“Be careful what you tell yourself, and do not belittle yourself, even in jest. Negative, deprecating self-talk can do significant harm to your self-image.”

–Cheryl L Ilov, Forever Fit and Flexible: Feeling Fabulous at Fifty and Beyond. 

Springtime in the Rockies, and Feldenkrais for One and All

Ahhhh, springtime in the Rockies! It’s a beautiful time of year, and one that I love dearly. Springtime anywhere is always special, but here in the Rocky Mountains, you just never know what to expect. And you have to be ready for anything.

It’s important to be prepared for any kind of weather or event that might surface, and it is also important to be flexible. The Feldenkrais Method can help you find the flexibility you need. Not just for the weather, but for every situation that comes up in life.

I had the distinct honor and privilege to spend a beautiful springtime afternoon last week in my favorite place in all of Colorado, Estes Park. I had been invited to teach a Feldenkrais class at their remarkable library for their Wellness Program. Of course, I accepted. I love Estes Park, and never miss an opportunity to go there. And I surely never pass up a chance to teach a Feldenkrais class and spread the word about this life-altering method. Besides, what a wonderful way to honor the upcoming birthday of the man behind the method, Moshe Feldenkrais himself.

So I happily packed up my teaching materials, and began the 70 mile drive north from Denver to Estes Park. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what the room would be like, how many people to expect (if any), or what the participants wanted from a Feldenkrais lesson. Assuming people did show up. Nor did I know what to expect from the weather. Like I said, springtime in the Rockies is quite unpredictable. It can turn from a bright, sunny day to a blizzard in a matter of hours. Yikes!

But, it’s okay. I am a Feldenkrais practitioner and have been for a long time. I am flexible, and I can handle almost any curve ball that gets tossed my way. Even if no one shows up for a class I have planned and drove 70 miles to teach. Not that it mattered, because at least the librarians would be there.

Well, people did show up. Quite a few of them, in fact. I shared a wonderful standing lesson with them titled “Unlocked Knees” or “Let Your Knees Be Your Teacher.” As always, I learned a lot from that teaching experience, and I had a great time. I was even invited to come back. That’s when you know things went well.

As I said my farewells and packed up my car to drive the 70 miles back “down the hill” to go home, it began to snow. Big, fat, soft, fluffy flakes. I stood outside for a few minutes just to enjoy the lovely weather, the sensations of the snow falling on my face, and the satisfaction of enjoying a job well done in my favorite Colorado town. I love Feldenkrais, I love Estes Park, and I love springtime in the Rockies!