After my first Feldenkrais workshop, I knew I wanted to become a practitioner. I wasn’t exactly sure what was involved in the four long years that it took to get through a Feldenkrais training, and I really didn’t care. At first.
However, once I made the decision, I started to have second thoughts. After all, four years is a long time, and I was feeling uncomfortable with all of the touchy-feely communication coming from my instructors and my classmates. I was also getting pretty nervous anytime I heard how a training transforms you. I didn’t want to be transformed.
Before I started the training, I worked with two clients who did Pilates together. They both had some experience with Feldenkrais. As a matter of fact, both of them had more experience in the Method than I did at the time, and they often shared their perspective with me, whether I wanted it or not.
One of them had considered taking the training herself. However, she told me that she wanted the information, but didn’t want to go through the process of getting it. She wiggled her eyebrows at me in a knowing way. Her friend laughed and said, “No kidding! Who would want to go through that?” I had no idea what they meant, but I didn’t want to appear uninformed, so I just nodded my head and pretended I understood.
They began to discuss the pros, cons, perils and pitfalls of going through a Feldenkrais training. In an attempt to change the subject, I redirected their attention to their Pilates workout. I guess it didn’t work, because they continued, “Speaking of Pilates, it’s going to be real interesting how you feel about this after the training.” Once again, they wiggled their eyebrows and exchanged knowing looks. Sheesh!
They explained to me that Pilates violated all the principles of Feldenkrais. According to Feldenkrais, Pilates was the anti-‘Krais, so to speak. I don’t know how they knew this, but according to my clients, I couldn’t possibly teach both Methods, and I would have to choose between the two. They wondered what I would do. So did I.
I soon found out. After my first training segment, Pilates just wasn’t the same, and neither was I. I had more fun teaching Pilates than I ever had before. I had my clients sense their contact with the Reformer. I encouraged them to move from their skeleton instead of their muscles. I coaxed them to experience the sensation of each movement pattern. I had a renewed interest and enthusiasm for Pilates. I loved it, and so did my clients.
The truth is, Feldenkrais doesn’t replace Pilates, or any other physical activity. Feldenkrais makes everything more interesting, more fun and more pleasurable. It also makes everything easier and effortless. Feldenkrais makes the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy effortless. And that’s how Feldenkrais turned me into a “Born Again Pilatean.”
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFPeasy and effortlesseasier and effortless