Small Moves—Big Changes: The Mystery and Magic of the Feldenkrais Method

January 22, 2016

Small Moves—Big Changes by Madonna Hamel

Last October I was in Kelowna moving the remains of the family home from a locker to my car, the dump, neighbors and thrift stores. The combination of heavy lifting and heavy hearted recollections of my deceased mom and family memories attached to our home of 43 years brought on a serious neck and shoulder pain which extended to my lower back.
I decided I needed some heavy-duty deep massage and booked an appointment. The massage felt great while it was happening and for an hour or so afterward, but the next morning it was right back to the original discomfort, pain and misery. So, I decided to talk to Sandra about it.
I’ve known Sandra for a few years and even helped her edit her fabulous workbook (Wake Up Your Body and Brain) using the Feldenkrais movements— an essential primer for anyone interested in Feldenkrais and/or practicing a daily set of simple, non-invasive yet hugely effective movements for long term freedom of movement.
In exchange for the editing gig I got a few sessions with Sandra and left feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! These are great. I read some more. I reasoned, in my head, that the Feldenkrais method made sense. Consciously involving the brain in reprogramming the ways we move is the best long-term solution to pain. I was a fan, although I was relatively pain free in those days. I didn’t arrive on her doorstep in agony from whiplash, a bad fall, a chronic headache or, as was soon to happen, a wrenched neck, shoulder and back muscle. I was theoretically on board. But now I would have to be willing to let my body feeling the effects. I would have to walk my talk.
As I was sitting on the edge of the bench, telling Sandra my story, I just wanted the pain to be over. Despite my love of the powers of subtle world to effect real change—I even have a blog called: Slow-breaking news from the subtle world—I was wanting INSTANT RELIEF NOW!
Finally, we began the work. So simple and infinitesimally small were the moves I wondered how they would work, although I also realized that you don’t have to alter the position of a bowling ball atop a broomstick to cause it to tipping or falling. And the head on the spine has a similar weight and height ratio.
The great part was that I felt better that day, and even better within the hour. I slept better. I did the movements as described in Sandra's book and the spoken exercises she emailed for me to download. I don’t always do them daily, as I intend. They work. Plain and Simple. And when I start getting scrunched or strained at my writing desk—I just push the computer aside and do some circles with my elbows, supporting my chin in cupped hands.  My neck thanks me, all the way down to my vertebrae! 
And I ‘soften’ my gaze because I have evidence that long hours at the computer (and driving) cause tension because there is ‘an intimate connection between your eyes and the muscles where your neck and head meet. When your eyes are focused forward for long periods of time the neck muscles tighten. It is the intensity of your gaze that determines the amount of tension in the neck.)
I am happy to see neuroscientists catching on to the depth of healing available in Feldenkrais. Who knows where it will lead us in the future! Thanks Sandra, for giving me a chance to move through life with ‘ease and grace’!
Bio for Madonna

Madonna Hamel's work includes one-woman monologues, radio documentaries, and columns. She’s a regular reviewer for books, music, print and radio. As a singer-songwriter she has fronted her own band and toured with a professional American blues band. Most recently she’s returned to her mother’s birthplace of Val Marie, SK where she’s finishing her book: Habits, Orders & Vows, a look at the influence of religion as a cultural inheritance, and an attempt to uncover the deeper and relevant meanings of loaded words like: chastity, redemption, sin, suffering, charity, peace, mystery and mercy. The idea was inspired by the book, A Simple and True History by Marie Morin, her ancestor and Canada’s first nun and first published author. 
Madonna writes a blog: Slow-breaking News from the Subtle World.

Sandra Bradshaw, Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner and Functional Movement Specialist will help you to boost your capacity to move effortlessly. With a background in special education, yoga, functional movement, and music, Sandra integrates this knowledge with the latest brain research to help you find solutions to your personal needs that are effective and long lasting. If you are interested in more information or would like to make an appointment, call Sandra today at 250 862 8489.

The Feldenkrais Method® created by physicist Moshe Feldenkrais, PhD., combines precisely structured movement sequences with the latest advances in brain research; it will help you recover from specific areas of injury such as the neck and shoulders or to improve fluidity and ease in sports, recreational activities or life. Join the ranks of such notables as actress Whoopi Goldberg, cellist YoYo Ma and the members of the Canadian Men’s Alpine Ski Team in experiencing the benefits of this method.

Tags: Feldenkrais Method, testimonial, Sandra Bradshaw, Wake Up Your Body and Brain, Feldenkrais movements, freedom of movement, chronic headache, wrenched neck, shoulder, back muscle


There are no comments on this post yet.

Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.