The healing power of Feldenkrais (something close to home)

I’ve noticed my own reluctance to write this, but have decided its time!

In September 2005 my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer again, the third time. I was home on a holiday visiting from New Zealand (where I was applying for permanent residency). With mums condition I decided to stay with her and wait.  At exactly that time I began to attend again group lessons of Feldenkrais, called Awareness Through Movement (ATM). My mum was living in Cornwall at the time, so this meant a weekly drive to Exeter to attend the ATM class. Every morning I would then lie on the floor and spend about 40 – 6o mins repeating the class, until the next lesson in Exeter. As each ATM lesson is different, I was accumulating a lot of material and receiving a range of physical experiences.

Im writing all of this, because I don’t believe I would have coped with that time as I did without my experience of Feldenkrais. By November the doctors confirmed that mum’s condition was irreversible – the news one never wants to hear. Every morning I lay on the floor and did a lesson. By tuning into the sensation of my body in movement or stillness, moving with gentleness, focus, ease and enquiry, I was better able to deal with the demands of the day. Despite the grief and difficulty of the time, I could remain more in contact with my body, I could sense my breathing, I could feel myself in action (making a cup of tea, walking to the shop, ordinary every day activities), and this gave me a strength and a softness to ‘be there’. This period of time showed me very clearly a need – the necessity to be in our bodies, a necessity that is invaluable. We cannot put a price on such things.

My mum died in the March, and even on the morning of her funeral I got up earlier to lie on the floor and do a lesson, to sit and to be still. None of this takes away the sadness and nor should it. I cried a lot during that last 6 months.  But something else was happening at the same time which was helping me, something to do with the relationship of myself to my body.

Perhaps years of dance training gave me this daily discipline, I don’t know, I never questioned it, I just did it.

I never returned to New Zealand. I ended my relationship, and started a dance PGCE.  I moved back to London and began teaching in Secondary school.  I continued my (often modified) daily practice, however a new journey had begun – and 2 years later I decided to become a Feldenkrais practitioner.

Written by on 12 November 2013 in Uncategorized