Three fabulous students of the Feldenkrais Method, Emily Stein (ES), Erin Kelly (EK) and Shannon Sullivan (SS) were kind enough to share with us their journeys and successes with the Feldenkrais Method. They co-teach Awareness Through Movement® on Mondays at Tribe.
In Awareness Through Movement® lessons, students are verbally guided through structured explorations that involve thinking, sensing, moving, and imagining. Lessons consist of comfortable, gentle movements, often based on development, ordinary functionality, or physical relationships between areas of the body.
Classes are $15 to drop-in. Find more info here.
Here's what they had to say:
What are some important things you share with people who have never heard of the Feldenkrais Method?
ES: I think it's important for people to know it's for ANYone. One needn't be an athlete, nor conversely, dealing with some sort of injury or condition, to do the lessons and see benefits. It's also important to know that it's not "exercise", it's learning a way to make whatever your form of exercise is work better for you.
SS: One of the easiest ways to introduce people to Feldenkrais is to say that it's a movement modality, but movement is really just the medium. The method is actually about learning, unlearning and awareness. It's about the process of becoming more and more yourself. And if what you want is to move better, or easier or with less pain, it provides that too.
Would you mind sharing with us your journey of becoming a teacher of Feldenkrais?
ES: I was introduced to FM through dance, which is my profession. As a performer, choreographer and teacher, the method has impacted everything I do in some way. It reinforced many things I had been thinking about and teaching for years, and gave me both a way to delve deeper and a language to share it. It exactly fit my level of nerdiness and fascination about how bodies work. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. It's been a great evolution for me.
EK: I decided to become a Feldenkrais teacher after quitting an unfulfilling job and allowing myself the space to follow my heart and I have never felt more sure of my path in life. I hope to share with others the many ways that Feldenkrais can benefit your life.
SS: After 13 years in health, fitness and personal development, I was having a bit of a professional crisis of faith. I sat down to share a cup of coffee with a friend and colleague, and he said to me, "You should try Feldenkrais, I think you'd really love it." One week later I went to a one-day workshop, and a week after that I started the training. My friend was exactly right. For me professionally, Feldenkrais clarified my big picture and synthesized all my other interests. It has become the primary lens through which I view all of my work, because it is truly a lens of learning- and learning is what I love most.
How has Feldenkrais influenced your life personally?
ES: As an experienced professional dancer and teacher, I had come to accept a certain level of pain, and certain limitations of movement, as just the results of my career. The Feldenkrais Method has shown me that I don't have to accept that, that I can live and move with much less pain and more freedom, and can continue to learn and grow, physically, mentally and emotionally. It has also given me the tools to help my students in the same way, and to help people avoid a lot of discomfort to begin with!
EK: It was chronic back pain that first brought me to the Feldenkrais Method, but it was the profound emotional and personal effects that kept me coming back. From the first moment I laid on the floor and heard the words "now notice what you notice..." I was hooked. The Method spoke to me in a way that no other modality ever had. My life began to change in gentle but powerful ways. My relationships improved, my balance and concentration improved, and stress became more manageable. The pain that once brought me to the Method became a distant memory. But most of all, I began to learn on an intrinsic level how to be kind to myself. Feldenkrais helped me to realize that there was so much more of ME existing with my body.
SS: After years dealing with chronic physical pain, Feldenkrais is allowing me to unwind damaging habits and and find ways of moving and being pain-free. Also, Feldenkrais grounds me better and faster than any other practice I've done. If I'm feeling over-excited, or over-agitated, I can take 10 minutes to move with awareness and come back to an emotional baseline where all directions are possible.
How might others benefit from adding Feldenkrais for self-care?
ES: The Method helps you to do whatever it is you do, better. It starts from a place of empowerment, that everyone can continue to learn. So whether your goals are to climb a mountain, or to reach for a box of cereal without pain, it can help you improve yourself.
EK: The Feldenkrais Method is great for any age, any fitness level, and any body! It is relaxing, empowering, and captivating for curious minds. Most of all, it is very hard to put into words-- come experience a lesson and see for yourself!
SS: I hear that Feldenkrais said about his method that it can help anyone do anything better. I have had great results working with people looking for relaxation, relief from pain or tension, or increased awareness to inform their pursuits. I recommend Feldenkrais to anyone curious to discover more possibility in life.
Anything else you'd like to share?
ES: Visit my website at: http://emilysteindance.com/
EK: I am local to Chicago. I am a passionate tie dye artist. I love riding my bike, singing in the car, and adventuring with my husband. Besides teaching ATM lessons at Tribe in Roscoe Village, I am also available for private lessons.
SS: I am co-teaching Monday mornings at Tribe, and often teach at Tribe's monthly Community Nights. I also teach for students at Black Box Acting's ACADEMY program and in one-on-one sessions. I am planning to offer more classes soon, so if anyone has a particular day or time that they'd like, please let me know! My website is www.bodieslearning.com, and I recently launched another site - www.atmchicago.net - where I'm working to build an aggregate listing of all Awareness Through Movement classes in the Chicagoland area.