I came to Feldenkrais through the suggestion of my massage therapist, who had concluded he could not help much more to make my stiff body improve. He knew little about Feldenkrais, but had also heard it was helping some people in a nursing home he know about. For my part, having become progressively less flexible and having much more serious pain in the preceeding five or six years, and having explored multiple different things in an attempt to get better with limited success, I was willing to try almost anything - even something that sounded more like a high fibre cracker than a useful therapy.


I have been attending Lisa's classes now for a couple of years and have noted progressively more flexibility and less pain in various previously intractible places: Legs are much better; hips don't hurt as much; shoulders are less stiff; neck moves when it has to; walking is easier; and I can stand up straight. This might not seem to be much to some people but for me it is major. And I can actually do the classes which is even more major as any of you who have tried to keep up with an aerobics instructor wiil know.


Here is what I like about Feldenkrais:

- 99% of it is done while lying on your back. No running, no weight-bearing movements, no standing on your head.

- movements are small and gentle. One only does each movement to the extent that it is easy so nothing gets overstressed.

- the 'intstructor' talks you through the class clearly explaining each movement as you are doing it. No watching and imitating is needed. No techniques or routines to learn. You just do it as it is described.

- strength is not needed. No situps, no forcing, no working to exhaustion.

- it is totally non-competitive. There is no such thing as doing it better than someone else. Nobody is watching and nobody is judging.

- you REALLY start where you are, regardless of what state that is. You don't have to develop anything to catch up with others OR to be able to do the movements.

- changes happen. More than just maintaining is taking place.

- you can't hurt yourself doing it.

- though the objective is never to do muscle building, a side effect is that muscles (biceps, triceps, quads, traps, pecs and abs) become stronger, firmer and have more stamina over time.


That's about it. So what is the downside?


- progress seems to be very slow. There are no dramatic changes and sometimes the change only shows up a couple of months later.

- there is little cause and effect relationship between the class and the part of the body being worked on. That is, it is not the same thing as doing crunches for abs so it is sometimes hard to see what value the class has. Effects are much more global and we are not used to this approach.

- sometimes a given class seems a crashing bore, moving too slowly and feeling interminable.

- you can't really repeat the any class at home from memory. You need to have a recording.

- I find it impossible to describe feldenkrais to anyone else. This is the only thing I have ever done wher this happens.


And that is that.


I intend to keep on with Feldenkrais for the foreseeable future. I am in my early 70's and my goal is to beome the first 85 year old contortionist with the Cirque du Soliel.


And a p.s. about Lisa. Lisa is a calm gentle person who has the knack of making the intstructions very clear. I am never at a loss to know what to do in Lisa's classes. I also find her to be extrordinariy empathetic and understanding as she deals on occasion with each person's individual characteristics in the classes. And I just think Lisa is really nice. So give it a try and see what you think.

– C. Lyons