It's been a while! I was ill. A few days before the "lock down" here in the UK, I became poorly. It started with a nasty sore throat, and then was followed by extreme tiredness, muscle ache, and a general feeling of disorientation. I am now much better and am just hoping that my sense of smell comes back!
I am living on my own in a small Cotswolds town, Charlbury, and like you, coming to terms with what it means to be living through this pandemic. I am not going to get political about this here but more tell you about the practical measures that I am taking as a Feldenkrais practitioner in this situation.
As you can imagine my Functional Integrations or "hands-on" work, which is the main part of my income, has had to stop in a physical sense. But this does not necessarily put an end to individual work. I am able to help still, remotely. It is different, of course, but I can go a long way to helping with physical issues by leading people through the right Awareness Through Movement exercises remotely. It can easily be made "bespoke" as long as I can see what you are doing, I have a good chance of being able to get you to a better "place". My wonderful teacher and mentor Vreni Booth reminded me only a few weeks ago that our job as Feldenkrais practitioners is to help people help themselves. In a way this crisis makes that clearer. I can't rely on my touch to help people (and it does) but to use my understanding of the neuro-muscular-skeletal system to create change for the client/student. If this sounds good for you then please go to my Booking Online page.
My Awareness Through Movement classes have had to end in their physical form too. I have been as swift as I can to make sure that the last lessons of the term are covered by Zoom sessions. It has been very successful up to now. Not everyone has made it along and I hope still that my regulars will see and feel the benefit of doing the lessons on line. As of next week though, I am responding to the situation by creating what I am calling Corona Specials; a series of 8 lesson terms online. It seems that Awareness Through Movement works really well at home! I can see what people are doing (not quite as clearly as I can in real life) and people can hear me and see me if they have to. The tech actually sets up very well for the lessons and I can see some people, obviously those who are older or immobile, making real use of this opportunity. I can, however, only teach a certain amount of people at one time (12 is about the max) and so it might be wise to book up quick and/or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to guarantee a place. The online Zoom sessions, as it stands, are at 1pm Monday, 7.30pm Tuesday, 12.30pm Wednesday and 10.30am Saturday. I am charging £75 for the full 8 sessions and as I have indicated on the Book Online page, I will offer further concessions to those in hardship or are "essential workers". They will be recorded and sent to students if they want to do the lesson again.
I am also still going to host the second of my 4 Seasons workshops. On the 18th April, I will be offering, Celebrating Spring-Feldenkrais for You. This is a 3 hr workshop, again, now online at Zoom from 2-5pm. It is going to feature a classic Feldenkrais move of getting up and going down to the floor in a spiral ( as nature intended). It is a wonderfully empowering movement and a mini epic of discovery itself. This again can be booked directly through the site. Once you have paid, I will send the link to the Zoom meeting and we can enjoy the afternoon of learning with you at yours and me at mine!
As some of you may have already noticed I have also created a Facebook group called Isolation Consolation; Feldenkrais to help you through the Crisis. > I have been rather surprised and delighted by the response so far. Its only day 4 of the group and there are about 500 members already! The idea is that I give a short 25 minute Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lesson at 9 am to start the day and 8 pm to end it. All you have to do is go to the FB page and ask to join the group and I will accept you and then you can enjoy a lovely interesting, grounding lesson either before the day or after it (slightly depending on where in the world you are!!).
There are some disappointments inevitably along with the Covid situation. I was due to fly out to the wonderful Roy Hart Theatre in the south of France on Easter Sunday for a week of teaching and learning with some of the performers and teachers who have developed this amazing practice of what is called the "extended voice". We are hoping to reschedule for the autumn. I now see that it is actually my JOB to go and study with related practices so that I can expand my skill and pass that on to my students. In a somewhat similar vein, I was due the week after that to go and do a week of advanced Feldenkrais training with Olenor Nitefor in Manchester and that will have to wait too.
A couple of interesting things were bubbling up just before the lock down. One was a collaboration with my buddy and Feldenkrais student Mike Benson, who is a marketing whizz, and is interested in getting into podcasts. He has asked me to be a trial client. So we are in the midst of figuring out what my Feldenkrais podcast would be like. I am erring on the side of talking to people and discussing issues around how counter-intuitive wisdom is the key to progress. Broad but quite well defined I think. So watch out for that!
Another interesting thread is a meeting I had with a leading climate expert Tom Downing (who was part of Nobel prize winning team for his work ) and his partner Sian Godwin on how the personal awareness of Feldenkrais practice can lead to what Tom calls adaption capacity. We met the day before I self-isolated and we can't wait to get going on it again. Watch this space!
One more "casualty' of this pandemic was a wonderful opportunity for me to teach Awareness Through Movement classes at the Nuffield Department of Primary Health Care and Health Sciences at Oxford University. This is exactly the kind of place where Feldenkrais's clear thinking about self-help and body intelligence should be vital. I am much look forward to resuming the relationship that has been started with them.
So please stay at home. Get a routine. And use this weird time to do more FELDENKRAIS!!
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