New Domain Name

Hi Students:
Due to technical difficulties FeldenkraisBlog is entering a partnership with .net and is parting ways with .com. Please let all your friends know and if you have any trouble with my website please email me about the details.  Thanks.

My next workshop, Softening the Face, Jaw & Eyes will focus on the parts of ourselves we use and sense the most!  I have included a homunculus photo below to help you understand how much of the brain is dedicated to these areas. Notice that the the face, jaw, tongue & eyes are drawn much larger than the legs and feet to visually make this point.  

Some benefits students have experienced from softening the face are:  improved digestion, easier breathing, & relief from neck & shoulder pain.  One of my favorite stories came from a student in San Francisco after I taught a similar workshop.  She told me that when she was walking home from the workshop she heard some whistling.  She looked around to see where it was coming from and realized that she was the one spontaneously whistling She was delighted because until that moment in her life she had never been able to whistle!

I am confident that I will hear many more wonderful stories like this one after the workshop! I hope one of them is from you!

Outside Lies: Saturday, April 1, 2017 @ 7:30 p.m., Ware Center

Dear Students:
One of the reasons I love to study movement so much is because we use body language to communicate what there are no words for.  I know that by teaching people how to enhance their movement repertoire I am ultimately helping them express themselves more clearly & completely.

This year you don’t want to miss Netco Modern Dance company’s performance, Outside Lies.  Artistic director, Jen Berlet’s choreography will demonstrate that she needs no words to deliver herScreen shot 2017-02-22 at 10.23.38 AM potent messages!  As she tackles very serious subjects, her dances may leave you sitting with the hairs standing up on your arms and chills running up and down your spine. That’s what happens to me every time I watch the dances during practice sessions.

To lighten the mood of the show Cindy Nehr’s quirky dance may bring a smile to your face at the moment most needed in the show. It becomes evident when watching her choreography that she has an ear like no other!  Sometimes it seems difficult for me to distinguish if she uses the dancers to accentuate the musical score or the other way around.  This playful dance is precisely timed and has made me become a better listener. 

I am going to explain the process I take myself through after every dance rehearsal so all of you can apply it to what ever you want to be able to do in your life.  As you will see the process I go through is exactly what we do in Feldenkrais® classes.

Screen shot 2017-02-22 at 10.40.46 AMThis is my second season dancing with Netco and I am challenged every time I dance with them.  Since most of what happens during rehearsals is new for me I have to practice often on my own.  When I get discouraged I remind myself, that when learning something new it must first be done slowly before it can be done quickly.  As I study the rehearsal videos at home I am only able to teach myself the choreography after I recognize what all the dance steps are.  Then I slowly do the movements over & over until I can do them faster.  When I can imagine myself dancing all the steps, I know I am one step away from successfully dancing it with the troupe.

“No matter how closely we look, it is difficult to find a mental act that can take place without the support of some physical function.”
-Moshe Feldenkrais

I am grateful to have been taken under the wing of this dance company so I can grow as a person.  I am also greatly appreciative to Moshe Feldenkrais because without the knowledge he bestowed upon us I would be a spectator in the stands for this upcoming show.  I can’t encourage you enough to keep coming regularly to Feldenkrais® classes, workshops & private sessions because in time you can learn how to discover your dreams and before you know it, creatively expressing them!

P.S.  To schedule a Functional Integration® session for yourself or your child call me at 717.285.0399.


Growing Healthier & Wiser

Dear Students:
When I hear people say, “I’m getting old and can’t do that anymore”, it always makes me want to have a conversation with them.  I want to explain that in most cases it is not age that brings pain, rather it is an accumulation of a habitual & unhealthy way of moving that is the culprit.

When a person carries out a harmful movement pattern for too long the body’s complaints are warnings of the damage that is occurring.  People often ignore these cranky alarms until years of repeating a bad habit results in their neurological system screaming Screen shot 2017-01-30 at 12.50.27 PMout in pain!  Extreme pain will literally stop individuals in their tracks.  This situation can be considered negative because typical functioning becomes impossible.  But looking at it on the bright side it forces one to become aware and creates an opportunity for a big change to take place.

Let’s compare a harmful movement pattern to dripping water on a rock.  After only one year of continuous drops hitting a rock, it’s change may be difficult to detect.  But in 25 years the structure of the rock will alter so much that anyone could see it.  As soon as a person recognizes “dripping water” in some form of dis-ease he/she can act before crucial damage is done.  Fortunately through the Feldenkrais Method®, students can learn how to become aware of their habits and improve the quality of their movement & overall well being.

With that said, standing is one of the hardest things we do as human beings and many are unaware of how they do it.  In my next workshop, Increasing Your Wingspan, learn how to mindfully transform your standing.

Discover through classes, workshops & private sessions that growing healthier & wiser is only an exploration away!

My Wish for 2017

Happy New Year Students:
My wish for 2017 is that greater amounts of people find the Feldenkrais Method® and learn how to become more gentle, tolerant & kind with themselves.  I believe a world full of self-aware students will create peace & harmony on Earth.  

“The 0001knpresent is the time in which we live, and what we do with our present selves is the most important thing.  For the past is carried into the future through our present selves; what we do now is the most important factor for tomorrow.” ~Moshe Feldenkrais

My next workshop, Increasing Your Wingspan:  A Standing Workshop , is on Saturday, February 25.  Sign up early to reserve your space.  My Feldenkrais® class will resume regular schedule on Jan. 10th.  I hope to see you there.

Holiday Peace To All

Dear Students:
I find that whenever I am feeling anxious if I get down on the floor and gently explore movements it takes me to a different place inside myself.  I encourage you to make time to explore Feldenkrais movements on your own during this season.  My video page may give you some ideas.

p1030266“(Donna) You are brilliant in your delivery of the cues that change our bodies and minds. I loved the challenge of today’s (class) session. It was so clear & so confusing at the same time. You know, it is the care with which you offer your gifts that makes them have the power they do.  I treasure you. Thank you for being true. Fearlessly true.” ~Maureen

“I could barely walk for four days because I had sciatic nerve pain so badly.  I turned down the conventional method of steroids and rest and went to see Donna.  Incredibly after seeing her for only one week  (of private sessions) I was able to return to work!”
~Kevin F. Tretter,  U.P.S. Package & Delivery Driver

Please take note that my Feldenkrais class will take a 2 week break beginning the last week of December.

Have a safe and peaceful holiday season!

Compulsively Saying “Yes” Leads to Strained Relationships

Dear Students:
I have decided to address the compulsive behavior of saying “yes” to everyone, since the holidays are fast approaching.  Dr. Feldenkrais describes this type of behavior as being “compulsively kind”.  It is easy to become blind to the fact that compulsive kindness creates strained relationships and is harmful to one’s health.

“The best intentions when enacted compulsively yield opposite results.” ~Moshe Feldenkrais, The Potent Self

Genuinely saying “yes” to others is a good behavior.  It turns into 0001oba problem when a person says “yes”, to avoid the anxiety caused by the mere thought of saying “no”.   If this person actually said “no”, they would find their nervousness would settle more quickly compared to living with their own imagination.

Compulsively kind people ultimately end up spending most of their time doing for others thus collapsing at the end of each day.  They then have no energy for loved ones and become irritable and unreasonable at home. 

“Many people become “good”  not by learning to live in good neighborhood with others, but by being unable to do anything that requires standing up for themselves.  They cannot refuse anything asked from them, simply because they are afraid of other people.  Thus their goodness is compulsive, and they then immediately experience resentment of their own behavior.” ~Moshe Feldenkrais, The Potent Self

The inability to turn down requests leads to unhealthy ways of communicating.  This may look like not answering questions, avoiding people, ending relationships, telling lies, etc.  “No” is a polite answer because it allows an inquisitor to immediately make alternative plans and finishes business with him. 

Learning to answer people with sincere honesty is the best medicine for this type of compulsion.  The first 0001matime you may fumble, but as you practice you will become more graceful. Over time your relationships will flourish! 

I have included in the photo above a beautiful saying for you to contemplate.  What does “moving stillness” mean to you?  I suggest searching for it within yourself today and especially during this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S.  To schedule a Functional Integration® session with me for yourself or your child call me at 717.285.0399.

A Success Story: Israel, age 6

Dear Students:
I have been working with Israel periodically over the last two years.
Until now, I had never intensively worked with him because of his surgeries & some img_7495sicknesses. Recently, Israel’s labored breathing has been a major concern so I suggested that we do a series of sessions.

I explained that seeing Israel every once in awhile only allowed me to make him feel more comfortable but didn’t allow me to teach him to function better.  After some thought his parents called me and scheduled Functional Integration® lessons for three consecutive weeks for him.  I was excited to see how this learning opportunity would unfold for Israel who has had two hip surgeries and is diagnosed with cerebral palsy & torticollis.  Following is a short description showing his growth during that time.

Week 1: Since Israel would not allow me to touch his feet or legs I concentrated on rolling him from his back to each side with my hands initiating the motion through his rib basket.  I knew that this action would passively roll his legs as I moved him back and forth.  By the end of the week I was able to roll him from side to side easily and I could foresee that it would be possible to eventually roll him onto his belly.   I became very encouraged realizing that rolling from the supine position to prone is a very powerful way to soften the chest which will allow breathing and head turning to become easier.

Week 2:  My foresight came true early and I was able to roll Israel onto his front.  I was pleasantly surprised when he allowed me to touch & move his feet for the first time since I’ve met him.  He became relaxed like most people do when I move their feet. This gives me great hope for his future because since his surgery he
img_7499has not be able to bend his hips.  I understand that each tiny movement I do with each foot is duplicated in his hip.

By the end of this week, Israel learned another new motion and lifted his head while he was on his belly. The positive effects of this important developmental movement softened his hands and chest better than I have witnessed for him to date.

Week 3:  Israel learned to move his arm from underneath his chest on his own whenever I rolled him onto his front.  He became very comfortable lying on his belly making him doze off one session.  When I help him turn his ribs & pelvis he can now turn his head from his left to right side while being on his stomach.  His shoulder girdle is becoming more flexible from spending time moving on his front like this so his head lifting is becoming more efficient. He now invites me to touch his legs from his toes all the way to his hip joints. This will bring him new awareness that will change his self image.

What I enjoy most is watching Israel at the end of a session while he senses himself in supine. His facial expressions show signs of curiosity, wonder and surprise each time he discovers he can roll his head more freely. It must feel weightless after dealing with torticollis for so long.

All of these essential movements have given birth to other benefits and you can hear this in his Mother’s words:
“I have noticed so many changes in Israel in the last three weeks, even more controlled breathing.  I think the biggest and most important change is that he is more comfortable in his own body.  He is more relaxed and is smiling more.  His movements are more controlled and he has more of them.  Hescreen-shot-2016-09-30-at-3-29-17-pm is also more alert to his surroundings, including the people and animals around him. He is just so much more present.”  ~Danielle Newswanger 

If you would like support Israel and attend the Izzyman Golf Outing on Sunday, Oct. 9, click here.  To donate money towards Israel’s Feldenkrais® sessions you can make a check out to Israel Newswanger and mail it to my office.  Thanks for your support!

The Intelligent Act of Walking

Dear Students:
The intelligent act of walking is something most people don’t think about until it becomes a problem.  Luckily my next workshop, Walking Is Controlled Falling, will give you the opportunity to explore the intricate details of the act of efficient walking.

It is easy to develop into a habitual, non-thinking Walk2walker due to modern society. Walking in the material world doesn’t require a person to think, sense, feel & move in the same way that nature’s world requires.  Modern man’s environment hinders his growth while mother nature’s environment nurtures it.

Imagine a person hiking on rocky terrain looking down and texting on their phone.  I hope this image makes you laugh and realize that you can continue to learn and explore in many other ways!

“The opportunity to improve your posture occurs not when you are standing still, motionless in the center, but when activity is taking place, when you have a biological necessity to regenerate your skill for adjustability, and you find equilibrium in all other positions which take you away from the perfect center.” ~Ruthy Alon, Feldenkrais Trainer

I hope this inspires you to challenge yourself and explore your world through a different perspective!

P.S.  To schedule a Functional Integration® session with me for yourself or your child call me at 717.285.0399.


Turning 9 Seconds Into A Reality

Dear Students:
In this video a woman learns through the Feldenkrais Method® to improve standing on her left leg up to 9 seconds at a time!  In what ways do you think this changed her life?

After ankle surgery  when I learned how to stand more clearly on my left leg my whole life changed!  
Walking to the grocery store changed from a chore to a stroll; washing the dishes became a daily task instead of a dreaded chore; and dancing with my heart and soul turned into a reality!
What activities would you be doing if you learned to stand more efficiently on one or both of your legs?

If this is something you would like to learn then the workshop  Walking is Controlled Falling, on September 24, is for you!  To register call me at 717.285.0399 and receive the Early Bird price when you sign up before Sept. 17th!

Reminder:  There will be no Feldenkrais® classes during the first two weeks of August at the Susquehanna Dance Center!

P.S.  To schedule a Functional Integration® session with me for yourself or your child call me at 717.285.0399.


Make Every Day Feel Like a Vacation Day

Dear Students:
Over the years several students have observed that during a vacation their pain goes away and to their dismay it comes back when they return to their normal routine.  If you have noticed this in yourself I congratulate you on having good awareness.

Screen shot 2016-06-30 at 1.05.44 PMOften, people don’t remember “not feeling pain” because for many it is their first perception of body awareness.  Your brain will send you a pain signal to make you become conscious of your injured body part.  Pain is a warning sign telling you to move differently to protect your spinal cord.

Let’s take a look at my student, John.  On a fishing vacation his nagging shoulder pain vanished.  He even forgot that he had been dealing with it until he started packing to go home.  He described it as a “wake up call” when he boarded the plane the next morning with his pain in full force.

Screen shot 2016-07-01 at 1.37.54 PMAfter talking him through these events he came to realize that the night before his departure he started dreading his return to work.  When I asked John how he physically embodied “dread”, he couldn’t answer my question.  This combined with his belief that he had no control over his situation made him feel hopeless.  When I let him know that a great learning opportunity lay before him, his spirits lifted.

For homework, I gave him “awareness building questions” to ask himself during his day.  This taught him how to become aware of the different ways he moved according to his emotional & mental state of mind.  Through his curiosity and better awareness his chronic shoulder pain steadily diminished.

It won’t require any extra time in your day to search for awareness like John did with the questions he asked himself.  All you need to do is stay in the present moment during your exploration.  In the beginning you might only last for a little while but if you keep practicing your concentration will develop Screen shot 2016-07-01 at 4.52.39 PMbeyond your wildest dreams.

To start this awareness exploration, pick an activity that is relatively easy to do such as washing the dishes or mowing the lawn.  Witness yourself in action and don’t do any correcting or judging of yourself.  The awareness is all you need to change.

My favorite question to ask myself is “how do I do that?”   If I am sincerely curious I always discover something new about myself and become tickled with satisfaction.  This is the kind of satisfaction John learned how to attain!  Start right now and learn how to make every day feel like a vacation day!
P.S. To schedule a Functional Integration® session with me for yourself or your child call me at 717.285.0399.