Standing with Comfort & Strength

Dear Students:
Before surgery, standing was very hard for me because I had a chip in the weight bearing bone of my foot.  This made standing in place a dreadful experience because it caused me extreme leg pain.

NetcoWaitingIn general, standing stationary is one of the hardest things for a human body to do and with my pain it made it even more difficult.  Not knowing the true nature of my injury, I was perplexed whenever I did a standing Feldenkrais® lesson.  I had to rest frequently  during that time because my stance quickly made me feel faint.

After my surgery I began a Feldenkrais® journey and searched for lessons that helped me understand how to find skeletal support in standing.  I am happy to say that I no longer dread prolonged standing due to finding my organic frame.

I have included an appropriate photo of me “standing in line” from a recent performance with Netco Dance company.  Without Feldenkrais®, I would not be dancing with them.  This is why I am excited to share with you lessons I chose from my search in my next workshop, Standing with Skeletal Strength.  Register by June 4th to receive the early bird special.

I hope to see you there!

P.S.  If you would like to schedule a Functional Integration session with me for yourself or child call me at 717.285.0399.

Celebrate International Feldenkrais Week

Hi Students:
International Feldenkrais® week begins on Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’s observed birthday, May 6th and continues until May 15th.   To celebrate, I am offering my class to new Feldenkrais® students for $5 on Tuesday May 10th @ 11 a.m. and Thursday May 12th @ 5:45 p.m. at the Susquehanna Dance Center.  Bring a friend to class and let’s celebrate!

I am sharing a video so you can hear Dr. Feldenkrais describing the two parts of his method: Functional Integration® sessions and Awareness Through Movement® classes.  Maybe you will recall his words when you want to explain the method yourself.

If you would like to honor Dr. Feldenkrais during this week I suggest that you share with one person one way his method has changed your life and /or make or refresh a commitment to yourself to continue learning through the Feldenkrais Method®.

“Everyday I feel grateful for the method that Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais gave the world.  Because of the Feldenkrais Method® I have an ever increasing awareness that continuously opens capabilities for me that I never before dreamt possible.” ~Donna L. Bervinchak, Feldenkrais Practitioner

Have a wonderful and inspiring Feldenkrais® Week!


Suspended Perspectives

Hi Students:

The next workshop, Twisting & Turning:  For *Experienced Feldenkrais Students is coming up on Saturday, April 30, 2016.  

We will concentrate on Screen shot 2016-03-29 at 1.24.02 PMlearning how to connect the movements of the head and pelvis to each other one vertebra at a time.  Improving this connection is profoundly life changing for many people.  Listen to what Dr. Feldenkrais has to say about it:

“We found that the head and pelvis are so structured in the nervous system, that if the one doesn’t connect to the other, then your power cannot be used for your intentions.  
~Moshe Feldenkrais, (pg. 133 from The Master Moves)

*My definition of an “experienced student” is one who knows how to take care of themselves during a challenging lesson.  When movement becomes difficult for this type of student he knows to stop moving and to try again more gently.  He will explore moving a smaller amount; at a slower pace; imagine doing the movement; or take a rest until he can explore again using less power.  Call me if you are not sure that you can meet these requirements and we can have a conversation about it.


Netco Modern Dance Company Performance:  Suspended Perspectives
Sunday, April 10 @ 3 p.m. ; Ware Center, Lancaster, PA
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I have had the privilege to watch artistic directors & choreographers Jennifer Cowan-Berlet and Cynthia Nehr create the upcoming season’s dance peices from behind the scenes.

Both Jennifer and Cynthia are at the top of their games and have created meaningful dances that sometimes may make you stop and think and other times sit back and enjoy the beauty of dance.  

I will be dancing in the opening and closing pieces of the show.  I have had an enriching learning experience dancing within a professional company for the first time.  Much like what happens during Feldenkrais classes, I spilled all of my insecurities onto the dance floor as I learned to dance with the company and embody the choreography.  I have become illuminated from this exposure and am ready to leave my worries behind and dance on April 10th!  

I hope to see you there!


Put In a New Card: Re-learn Anything you Would Like

Dear Students:
My next workshop is coming up on April 30th entitled, Twisting & Turning, For Experienced Feldenkrais® Students.  Learn how to twist and turn the way you  always dreamed!  Contact me to register and to find out more!

Twisting2 “You can, at any time of your life, provided I can convince you that there is nothing permanent and compulsive in your system except your belief that it is so, re-learn anything that you would like.” ~Moshe Feldenkrais

The Quieting the Eyes, Quieting the Mind, workshop had a full turn out and many students reported experiencing wonderful changes. Re-learning through your eyes is very powerful as you will hear through some of the following comments:

“Your workshop really opened my eyes (no pun intended) to how important my eyes are and to focus on them just as much as I focus on the rest of my body.  Thanks!”  ~A.M.

“I feel that my shoulder movements and walking is so much better!” ~G.C.

My depth perception was wonderful and I am still noticing it.   Today I took my glasses off when I was driving and was pleasantly surprised when I could see distance!” ~S.H.

“It was amazing to me!  I was surprised that at my age I could learn new ways to move my eyes!  I felt that the structure of the workshop taught me how to concentrate more and more deeply throughout and afterwards.” ~W.K.

“The workshop was great and I have been sharing what I’ve learned with my fellow employees who have been experiencing eye issues as well as sharing with them other aspects of Feldenkrais®.”  ~A.M.

“I love how the Feldenkrais system always teaches me some amazing fact about my body. It was really fascinating to see how eyes are so pivotal to many functions that we would never think are related to them!  Donna’s gentle, compassionate approach really helps with getting the best out of the workshop!” ~A.B.

I slept again like a log last night and felt replenished but tired this morning.  As the day progressed I felt more energized and best of all I can feel the change in walking and everything else.  I am not in pain and my head seems to be staying in balance.” ~D.B.

“My upper back flexibility increased by inches!  Doing walkovers today feels like it did when I was a young gymnast!”~D.L.B.

“A human being is like a computer that is capable of thousands of things. But we put in a card that moshe2only lets it do one thing. Until you change the card, that is all the computer will do: that one thing, over and over and over. That is the state in which we function and we believe that no other cards exist, that this card is the one and only card that we can function upon. I say that the difference between human beings and machines is that we make the cards. So, when one card doesn’t work, take it out and put in a new card. ~Moshe Feldenkrais

Dr. Feldenkrais made it easy for all of us to learn how to “put in a new card” through Awareness Through Movement® classes & workshops, and during Functional Integration® sessions!  I hope to see you exploring with me soon!

I Can See Clearly Now

Dear Students:
I love exploring and teaching Feldenkrais® eye lessons because the changes for most people are so powerful that one could call them miraculous.  That is exactly how I felt after benefitting from them on my path to overcoming leg pain.

I had ankle surgery in 2001, due to an old gymnastics injury that became debilitating. Afterwards, I experienced the same leg pain that I had before the surgery.  Being a Feldenkrais® Practitioner, I wasn’t surprised Screen shot 2016-01-29 at 4.31.53 PMbecause I was moving with the same pre-surgery movement pattern and the trauma of the operation accentuated it.  Knowing this I was excited to engage upon the process of learning how to walk, dance and flip again without leg pain.  The most effective way I was able to do this was by gaining awareness about the habitual way I used my eyes and by slowly changing it.

I discovered that my dominant right eye didn’t allow me to stand fully on my left leg.  After learning to use my eyes more symmetrically I was able to stand in a way that didn’t cause me any discomfort.  When I discovered the behavioral & emotional components that coincided with my physical habit, I was able to establish more quickly an efficient way of standing and maintain it.  This was when I became able to do all that I wanted from hiking to ice skating.

Most of the time during this long and enriching process the way I used my eyes was elusive to me.   Gratefully, my curiosity; the belief in myself; and my faith in the wisdom behind the Feldenkrais Method®, kept pushing me forward.  Without these traits, I might have given up.

I think the Awareness Through Movement® lessons that focus on the movements of the eyes are brilliant!  Every day when I stand and walk without pain I thank Moshe Feldenkrais for giving us his knowledge in this attainable way.

David Webber was blind when he experienced his first Awareness Through Movement® lesson.   It was a life altering moment when he realized during that lesson that he could learn how to see again.

Screen shot 2016-01-30 at 9.07.21 AM

Following are his words:  “The Feldenkrais® lesson seemed to disarm my defenses.  The constant and surprising shifts of attention throughout the lesson, and the explicit search to notice differences, kept me interested, alert, and engaged in the process.  I was ripe for change.”  ~David Webber; (The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge, M.D., page 214)

David explains so completely why I never tire from learning through this method and why I am so excited to teach my next workshop, Quieting the Eyes, Quieting the Mind on Feb. 27th.  I believe after attending this workshop you may learn to see clearly the miraculous healing powers that lie behind your eyes!


Choose the Path that Leads to Intelligence

Happy New Year Students:
I  believe we create our present and future realities through our thoughts & imagination.  Gratefully the Feldenkrais Method® teaches us how to do this through thinking, sensing, feeling, & moving.

Every cell in your body responds to your self talk and to what you are capable of imagining.  When imagining a future situation, your brain will become focused on doing all that it takes to get you to that situation, whether it is positive or negative.  That isP1020502 why it is important to think about what you want to happen in your life and not about what you are afraid of happening.

Every day choices can help you to start changing your thinking to one that will create more intelligence and vibrant health.  The following questions are for you to ponder upon to help you make your choices with thought and awareness behind them.  Learning to think in a new way can be developed throughout your day with each decision you make.

This can be the beginning of more intelligence; peace of mind; vibrant health; and a future that you want for yourself! Choosing an intelligent path starts with a right thought that can lead to a positive action.

What way of thinking will make your movement or exercise experience more beneficial to your overall health?  I exercise because I:  a) am afraid of getting old;  b) feel good when I do it; c) want to be thin;  d) am compulsively in a habit  e) want to reach a higher level of consciousness;  f)  want to become healthy

Choose the surface that requires the ankles, knees & hips to move with more intelligence:  a) concrete;  b) treadmill; c) dirt path;  d) mountainous terrain

Which activity will allow your arms to become more intelligent:
a) computer typing;  b) braiding hair; c) crawling; d) drawing; e) climbing a tree

What kind of environment helps your lungs to function at a higher level:  a)  running at a fitness center; b) running in a city; c) running in a suburb development;  d) running in a forest

Which way of eating will give my body more nutritional value?  Eating:  a) at a restaurant; b)  a home cooked meal from my home grown garden; c) a home cooked organic meal; d) a frozen dinner

What activity will provide health to your ears and nervous system:  a) attending a heavy metal concert; b) sitting by a brook;  c) listening to classical music at home; d) watching television while working on the computer

Choose the activity that will help your vision improve:  a)  watching the sun set;  b) watching television;  c)  text messaging; d)  using WiFi;  e) gazing into the distance

What kind of self talk will allow you to accomplish your goals easier:  a) I was never as smart as others;  b) I am intelligent;  c) I am hopeless;  d) I have everything I need to figure this out;  e) I will learn from my mistakes

Is __________ beneficial to my well being if I don’t have the right thinking behind it?  a) yes;  b) no;  c) it depends upon the situation

Screen shot 2015-10-24 at 8.28.14 AM“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 have found throughout the years of exploring the Feldenkrais Method® that my body is an expression of my thoughts.   As I become aware of my thoughts I can then choose to change them to ones I like.

I hope these questions are the beginning of a wonderful imagined future for you & your loved ones!

Name the Former Pennsylvania Star

Happy Holidays:
Remember there will be no Feldenkrais classes on:  Dec. 22, 24, 29 & 31!  I will however be available by appointment for Functional Integration sessions at Improving Through Movement during that time.  To help you prepare for the new year, I  posted my workshop dates and times for 2016 so you can schedule them in your calendar. Click here to learn more.  

Name the person that Dr. Feldenkrais is working withDrJwithMoshe2015-10-24 at 8.13.30 AM in the picture to the right and  earn $20 off a Functional Integration session to be used this month (Dec. 2015).  This offer is available to the first five people that contact me with the correct answer!

This Feldenkrais student was a Philadelphia icon when Dr. Feldenkrais worked with him.
Can you tell me his name using only 3 letters?
Is it possible to improve your tennis stroke without picking up a tennis racket?
The answer is yes – it happened for me!  The last time I tried to hit a tennis ball against this wall I couldn’t return it and I didn’t have a back hand.

For over two decades I have not given one thought to tennis until I came upon this wall again from my P1020931childhood.  As if by magic when I hit the ball for the first time recently,  I was able to volley it back and forth for quite awhile including with a back hand! Now I look forward to playing tennis with this wall every time I visit it!

How is this improvement possible when I didn’t pick up a tennis racket for over 25 years?  The impossible became possible for me because I have been supporting my brain development through the Feldenkrais Method.  This is an explanation that not everyone will believe until they experience it themselves.   Another person studying this method may report that without trying they became a better artist or mathematician.  What have you become better at due to your brain development?  I would love to hear about it and share it with others.  Contact me with your story.

Have a wonderful holiday season and I hope to see you often in the New Year!


Learn How To Do Whatever You Desire

Dear Students:
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember that there will be no class on Thanksgiving day. For the remaining of 2015, I will teach upon request your favorite Awareness Through Movement class lesson, thus far.  Contact me and explain the lesson as best as you can and I will teach it once again! I look forward to Repeating your Favorite Lesson!

I am excited to share a sweet video with you to help you understand what I mean when I say things like, “move slowly; gently & become curious about how you do this movement.”  You will see a curious toddler teaching himself how to move up & down stairs in a more self pleasing way.  This little fellow demonstrates what I am always trying to invoke in you.  Take the time to watch this child show you how it is done!  I can’t come close to expressing what you will see captured on this film!   
[To view click here.]Screen shot 2015-10-30 at 1.04.44 PM

The next time you come to Feldenkrais class remember how this little guy’s attention became captivated with his learning. When you explore with curiosity like this you will be able to figure out how to do whatever you desire!

The way this child explores movement is what Moshe Feldenkrais studied when he watched babies. Instinctively he knew that he had to teach people of all ages and ability levels, this way of exploring movement in order for them to succeed.   Fortunately he was able to bring this philosophy to us through the Feldenkrais Method.  I am so grateful!

An Avowed Dream Coming True:
Screen shot 2015-11-02 at 9.11.17 AMI am proud to announce that I will be performing with Netco Modern Dance company for their upcoming season.  Becoming a member of a dance company has been a dream in the making for me.  As a teenager I was deathly afraid of stepping onto a dance floor yet I admired everyone dancing from the sidelines.  After years of doing Feldenkrais I realized that I could learn to do what I desired.   Now many dance classes later I will be dancing for the first time the amazing choreography of Jen Berlet’s at the Lancaster Country Day school on Nov. 21 & 22.  Click here to find out the details.

“Health is the ability to realize our avowed and unavowed dreams.” –Moshe Feldenkrais

I am grateful to all of you for supporting me and allowing me to make a living teaching what I love to do!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Am I Giving My Baby Enough Tummy Time?

Hi Students:
P1020825Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the people that sponsored me for Izzy’s 5K walk.  I raised over $300 for five year old, Israel Newswanger’s  alternative therapies.  Please keep sending him positive energy with your thoughts and prayers.
The photo to your right is another very determined Screen shot 2015-09-18 at 2.32.41 PMFeldenkrais student of mine. Tim is a 38 year old husband with three children. I am helping him relearn movement that he lost due to surgery on an aneurysm located near his brain stem.
If you would like to learn more about Tim or help support his Feldenkrais sessions click here to donate directly! Thank you for your support!

My latest video (below) will give you an idea of what a Child’Space session is like for parents and babies. 

“Am I giving my baby enough “tummy time”?”  This is a common question young Mothers are concerned about today so I decided to teach Marie, the difference between transitioning time vs. tummy time.
Please share this with any parents you think would like to learn how to support their baby’s brain development.  I greatly appreciate your help in getting the word out!


Efficient Movement = Magical Results

Dear Students:
A common request people ask me is: “ can you give me a movement that will help my (shoulder, back, leg) pain go away?”  The answer to this popular question follows with a video to help you understand my explanation.

Unfortunately there is no magic movement that will take your pain away.  It is how you organize yourself to do the movement that will cause pain or not.  Moving efficiently will allow you to magically shoot a basket ball into a net; climb a tree; ride a bike; flip; dance or walk  gracefully across the floor (without pain).

Following I use an example of shooting a basketball into a hoop (replace it with any movement you want).  One day a basketball player who’s shot is usually on target plays a game where his shot is off.
It is the same player and the same court so what has changed?  During this particular game the player organizes himself in such a slightly different manner that only a person with a trained eye could detect it. Listed are some reasons that could cause him to make minor yet consequential changes in his organization: playing a better team; a pre-game argument; wearing new sneakers; or favoring an injured leg; etc.

This is the reason why one day a particular Feldenkrais® movement takes your back pain away and weeks later the same movement doesn’t.  It is also why a new organization that allows you to walk without pain seems to suddenly disappear.  The good news is, the more you become aware of the way you move, the better you can move how you want.

Fortunately the Feldenkrais Method® has given us wonderful tools to use so you can constantly train your brain through Functional Integration® sessions and Awareness Through Movement® classes & workshops!

Included is a video that demonstrates what it takes to learn a new movement organization.  You will watch how a man learns to ride a bike differently than his habitual way of 20+ years!  His curiosity, determination, and belief in his abilities allowed him to accomplish this difficult task.  Without these traits he would have found many excuses not to practice 5 minutes every day in deep concentration.  This along with his playful way of not giving up when he made many mistakes was the key to his success.  Today he is able to ride a bike in an unusually new way, and he understands the remarkable way his brain works.

Watch him do this while using the following analogies to assist you to think in a Feldenkrais® way.

The regular bike riding movement pattern will Screen shot 2015-08-21 at 9.51.19 PMsymbolize a habitual movement pattern that doesn’t serve you any longer.  This pattern could turn into:  back pain; a knee injury; carpal tunnel syndrome; depression; attention deficit; etc.

Learning the backwards bike riding movement pattern will be like creating a new movement pattern.  This pattern may feel like:  pain relief; a supportive knee; restored feeling in the hands; uplifted emotions; a quieter mind; etc.

The little boy’s regular bike riding movement pattern will represent a young habitual movement pattern that doesn’t serve you any longer.

Learning to move in a way that doesn’t cause pain (or injury) is just like learning to ride a bike!  Remember this man’s delightful attitude and let it become contagious when you feel like giving up!