Ira Feinstein: Thanks for talking with me today, Juniper. I'm excited to learn more about your path to becoming a Feldenkrais Practitioner. How did you find out about the Feldenkrais Method?
Juniper Perlis: The first time I heard about the Feldenkrais Method, I was getting my master's in fine art, and a guest practitioner taught a class. I didn't enjoy it, and afterward, it left my mind. Fast-forward six years, and I was working as a nanny for two artists. One day, working in the studio, I spent hours peeling paint, when I got frustrated and moved in such a way that I dislocated a rib. I was instantly in excruciating pain. It changed the course of my life.
It didn't take long before the pain got worse. I had pain radiating into my hands, facial pain, and other weird symptoms that didn't seem related. I saw nerve doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, Reiki practitioners, pain management specialists, Alexander practitioners, everything under the sun....
Ira Feinstein: How did you find out about the Feldenkrais Method?
Maggy Burrowes: I was living in a small town on the south coast of the UK called Brighton. It's an adventurous, very forward-thinking little town. I'd been taking various classes at the natural health center for a long time when a Feldenkrais workshop was offered by Garet Newell, who had come to the UK with the intention of running a training and moved into the neighborhood. At the time, I'd never heard of Feldenkrais, but I thought, well, I'm just going to try it out.
I have hypermobility issues, and it is easy for me to injure myself when moving too enthusiastically. I'd been dealing with a long-running lower back issue that manifested mainly as intermittent sciatica. Whenever it came on, I would limp around for a week or so until it got better. As luck would have it, and I do think it was luck, I had an attack the night before the Feldenkrais workshop. So I limped in on that first day and...
Ira Feinstein: How did you meet Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais?
David Zemach-Bersin: In April of 1973, I was a senior at the University of California Berkeley, and I saw a flier on a telephone pole saying Moshe Feldenkrais was coming to town. I'd already heard of him because my psychotherapist had seen him work on somebody, was impressed, and had told me about it. I decided to register for his Berkeley workshop.
Ira: How serendipitous! What was the workshop like?
David: It was extraordinary! There were two workshops; one during the day that met for five weeks, and an evening class twice a week, open to the public. I went to one of the evening classes, which was very crowded. Probably 150 people were there. I was immediately hooked and began sneaking into the daytime class, limited to only about 30 participants studying in depth with Dr. Feldenkrais. He was in Berkeley for five weeks, and I managed to study with him most days during those five weeks.
I was stunned by the positive...
Ira Feinstein, MFA, recently spoke with Dwight Pargee, MS, about the Feldenkrais Method, Pilates, and the importance of core agility. Dwight is offering a free Discovering Core Ability & Agility class on April 13. We hope you'll join us.
Ira: How did you find out about the Feldenkrais Method?
Dwight: In 1989, I returned to the United States after playing international rugby in Australia for a couple of seasons, during which I got five concussions. I had post-concussion syndrome, though there wasn't even a word for it back then. I was trying everything I could to put myself back together, Tai Chi, yoga, and reflexology because I was a little blurry. I was existing outside myself in a strange way; people who've had concussions know what I'm talking about.
My background is in sports physiology. At the time, I was working at a physical therapy clinic. One of my wise mentor PTs said, "You should check out Feldenkrais. It might help." So, I...
On March 24-25, David Zemach-Bersin will teach an online ATM workshop "for Practitioners only" called The Roots of Uprightness: Your Inner Reptile. David looks forward to exploring the maturation of our anti-gravity function and the importance of the reciprocal relationship between the extensors of our back and our abdominal muscles for well-organized uprightness.
Below is an excerpt from the Q&A session after David's 2022 Advanced Training, First Things First, in which he talks about how these ideas apply to Functional Integration® lessons.
David: I am in Pennsylvania, USA, and Raz Ori joins me from Tel Aviv, Israel, and Anastasi Siotas from the Mediterranean island of Crete. I'm honored to have them join me so we can have an enriching dialogue between the three of us. Let's have the first question.
Raz: There is an interesting question regarding the workshop title, First Things First. You mentioned that it was inspired by virtual...
Ira Feinstein: How were you introduced to the Feldenkrais Method?
Raz Ori: I knew about the method from a very early age because my parents were ATM consumers. My most vivid memory of the Feldenkrais Method is from age twelve. I had back pain from a long car drive, and my mom told me, ""Okay, lie on your back."" She gave me one movement, and I can still recall the kinesthetic experience of feeling the relationships she was pointing me towards. It was mind-blowing in its simplicity.
Ira: How did you progress from that initial experience to becoming a practitioner?
Raz: When I was nineteen, I started seeing a Feldenkrais practitioner regularly to alleviate pain. After a few sessions, I realized I wanted to study the Feldenkrais Method in-depth. I began doing Awareness Through Movement lessons at home and read Dr. Feldenkrais' books. After a year of self-study, I joined a professional training at the age of twenty.
Ira: A bit of embarrassing self-disclosure here. I...
Ira Feinstein, Managing Director
When I was in my twenties, my favorite job was at a small nonprofit that gave me a sense of direction, a loving and supportive work environment, and a small paycheck. I could pay my bills and go out to eat now and again, but otherwise, I lived frugally. During that time, I found myself in pain—both physically and psychically—and I set out to find ways to alleviate both. I discovered— and found significant relief from—one-on-one Feldenkrais lessons, but the cost was prohibitive. Luckily, a friend of a friend offered to give me lessons for one-quarter of his regular price! It was still a lot of money for me, but I adjusted my budget just enough to make it work. The sessions became the highlight of any given week for almost two years. A decade-plus later, I’ve realized that even if I could’ve paid full price, there is no way I could truly quantify how profoundly those lessons changed me. To say that I might not...
Some of you may know that Zemach became part of my surname when my wife, Kaethe, and I joined our last names. Kaethe's grandfather, Benjamin Zemach, was a dancer, actor, and early member of the Habima Theater company in Russia and Poland. Benjamin and his wife, Elizabeth, lived in New York and California before immigrating to Israel in the 1970s. Benjamin knew Moshe Feldenkrais well; they often shared Friday-night dinners together, and Benjamin attended the weekly ATM class for performing artists that Moshe taught at Habima for many years.
Last week, Kaethe was going through some papers and found a letter from her grandmother, Elizabeth, in which she refers to receiving FI lessons from Moshe. She says, "My back is much better, and if I can get the knack of riding these buses without slipping more discs, I'll be sailing pretty. Feldenkrais is quite exceptional, but also like a child who has made a discovery...
Ira Feinstein: What brought you to the Feldenkrais Method®?
Paris Kern: I'm a singer and a guitar player, and in the late 80s, I was canceling concerts because I was in so much pain. I went down all the typical allopathic channels looking for a solution. After a while, I saw an osteopath, who was the first person who actually listened to what I was telling him about myself. He said, "Why don't you go to this massage therapist? She's really good." I went to the massage therapist. I would feel good for a few days and then return to square one. After a while, she said, "This person is doing a Feldenkrais® workshop. I think you'd probably like it." So, I went.
Ira: What was that first workshop like for you?
Paris: Finding the Feldenkrais Method was coming home for me. I was raised by a father who was a psychiatrist and an environmentalist mother, both of whom thought in systems. My father was instrumental in creating the concept of the Family System...