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May, 2016

Walking in Boongala Native Gardens and Rainforest workshop
A special pop-up Feldenkrais event

Boongala Native Gardens and Rainforest is an 11 acre property located in Kenthurst, NSW. The property also includes a lush rainforest, which has been maturing for the last 25 years. When you visit Boongala you will discover a wide range of Australian plants, wildflowers and the birdlife they attract.

An enthusiastic group gathered on a bright, sunny April morning. Malcolm suggested a spot surrounded by native plants where there was sun and shade. Wattle and other native birds surrounded us, as they feasted on the blossoms around us. We did a simple Feldenkrais lesson related to walking.

At one stage I realised that the group was looking beyond me and the birds too were silent! Everyone was aware of three wedge tailed eagles circling above us! We watched spellbound until they soared away and then completed our lesson as the bird-life around us recovered its noisy presence. We then had a brief walk together to observe how we walked and how balance was improved.

Malcolm showed us some of the aromatic native plants growing in the garden, first pieces he had picked and then a wander around to see the plants in situ. We visited the native beehive thriving with a sunny, northerly aspect in an old tree.

Boongala Gardens Feldenkrais Event

The morning passed quickly and we all enjoyed listening as Malcolm generously shared his knowledge and stories. Thank you to Jenny and Mal for giving us the opportunity to enjoy your property and admire the wonderful setting you have created.

Check out Mal and Jenny's Facebook page

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February, 2016

At the end of last year, one of the long-time students at my Feldenkrais practice underwent surgery. She had attended class and had many individual sessions over several years. During this time she built up a toolbox which was available to ensure her recovery. Here, in her own words, is her story:

Bilateral total knee replacement and Feldenkrais

What I learned over the years in Feldenkrais class was of inestimable use throughout the whole knee replacement journey. I am very grateful for the techniques, but even more the mindset and attitudes I learnt and practiced. There is no doubt in my mind that my experience and recovery were significantly helped.

In the years leading up to surgery ... continue reading

January, 2016

As I start working this New Year, I am reminded how much I enjoy Feldenkrais! Meeting people who are new or returning to learn with me is a delight.

Those who have no experience of the Feldenkrais Method are unsure what they have let themselves in for to start with; but as the session progresses I can see the light in their eyes saying something like, 'Oh wow! This is interesting, I can feel it, this is going to help me live better.' Curiosity rises and they are amazed at themselves.

And for those returning, there are stories of how they used this or that idea to live their dream, or how they faced a period of difficulty and worked through it. Whether it is completing the bloodylongwalk, or the Camino, athlete coaching or facing necessary surgery and successfully managing the rehab - students are using what they have learned through their practice of Feldenkrais! At the end of year get-together, one woman said (I'm paraphrasing) 'I can’t believe I come and lie on your floor every week and get so much out of it!'

What I've been reading over the holidays

Many of the classes I teach are inspired by what I am reading, or draw what I am reading into focus and movement. Finding a movement lesson to embody an idea is something I learned from Moshe Feldenkrais himself!

Last term it was The Simple Act of Reading by Debra Adelaide, which I supported with Jane Pujji's collection of poems, Follow Yourself Home. Memories of feeling, movement and mood can be re-evoked by reading well-loved books and poetry. We revisited some of the feelings and movements I enjoyed as a child. Using a Feldenkrais movement lesson we can examine and recall the movements and postures that are our human heritage. The ability to remain light and the feeling that everything is possible; crawling, hopping, spinning in circles!

Then over the break I read Intelligence In the Flesh by Guy Claxton. Not everything Feldenkrais says has been supported by current research, but a huge amount of it has!

There is an endurance athlete in the family and so I check in on www.marksdailyapple.com and www.bengreefieldfitness.com every so often. They are very much about diet but also movement. The first rule now is 'slow down'! Sufficient rest and sleep are emphasised. Both are realising the value of knowledge of autonomic nervous system (you remember the old 'flight and fight' and 'rest and digest' systems) and integrating this into your life to support a well-toned vagal nerve. Do varied movements, do intense sprints and lift heavy things occasionally. Now for many of us the goal isn't a marathon, but the principles are applicable to us all.

And for something completely different, Where Song Began by Tim Low. Australia's native birds are very special. Over the last few decades there has been DNA research that has confirmed that Australia's birds are the ancestors of all the song birds in the northern hemisphere! What a wonderful natural world we have at our back doorstep!

And finally, I shook myself up by reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert! (Thanks, Mary). She written a great little book in honour of creativity, which has supported my resolve to keep on my own path, to reflect and stride on! So here we go into 2016.

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