November 20, 2020
The Magazine By, For, and About Feldenkrais® Practitioners and Trainees
In Touch 
is a monthly e-newsletter about developing one's competence as a Feldenkrais® 
teacher. Issues will contain articles about teaching the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education, 
running your own business, and more.
In This Issue
From the Editors  

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
This month we find ourselves navigating gravity and orientation with heightened intentionality as the traditions of the holiday season are upon us. As we observe striking disparate realities in how society is functioning right now---for example, there are calls for more strict adherence to social distancing while we witness promotional grand openings and other public events still taking place--We can be thankful that we have tools for reversibility and finding center when life throws us a curve! 

This month's articles and resources provide the right balance between the familiar and the creative to inspire you and your practice. Through shared stories, metaphor and imagery our contributors recall students' journeys with classic Awareness Through Movement® lessons. Jean Elvin invites us into her student's balance exploration within sitting to standing (and back to sitting). MarySusan Chen offers advice about helping students learn to fall with confidence in the comfort of their own homes. And don't forget to scroll down to resources for some ATM® suggestions and a unique way to play with balance. 

Our best wishes to you for a peaceful and balanced rest of November!

--Lavinia, Mary and LeeAnn
The Sit to Stand Escalator

Photo by Maria Tenova on Unsplash
By Jean Elvin, MFA, GCFP

Sitting down or standing up from a chair - what could be a more common daily action? Unwittingly, many people have the erroneous internal image of standing straight up from the chair, without inclining their weight over their feet, omitting the sense of counter-balance between the hips, shoulders and head. 

Clients may be aware that they "want more strength in their thighs," or that they "need help getting up from the sofa," as my client Marshall did when he came to my office, years ago. Anyone with these issues can certainly use your help becoming more aware of their options and how to create ease in their transitional movements. 

In Marshall's case, he learned the material readily and was happy and grateful to be able to manage his tall frame getting up and down, without the somewhat risky burden to his shorter wife to pull him up from the sofa. 

It's gratifying and fun for a client to achieve 'breakthrough success' on an oft-used movement such as sitting to standing to sitting. It will also give your clients confidence in you and trust in what you offer them....

Jean Elvin has practiced the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education in the San Francisco, CA area since 1997. Since 2008, she has developed and taught several Feldenkrais® courses at City College of San Francisco where she currently teaches in the Physical Education and Dance Department.

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash
Falling With Purpose and Safety: Considerations when Teaching Up and Down from the Floor Lessons
by: Mary Susan Chen, PT, GCFP

Dominic attended Functional Integration® lessons to smooth out his violin playing. He had recently joined a trio and wanted to improve the quality of his performance. 

During a summer trip to Cape Cod, he and his family dined in an old train car converted into a restaurant. He protected his daughter as they descended the cast-iron staircase, worried that she might fall.

All of a sudden Dominic was the one who tumbled the whole length of the staircase. Everyone in the restaurant jumped out of their seats to help, ready to call the paramedics. Surprisingly, Dominic came right to his feet, brushed himself off, smiled and went about his evening. The other diners were shocked. Even Dominic looked for the bruises later that day...
Mary Susan Chen is a Physical Therapist and Feldenkrais® Practitioner in private practice in Oak Park & River Forest IL (Chicago's near western suburbs.) She teaches on Zoom and is ready to add more classes. Mary Susan has worked in pain management, pelvic Physical Therapy, private practice, neuro-rehab. She also teaches tai chi and meditation. .  

Resources: Recommendations, Play, and Research!

We asked Ellen Solloway to share her thoughts and lesson recommendations on balance. Take a look at the delightful list below. 

Ellen writes:    
"Recommending AY lessons concerned with balance depends on how a person thinks about the term 'balance'. One type of balance pertains to an equal distribution of weight over two feet.  This is considering balance in a purely physical sense.   A different type of balance implies a mental steadiness or emotional stability.  (This concept is implied in Dr. Feldenkrais's definition of  health - the ability to recover from shock.)"

Here is a short list of AY lessons reflecting either aspects of the term "Balance"

AY 175 & AY 176 Heels in circles parts 1 and 2
AY 48 And from here to the frog stand /// AY 117 Frog movements with the leg and back. /// AY 142 The Frog /// Esalen Impossible toad
AY 63. Knee hiding the foot
AY 83 Clock - the abdominal muscles
AY 234 Standing backward
AY 6 Head around the circumference part 1
AY 65 Weigh head in the circumference.
AY 26 Pearls and Eyes - or - any functional eye lesson that improves the ability to focus a person's vision.
AY 126 The mouth and head cavity
AY 179 - Breathing (To weld by breathing)
AY 180 Breathing rhythmically #1 + the entire series
SF Training Year 1 Day 3 afternoon session (Read the interspersed lecture)

A Unique Way to Play with Balance

LeeAnn Starovasnik shares a strategy she uses with her students: 

Remember as a child pretending you were on a balance beam or high wire act as you walked along a curb, parking barrier or log? It was fun, even though some adults may have cautioned you to "Be careful!" They may have imagined themselves falling if they had tried to follow your lead. I wonder when balancing became a "to do" versus a "ta-da!"?

One way I invite my students to return to playing with their balance is by constructing an appropriate level of challenge via a simple obstacle course created from items in my office along a wall. I first invite them to observe their sense of balance in standing, noticing how their weight is distributed. They then start with using a hand on the wall to support themselves. Try it for yourself at home in a hallway. Decide the level of complexity based on your current condition(s), comfort and awareness. Even using six well spaced items can delight the senses and provide a benefit from the stimulation to seek balance in a novel way. Once students have completed the exploration I invite them to once again notice their stance: Has the sensation of balance in standing changed? 

Look for items of different height, texture and give - foam, yoga blocks, styrofoam rollers of

The photo depicts one such set up with a variety of items collected and sequenced from simpler to more complex. I place them on a yoga mat or non-slide runner, and with the option to have one foot on the floor at any time to reduce the challenge to your nervous system.
 different density/size, ½ rounds are a personal favorite. Initially, I recommend positioning them in a hallway where you have the option of a hand on the wall(s) to support your balance.  Gradually you may impress yourself and go to the "no hands!" version.  Be sure to assess your sense in standing before and after to compare and sense the "ta-da!"

Take care to be safe in order to have more fun playing with balance again!

Check out the Research

Have Something to Say?
Guild Publications Schedule and One Change

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash
After today, In Touch, will be published quarterly. The next In Touch will arrive in your inbox on January 22 with our issue about Mentoring within the Feldenkrais® Community. 

Recent Zoom Cafes for new graduates and trainees resulted in discussions about mentoring. What does it mean to have a mentor? What are some considerations to keep in mind when looking for a mentor? 

January In Touch: Thoughts about Mentoring
 *Publication date is January 22. 
If you would like to contribute by sharing a story, advice, or reflections about your own mentor or mentee experiences, contact usat by December 1 with your ideas.
January SenseAbility: Getting Organized to Start the Year
Audience: Public subscribers 
*Publication date is January 8; Deadline for submissions: January 1

Reminder: SenseAbility is for public subscribers and is published on the first Friday of each month. The deadline for an article submission is the Friday before publication date
Articles are a maximum of 1,500 words in length. 
Multi-media submissions are welcome. Contact us to discuss the topic and length.

Guild News is the monthly newsletter with news for members. It includes announcements from FGNA as well as FGNA sponsored events. It is published on the second Friday of each month. Watch your inbox for the December issue to learn about the Guild election results and more!

Renewal Reminder

Remember renew your membership by clicking here

The benefits of membership range from conference discounts, to service mark support to publications and PR materials. Don't miss out. Remember there is also a new member category for those who choose not to use FI® session: Certified Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Teacher(CM). 
Thanksgiving Hours 

Wednesday, Nov 25 - Closed at Noon
Thursday, Nov 26 - Closed
Friday, Nov 27 - Closed
Header image:  Zach Lezniewicz on Unsplash