A few A.F.C students
There is a growing number of Feldenkrais students in Melbourne and Sydney today. Some of these students are professionals seeking enhancement in their work performance while some are athletes and musicians, even world class rollerbladers. Others have more general goals, such as to live better or to alleviate both mental and physical symptoms.
Here’s how some of the students from the A.F.C. have experienced Feldenkrais:
Kate Schiftan own interest in the method was a professional but also a very personal one. It all began with an interest in alternative therapy, as is often the case. “I had a professional interest as I was already a Shiatsu practitioner and I wanted to do something more the further my skills,” explains Schiftan, “but it was personal motivations that really drew me to the method. I had fertility problems. Quite serious ones. At the time I wasn’t sure exactly what Feldenkrais was but I’d heard it was a learning method that could improve functioning through education. I found the idea that I could actually learn to become healthy and fertile again intriguing.”
Schiftan explains how the Awareness through Movement (ATM) and Functional integration (FI) classes worked for her. “I primarily did F.I and by re-educating my nervous system through the small gentle movements that are the Feldenkrais method, I was able to use myself more efficiently and saw dramatic improvements in my professional life and personal health in a matter of months. And most importantly I achieved my dream of becoming a mother. I now have a six month old girl. I was as sceptical as the next person but I now devote my life to this work.”
Schiftan now works closely with Peter Binns who has been a teacher/practitioner for over fifteen years. Together they work to effect change in people’s lives using the method.
“I am a partner in a large law firm as well as a devoted mother, which is why Feldenkrais is great for me. This gives me the chance to lie on the carpet once a week and really take the time out to learn and grow in a stress-free space”.
A professional violinist and Suzuki teacher, Michelle was after a new way to improve her skills with her instrument. She had done all the technical training she could, but thought Feldenkrais might improve her overall performance.
“As a professional violinist it’s important to blend musicality and the physical side of playing an instrument. There’s a lot of subtlety of movement involved in violin. The process involves a very highly developed Central Nervous System. Also, with teaching kids, it’s important to train them to be comfortable while they are playing and to teach them a relaxed approach to music. I’m really into developing and training my body to make it really efficient and aware of these processes”.
“I heard that Ben Gurion and Moshe Dayan had done Feldenkrais, so I gave it a go. I’m not sure exactly how it works but learning it helped me when I was knocked for six a few years back.”
Dr PHIL OPAS qc. OBE.
Phil Opas, an older man, sought Feldenkrais to relieve his back and leg pains. Once an athlete and the QC who defended Ronald Ryan in the infamous Australian trial that saw the last man hanged in this country, Opas wanted to do what he could about the pains of old age. He saw Peter Binns for a number of FI lessons.
“Having played sport all my life, I played football and was a runner and so I was massaged sometimes four times a week … I was massaged by many, many people over the years. Later I went to chiropractors too.” Opas laughs at what he once endured. ” I was whacked, muscles were pulled apart.”
“What Peter was doing with me was touching me and putting his hands around me and what seemed to happen was that muscles that were tied up, which is part of my diabetic neuropathy, were relaxed. With Peter there was no ‘crunch’ as in chiropractic treatments, it didn’t feel like anything had been done to me but the muscles were being made to do something they couldn’t do when I came in and I don’t know how it happened. He just ran his hand over me, it brought relief in the most unobtrusive way”