Feldenkraisģ & Anat Baniel Methodsm
for children and adults
in Bellevue, WA

425-641-4779

  

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2017: A year of recovery

"In short, health is measured by the shock a person can take without
his usual way of life being compromised.
Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc.

 

What a year! After a winter filled with delight in trail running, building up to a glorious rainy-day trail race and running with participants from my Feldenkrais for runners class, I made the classic running mistake of increasing mileage too fast. Persistent foot pain inspired a deep-dive into understanding running form and foot anatomy, followed by a trip to the doctor for an x-ray, and diagnosis of a stress fracture in my heel bone. After spending the summer in a walking boot, I restarted dancing and skating, hobbies I'd neglected during my year of falling in love with running. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I began exploring transferring my inline skills to ice and set my sights on trying synchronized skating. Life felt like it was beginning to get back to "normal" and I was delighting in feeling my skills improve.

Then, while getting dressed and contemplating what to wear for ice skating, a vase jumped off my dresser, shattered my big toe, and changed those plans!

These have been my first broken bones, and I've never had to cope with an immobilized body part before. With foot 1 in a boot, I could still walk. I thought that was bad. With foot 2, I can't bear weight until mid-January at the earliest. And crutches take away the hands, as well as the feet, setting up some new challenges.

When we use the Feldenkrais Method to help people, the core principles that guide our work apply to emotions, as well as to physical challenges. With two similar injuries this year, I'm being more conscious of using these principles this time, which is helping keep anxiety and depression at bay. I'll let you know once the boot is off, but I'm expecting it to be a faster recovery from immobilization. Here are some of the principles:

The vase that changed my plans

  • Flexible goals: "Embrace all the unexpected steps, mis-steps, and re-routes. They are a rich source of valuable information for your brain to lead you to your goal." Anat Baniel, founder Anat Baniel Method
    If my goal is synchronized skating, and I can't stand or skate or dance, I need to find different ways to keep moving and building my self-organization and balance. I'm using this in two ways:

    • Immersing myself in new Feldenkrais lessons each day gives me a chance to imagine using my foot and toes, improve my breathing, balance and coordination, and most importantly reset my mood into calmness as my body lets go of unnecessary tension. This has also led me to put together some new workshops that I'm excited to share with you.

    • Finding ways to dance that I can do: Nia which encourages me to dance however I can: on the floor, in a chair, or on my scooter, and great dance workshops where I sit on the side, imagine dancing, and study how excellent teachers teach, and students learn.

  • "If you know what you're doing, you can do what you want."  Moshe Feldenkrais, DSc.
    I've thought about writing a blog for years, but this is the first time I've actually written a post. Writing it down makes me observe myself. There's a clear pattern to how I react to injury: denial, rage, depression, followed by "Ok, this is real, what can I do to stay sane, and what's the learning." Seeing this pattern opens the possibility that other responses are possible in any given moment. I have a choice in how I respond.

  • "How do you find support from the ground?" Jeff Haller, PhD, Feldenkrais Trainer
    On the physical side, learning how to find support from crutches, and improving my one-foot balance has helped me master getting around without touching one foot down. (Try getting up from the floor or even the toilet without letting any part of one foot touch the ground - not so easy!) On the emotional side, one of the first things I did was to hire someone to help me get done the things I can't do without use of my hands, and to say yes to offers of support from friends and family.

  • Constrict one part of the body to encourage other parts to participate in the movement.
    Even though it is an involuntary constriction, thinking about this principle shifts me from frustration to curiosity, a much happier place to be. And the constrictions on activities have given more time to other parts of life, like visiting with friends and family, returning to activities I can still do, and giving me more time for studying.

  • "Use variation to discover new possibilities." Anat Baniel, founder Anat Baniel Method
    I'm using a variety of assistive devices to get around, each of which is useful and uncomfortable in its own way. By alternating, I've expanded what I can do: crutches are great for stairs and curbs, the knee scooter is handy around the house and for errands, and the peg-leg crutch is good for dancing and pushing a grocery cart. The variation helps avoid the sore wrists and shoulders from crutches, knee pain from the knee scooter, and the occasional moments of terror when using the peg-leg crutch.

My husband used to end his email signature with the words "Accidental techie". This year I'm the "accidental recoverer". I think we're all always recovering from some shock to our nervous system or body, and I'm grateful that my profession provides such useful tools.

"What Iím after isnít flexible bodies, but flexible brains.
What Iím after is to restore each person to their human dignity
."

Moshe Feldenkrais, DSc.

 

 

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