Mobilizing for Spring

Balance for Boomers Workshop Series begins Saturday, April 27th, For those who want to walk with more confidence, less pain. Learn more

Balance and Stability for Boomers

Spring is here! After the long winter, I long to get out for a walk… see the tulips, smell the cherry blossoms. I want to dig in the garden, spread mulch…get a jump on that shot-weed! You might want to take your grandkids to see the baby animals at the zoo.
 

But maybe walking is not that comfortable these days…(especially when you have to hurry to keep up with walking partners or chase kids). Maybe not that safe either. You’ve been falling and it  hurts…not only physically, but emotionally too. How embarrassing. You were always the capable one, the helpful one…when did you get so clumsy? 
 

Maybe you saw your mom’s health deteriorate as she got more and more sedentary. What a slippery slope. And she had YOU to take care of her…who do you have in the wings? And how long will they be there? I’ve been there. I realized I had to stop that trajectory now! But how?


I used to dance to stay fit, but every injury from every fall took me out for days, weeks, months, and I never got back to 100%.  What if every activity that lights you up and keeps you fit, makes you hurt  (if not immediately, then surely the next day). You might be used to working through pain, but now it’s just not worth it. And you’d like to stop popping pain pills.  
 

Physical Therapy helped right after the last fall, but then the insurance stopped covering it.  And you haven’t really gotten the old confidence back. It feels like you must watch every step you take, and this makes you wobblier then ever.
 

Maybe you try yoga or pilates to improve your balance, but always seem to over-do, and take forever to recover. You’re sick of being out of commission.
 

Working out at the gym…yeah, No. Painful and boring. It’s hard enough to do the things you want to do, much less the things you don’t. Still, you feel guilty and scared about not going, because you know it’s “move it or lose it”.  More and more it feels like you’re doomed to feel bad, in order to feel good. 
 

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  
 

What’s needed is a way to repair the nervous system, which got damaged and distorted when you got injured. Building muscle only goes so far to improve balance. In fact, Muscular holding patterns seriously interfere with balance and cause wear and tear on the joints, as well. This is why the more we fall, the more we TEND to fall…or sprain an ankle, or whatever your preferred repetitive injury.
 

But we can take advantage of neuroplasticity, the brain’s natural way of healing. Doing gentle movements, with focused awareness, creates new neuropathways…literally re-maps the brain for better function, balance and stability. It can be relaxing, easy…even blissful.  Many of my students think of these lessons as a moving meditation.
 

In 2009, I could no longer walk or work. My professional chef world came crashing down, and I had no idea what I would do to support myself. The Alexander Technique and The Feldenkrais Method got me back on my feet. To dancing, walking…Living. I received professional certification in Mind Body Studies, the work of Moshe Feldenkrais. My purpose now, is to help people regain stability and confidence, by releasing the patterns that block their natural balance and Flow.
 

I designed the Balance for Boomers specifically for women over 50 who struggle with balance and stability. They simply can’t do the “no pain/no gain” thing anymore…there’s already more than enough pain. They long to get back to doing what they love, keeps them fit and optimistic about their future.
 

I’m offering a series of 3 Balance for Boomers workshops this Spring: April 27th, May 18th, and June 15th. Each 3-hour class provides a safe environment to experiment with gravity without pain or fear of falling. To find out more, click here

Why Optimal Movement

Introduction to Optimal Movement: As we age, we may find ourselves dealing with stiff joints, a sore neck, an achey back or less stability than before. We may stop doing what we love, or rely on pain-killers more than we would like. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can tap into the brain’s natural way of healing to improve balance, stability and ease of movement. Regardless of your age or physical condition, more ease and comfort are possible. Learn more

3 Keys to better balance

For Boomer women who want to walk their walk with confidence, ease and safety.  Saturday, March 20, 2019 – Optimal Movement Basics 11am to 1pm Learn more

How Much is Enough?

I worked for many years as a free-lance chef, and it was, in many ways, a crucible for learning about “enough-ness”:

It was easy to fall into the habit of overdoing when there was work.  ‘Make hay while the sun shines”!  But I often felt overwhelmed… “just one more thing” would put me over the edge.  In fact, I actually fell and broke bones.  When I couldn’t do any more, that’s when I stopped.

When times were slow, could I rest, remembering that business ebbs and flows in cycles?  No.  After the initial rest and recovery, worry quickly replaced relief.   How would I know if I had enough?  Seemed like I should feel good.  Safe.  Secure.  Maybe if I worried enough, I’d figure it out.  Right.

I really loved cooking for people and having the freedom of self-employment…but this problem with enough-ness was seriously raining on my parade, and ruining my health.

Do enough, have enough, be enough.  How does one measure “enough”?   My own gauge was pain and limitation.  And I’m not the only one…our cultural maxim seems to be “no pain-no gain”.  Why are we afraid to stop?  And why do we always feel somehow, unsatisfied?

Life does not have to be so hard.

Pain and injuries were what lead me to Mind Body Studies. I learned that the more balanced and secure I felt in my body, the more safe and confident I felt in my mind.  It was an actual physical sensation which felt blissful and at the same time, energized.  As if I might actually be capable of handling what came next.

I learned that by backing off of the outer limit, I had better balance, stability… and leverage.  (Dancers and martial artists know this).  Being able to leverage power in the moment felt… the opposite of helpless.

Optimal Movement classes are a fun, empowering and relaxing way to escape the strain/pain cycle, into ease and enough-ness.

Two new Optimal Movement class series start this week: one on Thursday and one on Saturday.  Both are in Shoreline and  require pre-registration.  I’d love to see you on the floor at either or both classes!

What would you do if you weren’t afraid of falling/failing?

Approaching pleasure, Avoiding pain, that’s what we do naturally…what the nervous system does for us.

But what if you’re caught in a bind, and what you used to do for pleasure, causes pain?  Finding the new pleasure involves risk and fear: pain.  The mind creates confusion because it doesn’t know what to do and is afraid of doing the WRONG thing.  The wrong thing is what you must never do.  Fail and actually hurt yourself, or fail and be SEEN as a failure…either by others, or just yourself.  that’s painful too…but which scenario really threatens your survival?

What would you do, if you knew could could not fail???  Can you even allow yourself to think about it?

Winnie the Pooh coming downstairs

Here’s Edward Bear, coming down the stairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head.  there must be a better way to come down stairs, if only he could stop bumping his head long enough to think about it…”

A. A. Milne

Making changes…what has balance got to do with it?

comment by Helge:  watching husband and wife, shuffling.  very small steps, taken stiffly.  wife holding onto him, scary.  next time she saw he had a walking, so looked more stable.  but more dependent on outside support.  he got more support, but from the outside.  helge said she was so grateful to be doing this work which seemed tbe reversing this process of degeneration.  she trusted herself to go climbing around on slippery rocks at the beach with her grandkids.

She wasn’t missing out on the outing and the bonding because of fear of falling.  What would you do, if you didn’t worry so much about falling, or dealing with chronic joint pain?

Cherry-ness

Cherries… I have some sweet red ones, plump and round, just washed, water drops beading up on their dark shininess heaped up in the colander.

Imagine grabbing one in your mouth, pulling the stem with a pop, feeling the snap of the taught skin between your teeth. Sweet, meaty flesh on the tongue and juice filling the mouth. As you chew to release the pit, perhaps the slight flavor…(or is it a scent?) of bitter almond…

If you’ve ever eaten a cherry, maybe your mouth is watering now–and if so, it’s because you’ve had a previous direct experience of what those words describe.

But suppose you’d never eaten a cherry–do you think your reaction would be the same? Can a botanical definition of “cherries” convey actual “cherry-ness”? And (without looking at the label), what can one say about a cherry-flavored popsicle?

That’s why it’s so important to experience learning through your body, the way we do in Mind Body Studies–learning through the senses bridges the gap between experience and “thoughts about.”

Direct perception = pure awareness = essence.

In Optimal Movement classes we experience new ways to move with more ease and less effort. Sinking into the body and the senses this way (like a moving meditation, some students say), can be as delicious as tasting cherries.

Sound intriguing… even empowering? Remember–the experience is even better than the words that describe it!  Come try it with us!

A new class series starts this Thursday, August 3rd in Shoreline.  (If cherries are still in season, maybe we’ll have some!)

Current and Up-coming Group Classes

Thursdays:  11am – Noon
Optimal Movement, Feldenkrais-style
Dale Turner YMCA, Shoreline
Learn More
Saturday, September 16th 1:30-4pm
Live More Now
an afternoon workshop in Seattle

Stay tuned…more about this soon!

Saturdays, beginning September 23rd 
10:30 – 11:30 AM, in Shoreline
Optimal Movement for Balance, Ease and Stability
Registration opens August 22nd 
learn more

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July 2017 Newsletter

Hello All,

I hope you are enjoying these warm summer days as much as I am.  Sun in Seattle is so magical!

Today I was thinking about a client I’ve been working with for a couple of months. When we started, she was overwhelmed and prone to falling—and she was actually breaking bones. She couldn’t drive anymore because she was blacking out and her life was closing down. After one lesson, she had increased circulation in her body and face, and felt her whole self beginning to warm.

After our 5th lesson, the doctors told her she was okay to drive again. Her balance had improved so much that when she went out on a boat with her son, he was shocked to see that she was already aboard when he turned to help her get off the dock. At 77, her life is now opening up instead of closing down.

What makes it wonderful to work with a client like this is that she is so enthusiastic, interested and open-minded.

With people like that, I don’t have to prove anything so I don’t have to work so hard and the lesson unfolds between us with ease, precision and control–all qualities that increase when you use less power and force.

This ease allows for a “conversation between our nervous systems” and it becomes clear that I’m not “fixing” the other person.  My client feels more empowered in the lesson because there’s space for them to recognize what they are doing, and that’s the beginning of empowerment. Things stop being so mysterious because they can see that if they do something differently, something changes in them which makes a difference they can’t ignore.

If that sounds like the kind of change you’re ready for, I’d love to see you in class, or have a chat to explore what we could do together.

All the best to you,
Susan
206 588-5356
www.thespiceoflife.biz 
Current and Up-coming Group Classes

Thursdays:  11am – Noon
Optimal Movement, Feldenkrais-style
Dale Turner YMCA, Shoreline
Learn More
Saturday, September 16th 1:30-4pm
Live More Now
an afternoon workshop in Seattle

Stay tuned…more about this soon!

Saturdays, beginning September 23rd 
10:30 – 11:30 AM, in Shoreline
Optimal Movement for Balance, Ease and Stability
Registration opens August 22nd 
learn more

Know someone interested in receiving this?  Forward to a Friend