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

Know someone interested in receiving this?  Forward to a Friend

 

 

 

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

Word of the day: Proprioception

Sometimes big words just make me smile. Take proprioception. Loosely translated, it means, knowing where you are in space.

In the late 90s, I tore a ligament in my right knee, the ACL. It happened in a self defense class; we were practicing being grabbed from behind by giant masked men in full body-armor, muttering disgusting things. Play-acting, but still pretty scary. When my turn came, the top 75% of me twisted, but my shoes were stuck in the gym mat, and …there went my knee. I told them I’d settle for bashing prospective attackers with my crutches.

In post-surgical physical therapy, my PT kept telling me not to limp. “I didn’t realize I was limping”, I whined. “With trauma we tend to lose proprioception”, she explained, and gave me some exercises to do.

Proprioception, from Webster’s: “Meaning “one’s own”, “individual”, and capio, capere, to take or grasp, is the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement.”

I did do the exercises, but simply repeating by them by rote didn’t seem to help me “grasp the relative position of neighboring parts”.  My brain/body map still seemed to have few dead-ends.  The limp was just part of how I moved. Over the next 10 years, this chronic uneven movement lead to increasing pain in my right hip and SI joint. I suffered a few more falls and injuries too. Figured I’d need hip replacement soon.

“When you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want.”
Moshe Feldenkrais

When I began doing Mind Body lessons I began to connect the dots, not only within my own nervous system, but in general: what was going on between movement, awareness, and learning: It was, and is, Inspiring. Easier, more comfortable movement is possible.

A new series of Optimal Movement for Balance Ease and Stability classes starts next Saturday, April 1st in Shoreline. No foolin’!  Find out more

 

January 2017 Newsletter

Happy New Year Friends,

I hope this finds you well and happy.  I’ve been quiet for quite some time…not because nothing has been going on, just that it can be tough to talk about something when you’re “in it”. So this is a brief Holiday Newsletter and update on what’s going on with The Spice of Life.

What a wild time for all of us!  For me, it’s been a period of intense introspection, integration and re-balancing.  In a nutshell, it’s been the transition from having my own home and working as a free-lance chef, to moving in with my mom to recover from injuries that left me unable to continue cooking for a living. I became mom’s full-time care-giver and tried to figure out what was next.
A major source of healing was my Mind Body Studies and Feldenkrais training, which eased me out of compulsive patterns, supported my structural recovery and made room for inner and outer transformation.  For several years now, I’ve been sharing this work in one-on-one lessons with clients, and in group classes.  I’m now living in Shoreline, and have group classes starting there soon.
With all the chaos we face in the world, I’m wishing us all a year of grounded faith and peace. My hope is that we can recognize and open to creative options both personally and globally. Let us stay focused and centered in our embodied selves; our hearts. When we know our own truth, from the inside out, we can act with integrity, empathy and grace.

Love,  Susan

We but mirror the world.  All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body.  If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change…”     Mahatma Gandhi

Optimal Movement for Balance, Ease and Stability

New session begins February 4 2017. 

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.

click here to learn more

To experience better balance, ease and stability…register through Shoreline Parks and Recreation: 

You can call them at (206) 801-2600 or register online:
 http://www.cityofshoreline.com/government/departments/parks-recreation-cultural-services/recreation-programs/recreation-guide

Know someone who would be interested in this?  Forward to a Friend