What we are learning
To get moving each term I introduce a new theme for class sessions to extend everyone’s range. This creates a context for what you are learning and where you can apply that in your everyday life. Lessons always cover a range of full body movement giving you opportunities to work on muscle tension, coordination, balance, flexibility, strength, range and ease of movement. By the last week of each term, everyone wants a sneaky peek at what we are learning next term.
Term One 2019
Brenda is taking a break from teaching classes in 2019. If you have a more urgent need or would like to book a private lesson, please contact Brenda directly
Term Four 2018
How much reaching do you do in a day?
Think about making a coffee. You reach to turn on the tap to fill the hot water jug, reach into the cupboard to get a mug, into the pantry for the coffee and then into the fridge for the milk. There’s lots of reaching just to make your coffee! Imagine how much you must do in a whole day?
Maybe you have arranged everything to be within ‘easy reach’. Is this because you don’t want to extend yourself – just playing safe? Or maybe your reach is limited – there’s a point at which you feel restriction or even pain. What would life be like for you if you could easily reach for anything you wanted? What activities would you be doing that you don’t do now? Maybe you do things but suffer later? It could be as mundane as pulling on socks or pulling weeds in the garden – or getting things down from those too high cupboards.
This term we will explore how our neck and shoulders, spine and rib-cage work together with the rest of us to enable easy reaching in all directions, and reaching for something new!
“Through awareness we can learn to move with astonishing lightness and freedom at any age and thereby improve our living circumstances, not only physically but emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.” Dr Moshe Feldenkrais.
Term Three 2018
How easy is it for you to thread a needle? Chances are – you need to put your glasses on first, and then there is the challenge of getting the thread through the eye of the needle.
The eyes are probably the most important and yet the least understood of our sensory organs. We all know we use our eyes to read – and reading a chart is the way we have our eyes tested to decide how good they are and if we need glasses. But reading is only a small part of what our eyes do for us.
For many of our actions, the eye is the initiator of the action. For example – catching or hitting a ball, walking through a room full of furniture without bumping anything, driving a car, and threading a needle! The body moves in response to visual cues. In fact, this function is so important that organising the body for motion could be considered the major function of the visual system – not reading. It then stands to reason, that If the use of our eyes is faulty, then this will affect the quality of all our movements.
This term will consist of lessons to explore and improve the health and function of the eyes in movement and in visual acuity. The area of the brain devoted to the processing of visual information is very large – so improvements here will diffuse throughout all the brain – improving posture, movement, memory and thinking.
Term Two 2018
How easily do you catch, kick or hit a ball, balance a cup of tea on its saucer while you are walking, or hammer a nail?
Coordination is the ability to use different parts of the body together smoothly and efficiently. Most people have been taught to think that stretching and/or strengthening their muscles is the way to improve their movement. However, this will not help you improve a skill. You need to be able to differentiate. Differentiation is a brain-body concept best explained by example: to touch type you must learn to differentiate the movements of your fingers from each other in specific ways. If you didn’t, your hands would move as if you were wearing a mitten.
The Feldenkrais Method® is concerned with natural movement. The virtue of natural movement is that it coordinates and affects all parts of the body system, not only the part involved in generating local movement. So, you must learn to differentiate all the different body parts in finer and finer detail to continue to improve and refine any skill.
Good coordination and body control is something that can easily be regained and improved through learning by differentiation. You might encounter a little mind and muscle confusion during the lesson – but the thinking, feeling, sensing and moving requires your brain to expand and grow. This is a good thing – and your confidence and well-being will expand and grow, too.
“As human beings, our greatness is not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves.” Mahatma Gandhi
Term One 2018
Walking is an essential activity. But even though we have been walking since we were about a year old, most of us don’t walk well, and are not even aware that we don’t walk well. A life time of inefficient movement habits will contribute to our fatigue, aches and pains.
Perhaps you find it unpleasant because your balance isn’t very good, or because walking makes your hips or knees ache or feel stiff, or you feel challenged when you must speed up, walk on uneven surfaces, walk up hills and steps, or walk distances. Perhaps it is your feet that hurt!
You may have been told by your doctor that you should be walking for 30 minutes daily to improve your overall health. It is true that walking comes with many benefits such as
- maintain a healthy weight
- prevent or manage various conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure and type two diabetes
- strengthen your bones and muscles
- improve your mood
- improve your balance and coordination
But if walking daily is something that you simply do not enjoy, or causes you pain, then it is difficult to stick to.
Come along this term and learn how to enjoy more fully one of life’s essential activities. Discover a more elegant and graceful walk. Find more spring in your step and youthful bounce in your walk.
“The aim is to move with minimum effort and maximum efficiency, not through muscular effort but increased awareness of how your body works.” Moshe Feldenkrais
Term Four 2017
This term we’re getting hip, but not like they did in the 70s!
Your hip joints are the key to easy and comfortable movement – but most of us don’t even have a real sense of where they are and what they can do for us.
- complain of having a stiff lower back and tight hips
- have noticed it is getting harder for you to get up and down – your legs don’t feel so strong anymore, or
- are already feeling a niggle and are concerned about your hip joints as you age, then let me show you how to prevent the need for a hip replacement.
This term, rediscover your hip joints and create a more integrated relationship between your hips, ankles and knees, for greater mobility and balance. Learn how to release the stiff muscles in your lower back, inner legs and hips.
Term Three 2017
This term I have chosen to take eight lessons from a five-day public workshop that the Master himself, Moshe Feldenkrais, taught in 1979. As Moshe stressed often in this workshop, you can always push yourself to the point of tearing your muscles to get where you think you ought to be. But only once. Then you pay in pain and discomfort later. On the other hand, if you treat yourself with the respect you deserve, the benefit to you in greater ease and ability, may be beyond your imagination and expectations.
Moshe had a favourite old Chinese saying which he liked to quote: I hear and forget. I see and remember. I do and understand. There is no learning in the Feldenkrais way without doing! So, come along and do the lessons, understand how your body was designed to function, and learn your way out of aches, pain and limiting habits and into comfort and ease. Have a better life.
Term Two 2017
Are you interested in looking, feeling and moving younger? Then look to having a healthy and functional spine.
The spine can become distorted by daily movement and postural habits such as hunching over a desk, or a mother carrying her child on her hip. Distortions are also produced by injuries dues to falls, whiplash, strains and prolonged or repetitive emotional stress.
Did you know that the spine factors in all movements of the body? It provides balance to the skeletal frame, absorbs jolts and shocks and allows us to move. As we bend and twist in an endless variety of ways, all parts of our spine need to move together. It is not unusual to discover that a part of our spine overworks, and another part doesn’t work at all. No wonder we feel stiff and experience back aches and pains! The spine also protects our spinal cord and nerves. We need our nerve pathways to be unimpeded by having a well aligned spine. And according to the yogis, a person’s age is determined by the flexibility of his or her spine.
So, join me this term to look, feel and move younger – and enjoy the health benefits of a more integrated and flexible spine!
Term One 2017
Term Four 2016
The People’s Choice
By popular demand, this term I will teach a smorgasbord of lessons based on requests and suggestions from current students. Their wish list includes lessons related to:
- Neck and shoulders
- Hips and knees
- Feet and toes
- Lower back problem
- Comfort in sitting
- Sitting to standing (spiralling)
- Plantar fasciitis / Achilles tendon issues
- Hands and wrists
This will be a very interesting variety, yet all connected by the understanding that we can improve how we feel, think, function and move by awareness through movement.
Come along for better movement, better life!
Term Three 2016
Eyes in Movement
How is your hand eye coordination? How well do you catch or hit a ball? Many activities in our daily life are affected by our ability to use our eyes to coordinate our movements.
This term will consist of eight lessons to improve the use of the eyes in movement – a very powerful way of improving the functioning of the whole nervous system. The area of the brain devoted to processing visual information is very large so improvements here will diffuse throughout all of the brain. Also, there are many direct functional connections between the muscles of the eyes and the state of contraction of other muscles in the body. The eye is the initiator of most of our actions, so if the use of the eyes is faulty, then this affects the quality of all our movements.
Come along this term. Improve your vision, and your posture, breathing, movement and thinking too.
Term Two 2016
Moshe Feldenkrais created hundreds of different Awareness through Movement® lessons and for the Winter term we will practise some of his more dynamic lessons that will get us moving, stay warm and have some fun too.
The combination of using our imagination and using exploratory movements to learn as we did when we were infants and children is extremely important in developing new habits and reversing the effects of aging. By using your body to solve puzzles in movement you not only learn the practical physical effects of an exercise or habitual movement but also create a new brain. You forge new interconnections and encourage the growth of new neurons. By learning a novel movement, you can break away more easily from old ingrained unhealthy painful habits and develop new ones.
This term you can learn how to
- reverse the signs of aging
- overcome aches and pains
- increase strength, flexibility and energy
- enhance mental clarity, concentration and creativity
- discover joy in movement
Class notes will help you to remember the movements so you can practice at home.
Term starts Monday 2 May. To book, see sessions for schedule, costs and location.
Term One 2016
Stress is everywhere and affects us all. While a little stress can be beneficial, too much stress can wear you down and make you mentally and physically unwell.
Recognising stress symptoms may be harder than you think. Most of us are so used to being stressed that we often don’t know we are stressed until we are at breaking point. If you are having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind, feel out of control, suffer headaches or muscle tension, have trouble sleeping, find it hard to focus or are forgetful and disorganised, then it is time to do something about it. Ongoing stress can cause or exacerbate serious health problems.
Stay healthy this term and engage in some self-care by taking time out each week to learn to “stress less”.
This term you will:
- Learn the first step in awareness – how to pay attention to your body’s sensations
- Experience a highly relaxed state of mind
- Relax tight muscles, relieve aches and pains
- Learn to take control of what you are doing
- Have a good night’s sleep
Class notes will help you to de-stress at home or work, relax before going to sleep or start your day feeling great.
Remember – there are no side effects but pleasure!
Term starts Monday 15 February. To book, see sessions for schedule, costs and location.
Term 4 2015
Weed out pain
You can’t avoid it. Spring is here and sooner or later you will have to get out there and do battle with the weeds. Are you itching to get your hands dirty or dreading lifting the barrow? If gardening leaves you with sore muscles, aches and pains, then come along this term we’re going to make gardening easier.
Bend, reach, lift, carry, pick, push and pull!
Typical gardening activities involve the use and coordination of the knees, hands, wrists, neck, shoulders and back. In eight weeks you’ll learn smarter ways to use your body that make gardening activities nearly effortless. Learn the best ways to weed, use a wheelbarrow, prune, dig, lift, shovel and relax after a great day in the garden.
Improve your body awareness, flexibility and strength, and don’t let old habits that cause your pain prevent you from enjoying this wonderful pass time. It truly is possible to feel great the day after gardening. Promise.
Term starts Monday 12 October. To book, see sessions for schedule, costs and location.
Term 3 2015
Got orthotics? How happy are your feet? Where do your shoes wear out? Can you be on your feet for long?
How you stand on your feet affects your posture and may be the reason you have discomfort not only in your feet, but your ankles, knees, hips, back, neck and shoulders too.
Jump into this term feet first and:
- Explore the relationship of your feet to the rest of you
- Improve your standing, walking and balance
- Regain strength, flexibility and coordination in your feet
- Enjoy learning & improving
- Invest in your future health and well-being
Come along and discover the spring in your step that will help all your movements feel light and easy. Term starts Monday 20 July. To book, see sessions for schedule, costs and location.