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How I Got Into The Feldenkrais Method®

Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais Teaching

by Al Wadleigh, GCFP

Like most people, I came to the Method because I was in pain. Through most of my life, I had experienced a lot of anxiety. I was pretty happy until I got into school. Then life became rather confusing for me. I was dyslexic (and still am to some degree) and reading was very difficult. Recognizing the difference between a 'd' and 'b' was nearly impossible. It seemed easy for other kids around me but for me it was a nightmare. It wasn't until I was about 10 or 11 years old that I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Not that the diagnosis did anything for me except give a reason for my difficulties. People at the time didn't know how to work with it. I was bright - too bright for remedial classes but too dyslexic for regular classes. I didn't fit in.

I became more anxious. My social skills were impeded. I felt out of place, awkward, foolish.
All of these intense emotions showed up in my posture. My shoulders were rounded forward, my back hunched a little, my abdomen was tight from anxiety.

Even as I learned new skills - taking NLP training was very helpful in this regard - the deep patterns in my physiology I had learned growing up were still there. They started to take a toll on my upper back. In my mid-thirties, I started having severe back pain, back spasms and difficulty in breathing.

That is when I sought help from Jack Heggie, an internationally known Feldenkrais Practitioner and author in Boulder, Colorado. Over the course of about seven Functional Integration® (private lessons), things started to change. My posture changed, I could breathe, the back spasms stopped and I felt much more human. I remember after one lesson in particular getting in my truck and having to adjust the rear view mirrors and the seat - I never put them back after that.

How I decided to take the Feldenkrais Professional Training:

By 1997, through my audio publishing company, Genesis II Publishing, Inc., I had published several audio programs on Ericksonian Hypnosis, NLP and Living Metaphors. After working with Jack, I suggested that we put his work on audio. As a result, we created A Healthy Back, Total Body Golf, Running with the Whole Body and Total Body Vision.

In January of 2000, Jack was teaching a workshop for Feldenkrais Practitioners called "The Primary Forms of Functional Integration." He asked me to videotape the workshop for him, which I did. I was fascinated by what I saw and because there was an odd number of people, I got to participate a little bit too.

Jack taught several fundamental Functional Integration lessons. I could see that he was working with people's organizational patterns and teaching new ones. When I had received lessons myself, it seemed to be a bunch of random poking, pushing and pulling, but once I saw what Jack was doing, it was apparent to me that the lessons had a very coherent structure. Now, it made perfect sense to me.

That night I went home to my wife Sarah and said, "Let me try this Feldenkrais stuff with you!" So she let me. I moved her around as best I could remember of what I had learned and when she got up, she felt better. For the next month, I repeated what I had learned with my friends and family. Most everyone felt better when they got up. I was even more fascinated.

And then, it was like the universe organized around me to get me into a training. My wife said, "you have to go." My boss said, "take the time off you need." My parents said, "we will help you pay for it."

My Training in the Feldenkrais Method:

I decided on a training at Feldenkrais Resources in Berkeley, California. Elizabeth Beringer was my education director and core trainer. The training was four years, from January 2000 to October 2003 with a total of 800 hours of training. It was the best training I have ever taken in my entire life (and I had taken a lot of training, having been involved in the Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP fields for so many years).

I traveled to California from Colorado to attend the segments in the spring, summer and fall of each year. As it turned out, my best friend from Junior High School, who lived two miles from the Berkeley site invited me to stay at his house through the entire training.

The training was profound. It changed me in ways that nothing had before and in ways I hadn't known to expect. It touched something deep in my organization that neither NLP nor Hypnosis had come close to. Those deep patterns of anxiety from my early learning in life began to ease and change. I became taller, my shoulders wider, my voice stronger, my presence larger, my confidence grew and I became at ease with myself.

Even now, seven years past my graduation from the training I still reap the continued benefits of the Feldenkrais Method. My practice and study of the Method is on going and through that practice, I continue to learn and improve. I am today, the healthiest and the happiest I have been in my entire life.


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