Connecting with the Vagal Nerve: Enliven Digestion & So Much More

Ready to learn simple techniques to help improve vagus nerve function? Join us for this two-day workshop with instructor Elinor Silverstein, GCFP.

Vagus nerve vector illustration. Labeled anatomical structure scheme and location diagram of human body longest nerve. Infographic with isolated ganglion, branches and plexus. Inner biological ANS.This long-branching nerve begins in the base of the brain. It travels all the way down to the bottom of your belly, touching and communicating with almost every organ on its way down.

Proper vagus nerve functioning is strongly implicated in physical wellness, emotional well-being, rest, and sleep. It’s essential for regulating your digestion and immune system, as well as controlling blood pressure and heart health functioning.

Did we talk about memory, short and long term? Yes, it is part of this, too.

WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 2020: 10 am-5 pm
Sunday, January 26: 10 am-4 pm

COST: Extra Early Bird $195 (thru Nov. 15);
Early Bird $225 (thru Dec. 1); Regular $275 (thru Jan. 2); Late $295 (after Jan. 2).
Register here on Brown Paper Tickets. Or send a check made out to “Dallas Feldenkrais” to: 3515 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas TX 75219.

WHO WILL BENEFIT?

This workshop is for:

  • Functional medicine and integrative medicine professionals
  • Feldenkrais practitioners
  • Osteopaths
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Massage therapists
  • Yoga therapists
  • Other somatic practitioners, including those who offer Structural Integration, Bowen technique, Body-Mind centering
  • Other interested health professionals who’d like to enrich their practice with these simple, potent techniques

WHAT TO EXPECT

You’ll engage in Feldenkrais Method® movement lessons and simple hands-on techniques. And you’ll learn the science behind it to teach you what you can do for yourself and to help your clients promote and sustain wellness.

Snacks included. Catered lunch optional.

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Head shot of Elinor Silverstein

Elinor Silverstein, GCFP

Elinor Silverstein, an internationally recognized Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner , holds degrees in Biology and Zoology. In addition, she integrates the sciences of nutrition and movement biology into her teaching of the Gut-Brain Connection and Vagus Nerve System Health. Elinor has over 35 years of experience using the Feldenkrais Method® to assist people with their healing process as they deal with serious nervous system disorders—both diagnosed and undiagnosed. She teaches her Gut-Brain, and Vagus Nerve connection programs to medical professionals, Feldenkrais practitioners, and the general public throughout the world, while maintaining a private practice in Orange County, California.

Presented by Dallas Feldenkrais/ Dallas Movement Lab in partnership with Westside Wellness Dallas and SimplyAware.

More about Back Pain: Crooked Author Interviewed

If you’re an adult, you likely have had back pain or you know someone who does. It’s a sad fact of contemporary life.

Students in a ballet class. Dancers may think back pain's inevitable, even when they're young. It's not!Even folks you’d think would be pain-free, like elite dancers and athletes, may be moving through it. Someone told me a couple of years ago that half the first-year students at one of the best US dance programs come to campus with back pain. And these students are professional caliber. Heartbreaking! And unnecessary.

We can talk for quite a while—and if you’ve been in one of my classes, you know I do!—about why back pain is endemic in our society.

Front cover of CROOKED: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry & Getting on the Road to RecoveryIn 2017, investigative reporter Cathryn Jacobson Ramin published a groundbreaking book on the “back pain industry”—a disgusting phrase if ever I heard one. Her own pain led her to look for help. She found a whole lot of stuff which doesn’t help, and can harm. And she found some modalities which do help: the Feldenkrais Method® is one. (If you’ve not read Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery, do! Aside from the great info, it’s a good read.)

It turns out that Cathryn has practiced Feldenkrais continuously since publishing Crooked. She was interviewed recently for the Feldenkrais website. She said: “I’ve sent countless people to Feldenkrais. I mean it is my ‘go-to,’ absolutely… it is a matter of gaining confidence that you can move and you will not die. And that is what Feldenkrais does: to actually tell your brain that you are in no imminent danger and things will improve.” Read the full interview here.

If you know someone living with back pain, share the interview with them. Or visit the Crooked website, which is chock-a-block with resources to help change their trajectory.

The takeaway: we don’t have to live in misery. We don’t have to suck it up, or push through, or grit our teeth. If we choose, we can move away from pain.

Lose Your Balance & Find It Again

What do you think of when you hear the word “balance?”

Do you immediately think— “I wish mine was better.”

Join the club!

It’s hard to stand on two legs. It takes us about a year to learn it, to build the muscles necessary.

Winged Victory of Samothrace: the wide base ensure it won't lose balance.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace

“. . . The human body is badly suited for standing. Statues of human figures have to be strongly connected to a heavy base to prevent them from toppling over at the slightest disturbance.”Moshe Feldenkrais, Body & Mature Behavior

Humans start with a disadvantage: we stand on two feet. We’re top heavy: our trunk and head are on top, and our base is tiny. In Body & Mature Behavior, Feldenkrais writes: “A Martian visitor would not hesitate to conclude that the human body is the closest to an ideal frame designed for movement and the least suited for standing motionless.”

Finding Balance

Little boy rides a bike. Lose balance and find it again.We humans are always seeking to be in balance. Whether in standing, so we don’t fall over. Or in dealing with a psychological challenge. What’s interesting: balance is inherently unstable. When we seem to be in balance we’re actually constantly moving, making tiny adjustments in response to our changing environment. We’re afraid to lose balance, yet we’re continually losing and finding it again. Just watch a baby learning to stand up! The only way to develop the ability to stand is to fall repeatedly.

Maybe losing our balance as grown-ups could be no big deal, too.

What are tools you can use to clarify your balance?

  • The ground
  • Your breath
  • Your skeleton
  • Your muscle system
  • Your awareness

Ready to Lose Balance?

Lose balance & find it again walking a slack line

The only way to walk a slack line: lose balance & find it again!

For six weeks, we’ll focus on using these tools. Finding balance, losing it, and finding it again. Join us! The series begin the week of Sept. 9. Find details here.

Learning vs. Doing

“… learning is very different from doing.”Moshe Feldenkrais, The Elusive Obvious

Angela smiling in Boulder with mountains in background.

Insane view of the Flatirons from this parking lot! Yes, this is after my spill.

I’m just back from Boulder. What a beautiful place!

I hiked, walked, and took an electric bike tour. The bike ride gave me a fabulous opportunity to do what I’d been learning with Feldenkrais®. Coming around a curve, I saw gravel on the path. No time to go around, knew I’d skid. Fell beautifully! I caught myself on four points: both hands and both knees. Yes, my left knee was skinned. But I broke my fall and my forehead hit only lightly. You bet I was wearing a helmet! (Note to self: when the guide offers to take your back pack, accept!)

How is learning different from doing?

How could I fall so well? I’ve spent hours learning. Going slowly. Pausing frequently. Allowing a gesture to unfold piece by piece. Failing repeatedly, in as many ways as I could think of. That’s what a Feldenkrais lesson is. So when the rubber met the road (or not, in this case), I was ready. I could shift from learning to doing without hesitation. “In life an act must be accomplished at the right speed, at the right moment, and with the right vigor.” (Moshe Feldenkrais, The Elusive Obvious)

I was able to enjoy the heck out of the Feldenkrais conference in spite of my spill.

A child holds her foot, lying on floor. Children naturally alternate between learning, doing, and resting.

Ready to discover how Feldenkrais can help you meet whatever life brings? Join us for weekly classes!

“For successful learning we must proceed at our own rate. Babies repeat each novel action clumsily at their own rate until they have enough of it. This occurs when the intention and its performance are executed so that they are just one act which feels like an intention only.” —The Elusive Obvious

Feldenkrais Classics

5 Lessons to put Awareness into Your Movement

Students doing a classic Feldenkrais lesson, lying on the floorReady to bring more of you home at the end of a busy day? Come to this series!

Moshe Feldenkrais created these lessons with beginners in mind. They’re the perfect introduction to making better use of yourself.

Experienced with Feldenkrais? Great! Use these lessons to go deeper.

Five Sundays, May 26-June 23. Taught by Russ Mitchell, MA.

$85 Early Bird (by May 12); $95 General.

Schedule Appointment

Move Your Shoulders Like Wheels

What’s Happening in May & June

The next Feldenkrais® series are just around the corner, and they’ll be shorter than usual: four and five weeks.

At the end of June, I’m going to the annual Feldenkrais conference for five days. Count on my coming back with a bunch of new ideas we’ll play with in class, as I’ll be training with my mentor Jeff Haller, as well as several other deeply experienced teachers. The theme this year is “Discover Ease: Finding What Already Exists.”

Interested? The conference has workshops open to the public. These include:

  • Your Vagal Nerve System, Why the Feldenkrais Method Is So Important, with Elinor Silverstein
  • Two Masters and One Nerd, with Moti Nativ, Jeff Haller, and Roger Russell
  • Jump Forever Rhymes with Young Forever, with Moti Nativ

Human skeleton dancing DAB, perform dabbing move gesture, posing on white background.The conference is in Boulder, CO, which has been on my bucket list for years, so I’m taking some additional time to explore and perhaps do a short retreat in July. Classes will likely begin again the second or third week of July.

The focus in my May and June classes will be shoulders, arms, and hands. Most of us have injured our shoulders, or dealt with Carpel Tunnel or another repetitive-motion issue. We all benefit from understanding more clearly how to mobilize this area. (How often do you find your shoulders up by your ears?)

More about Your Shoulder Girdle

“Nearly every bone in the trunk, from occiput to pelvis, furnishes surfaces for the attachments of muscles which are also attached to some portion of the shoulder apparatus. . .”—Mabel Elsworth Todd, The Thinking Body: A Study of the Balancing Forces of Dynamic Man.

Classic Awareness Through Movement lesson.Todd points out that our shoulder and arm muscles have a wheel-like distribution. She writes, “The muscle power must be applied so as to operate through as many arcs as the range and direction of movements require. This is accomplished by a wheel-like design whereby muscles attached through great distances over many surfaces of the skeletal framework converge about the shoulder joint. . . . It is this wheel-like arrangement of lines of muscle force through all planes which gives such enormous power to the arms and hands, not alone in doing heavy work. . . but also in the control of delicately centered movements of the hands and fingers.” (Ibid)

We’ll be rolling those wheels in June: register here.

Sunday Classes

Russ Mitchell, fresh from the latest segment of his Feldenkrais training, will teach five classic lessons on Sundays. You can bet I’ll be there! Register for his series here.

Saturday Classes

Do Saturday mornings work best for you? Consider coming to Patterns Lab, 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Prerequiste: at least one series of classes or package of private lessons with me, or previous experience with the Feldenkrais Method®. Please email me if you’re interested in joining.

Does Feldenkrais Help Grief?

I was asked a few days ago, “Is Feldenkrais helping you grieve?”

Hugh in his octopus hat at White Rock Lake

My husband Hugh Resnick at White Rock Lake. He’s been described as “wonderfully weird.”

It’s not a trivial question.

My first answer was, “I don’t know.” Sometimes it’s difficult for me to tease out what is Feldenkrais® and what is meditation and what is coming from other influences in my life. I’ve practiced both Feldenkrais and meditation since 1996, and it’s no accident. They complement/blend/inform each other.

After a few hours of reflection, my second answer emerged: yes. I’m relying on both Feldenkrais and meditation to find the ground repeatedly, wherever it is. If I start to feel anxious (which seems to go hand in hand with sadness in my case), I can at least find my breath. I’m especially drawing on those skills in driving, where, for whatever reason, it’s hardest for me to not interfere with my breath. The approach I’m taking: when I notice I’m breathing shallowly, I invite myself to simply notice. I don’t immediately try to change the pattern. Then I notice where my left foot is (thank you, Russ!), and usually, it’s in my habitual, not so useful position, where my support isn’t so clear. And I pay especial attention to my hands, arms, and shoulders. Quite often these days, I notice an extra-heaviness in my hands, a kind of collapse in my shoulders. So today I played with making my hands even heavier (which I really didn’t want to do) for several minutes, and then lighter. I reminded myself I have choices.

Angela and Hugh at White Rock Lake

Me and Hugh. Feeling so lucky & grateful!

So there’s my invitation to practice: grief isn’t a choice. I miss my husband, and I will go on missing him. But how I support myself in grieving is a choice. I can collapse, and I have. I can also feel it without collapse, and continue to do what needs to get done. (Even in typing this, I’ve played with heavy hands on the keyboard, and lightening them up. I can tell you which way my breath is easier.)

My third answer: yes! Teaching Feldenkrais is an enormous help right now. Every time I teach class or give a private lesson, I’m more energized at the end. Teaching connects me with the part of me which is strong, intelligent, and playful. I’m grateful beyond words to all of you who come to class and learn with me. Thank you!

_____________

Celebrating Hugh Resnick

Would you like to come to Hugh’s memorial? I’d love to have you. I’ve been inspired and delighted by the stories his family and friends have been sharing, reminded again of what a “wonderfully weird,” generous, intelligent, and just flat-out good man I was married to. They’ve been inspired as they shared, and I think you will be, too. Please join us if you can, Saturday, April 27, 4 pm, at the Center for Spiritual Living Dallas. RSVP here, just so we have enough refreshments.

Driving with Ease: ATM® Series

Love your life, but hate DFW’s on-ramps? Like meeting people, but hate driving to where they are? Would you like to get out of your car feeling looser and more relaxed than when you got into it?

By helping you deepen your understanding of how you organize your body, this class will show you how you can turn a daily chore most Metroplex drivers dread into something you can look forward to and leaves you feeling refreshed and “ready to do the thing.”
Limit 8. Room for 5 more as of 2/1.

6 Sundays, Feb 10-Mar 17, 2-3:30 pm.
Cost: $100. Register by Feb. 1, save $10: use code “EARLYBIRD”.

Taught by Russ Mitchell.

About Awareness Through Movement®

Awareness Through Movement (ATM®) classes help you be more comfortable and skillful in your physical self. You might choose to attend class to enhance performance, recover from injury, or improve balance or coordination. You’ll learn to organize your physical self to move with greater ease and effectiveness, improving co-ordination, range of motion, balance, and your ability to act with pleasure and comfort.

Who Is Russ?

Instructor Russ Mitchell guides a student.

Instructor Russ Mitchell guides a student.

He’s a former medievalist and life-long martial artist/instructor who’s intimately familiar with the pains that come both from long hours at a desk, and from high-intensity hours at the gym. He says, ‘I use the Feldenkrais Method® to help those with goals who are straining to achieve their goals, and for those whose goal is simply to achieve a life with less strain. It’s always easy to say “do more, add more to the pile,” but I focus on helping people discover how to do less, while still achieving their goals. If you’d like to “work easier,” but achieve more, I’m looking forward to meeting you.’ Russ’ Feldenkrais training includes studying with Frank Wildman and Dennis Leri. He’s currently enrolled in the revolutionary new Feldenkrais Training Academy, under the direction of Jeff Haller, PhD, GCFP.

Uncover Your Innate Strength: 6 Monthly Workshops

A human hand holds her own foot.

© International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive, Robert Golden.

Beginning January 12 and ending June 8, this will be a monthly three-hour workshop taught by Angela Alston, GCFP, MFA. The over-arching focus will be discovering your innate strength and, each month, we’ll investigate new possibilities. You’ll leave with tools—investigations you can do on your own between workshops. To deepen your learning, there’ll be opportunities for discussion between workshops: online video calls and/or a private Facebook group.

This is the kind of learning and self-study Angela was introduced to in an 18-month advanced training with Jeff Haller, PhD, GCFP. Her two-hour Saturday class has engaged in it for more than a year. Join us to dive deep into self-discovery. You’ll be astonished at the resources you find within yourself and among your fellow participants.

Come to all six workshops, or just one (if space permits).
Themes will include:
  • finding clear support,
  • reversibility,
  • balance, &
  • minimizing effort
Limit: 8. FULL.

DETAILS

When

6 Saturdays, 2:30-5:30 pm
Jan. 12, Feb. 2, Mar. 2, Apr. 13, May 11, June 8

Cost

  • By Dec. 15: $275 for all 6 workshops. Special offer: Includes one private lesson with Angela & one free workshop.
  • After Dec. 15: $275 for all 6 (one free workshop).
  • $55 per workshop, if space remains. Registration for single workshops opens in January.

Tai Chi Series with Bobby Garcia

Join us to learn the 13-step form of Chen-style Tai Chi. Class includes warmup exercises, practice and discussion of specific sequences, and partner work.
Limit: 15.Bobby Garcia leads Tai Chi class

6 Fridays, Jan. 4-Feb. 8, 11:30 am-12:30 pm. $105. Register here.

Instructor Bobby Garcia began his martial arts education 29 years ago and has been teaching for 11 years. A motorcycle accident left Bobby with limited mobility. Through Tai Chi, he found dramatic improvements in his strength and mobility.