Category Archives: Teaching

Many Pillows for Sound Sleep

Do you wake up frequently during the night? Or awaken in the morning with a stiff shoulder from sleeping on your side? For sound sleep, try multiple pillows.

Years ago, both the physical therapist and the Feldenkrais practitioner I was working with for shoulder spasms recommended that I sleep with more than one pillow. I tried it and discovered that I would frequently sleep through the night. I awakened more refreshed. I’ve also found that, when I travel and have just one pillow, it’s much harder to fall asleep. And I wake up feeling like I’ve been working all night—which, of course, I have. (Yes, towels can help in a pinch.)Sound sleep with many pillows

The idea is that you arrange your pillows so that your limbs and head are completely supported in whatever position you choose for sleeping. Restorative yoga is based on the same concept.

I have been asked about sleeping with one giant pillow. I’ve not tried that, because I prefer to place my pillows precisely.

I’ve also been asked by clients, what about my partner? I’m betting she or he will understand, if it means you sleep better. Who knows? They might follow your example.

Below are suggestions for how to deploy your pillows. Try them, and please let me know how it works for you.

Back Sleeping

  • a pillow under head so neck aligns with the rest of your spine (you might not need this—if you’re comfortable without a pillow, don’t use it)
  • a pillow under each forearm and hand, that is, one pillow for your left arm, one for your right
  • a long firm pillow supporting your knees

Side Sleeping

  • a pillow under your head so your neck aligns with the rest of your spine— it’s likely this will need to be higher than when you’re sleeping on your back
  • a thin pillow under your side, if you’re a woman, to keep pressure off your shoulder and hip (most men won’t need this, as their hips are more narrow)
  • a long, firm pillow between your knees
  • a tall, firm pillow supporting your top arm

Stomach Sleeping

  • If your head is turned to the side, try a pillow under the arm on that side


Free Feldenkrais Demo at MoveStudio Jan. 25

I’m offering a free Feldenkrais demo this Saturday, Jan. 25, in MoveStudio’s annual Open House. It’s an opportunity to sample various delicious modalities and excellent teachers.

I’m teaching a 20-minute chair lesson at 5:30. Please come: if you’re curious about the method, it’s the perfect time to try it. If you’re a regular, that’s also great, as I rarely teach chair Feldenkrais demo The focus will be on freeing your torso: shoulders, ribs, and pelvis.

The Open House runs from 3-6:30. There’ll be snacks plus give-aways. You could win a private Feldenkrais lesson with me! Other demos: Nia with the wonderful Jule Aguirre of Jule in the Lotus, bellydancing, barre and more. The whole schedule’s online.

Awareness Through Movement® South of LBJ

Do you work or live south of I-635? There are two Awareness Through Movement® series starting next week easy for you to reach. Choose the lunchtime series just south of downtown or the evening series near SMU.

Awareness Through Movement coming up at South Side on Lamar

Tsada Yoga is located in a beautiful loft on the 7th floor of SSOL.

Do you live or work close to downtown? Sign up for the four-class lunchtime series at Tsada Yoga, Nov. 7 through Dec. 5, noon to 1 pm. Note: we’ll skip Thanksgiving. Limit: 10. Tsada is in South Side on Lamar, close to The Cedars DART stop. Register on Tsada’s website.

Awareness Through Movement coming up in Snider Plaza

OmBalance is located on the 2nd floor of this building.

If the SMU area is more convenient, sign up for the four-class series at OmBalance in Snider Plaza. We’ll meet from 7 to 8 pm, Nov. 7 through Dec. 5, skipping Thanksgiving. Register via Brown Paper Tickets.


New Location: Private Feldenkrais® Lessons in Snider Plaza

Where OmBalance is housed. Come up to the 2nd floor to find my studio.

Where OmBalance is housed.

I’m delighted to announce that, effective Friday, September 20, I’ll be teaching Functional Integration®, the hands-on version of the Feldenkrais Method®, in a new location: OmBalance, a beautiful space in Snider Plaza, in the Park Cities. It’s on the 2nd floor, next to Serving Life Chiropractic; there’s a elevator.

Appointment Schedule

  • Tuesdays, 11 am- 5 pm
  • Fridays, 11 am- 8 pm

OmBalance was founded and is operated by Cheryl Johnson. It’s a collection of wellness services for those who seek a conscious life. Services include a variety of yoga classes to meet all Private Feldenkrais® Lessons in Snider Plazagenerational needs, specializing in classes for fertility, prenatal, partner and seniors. OmBalance also offers  childbirth education, doula service, nutrition and meditation. Cheryl has cultivated over a decade of holistic expertise working with her clients as a yoga instructor, certified childbirth educator and doula.

I’m looking forward to offering an Awareness Through Movement® series there this fall: stay tuned!

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2013 Feldenkrais Conference: Just a glimpse

I just spent five days soaking up new knowledge and sharing insights with dozens of other Feldenkrais® teachers, at the 2013 Feldenkrais Conference for teachers of the method.

Barbara Abramson explores working with Stacy Barrows on SmartRoller.

Barbara Abramson explores working with Stacy Barrows on a SmartRoller®. Barrows, both a physical therapist and a Feldenkrais practitioner, designed the SmartRoller.

Below is just a snippet of a workshop I took with master trainer Jeff Haller. Titled “Ground, Grounding, Grounded,” the workshop focused on stability and mobility. Dr. Haller is particularly interested in both how we begin movement and how, even as we move, we can stay free and available to change at any moment. Fascinating: I’ve come away with lots of ideas to explore, in both private lessons and group classes. (Yes, that is me demonstrating on the table!)

This is the first time I’ve attended our annual conference: I look forward to more.

How Movement Begins: Jeff Haller Workshop

Watch the Video

More About Functional Integration®: What to Expect in a Private Lesson

Example of Functional Integration.

Several times recently I’ve been asked, “is a private lesson like a group Feldenkrais class?”

Group classes—Awareness Through Movement® (ATM)—and what we call Functional Integration (FI), private lessons, are both based on the techniques Moshe Feldenkrais developed. The basis of both is learning about your physical self, becoming aware of how you move and expanding  movement choices.

In an ATM class, each student takes responsibility for personalizing the lesson. I lead you through the movement sequences, direct your attention, and sometimes offer other options for a movement. I choose the particular lesson with all the students in mind.

In contrast, in FI, you set the goal for each lesson, or the series of lessons we plan together. We spend an hour or so during each FI exploring your goal. I create a lesson based on how you are, at the time that we are working together, and what we discover. For example, you might arrive with the goal of holding yourself more erect as you stand and walk. As we explore your habitual way of moving, we might discover that your preference is to keep your pelvis still. So I spend time showing you, with gentle touch and sometimes with direction for movements you initiate, the difference between a fixed pelvis and a mobile one, and how that affects your posture—how the rest of you moves, or doesn’t.

Here’s an FI demo by one of my trainers, David Zemach-Bersin. Not exactly a private lesson! But you’ll get a better sense of what this one-on-one work is like.

The Feldenkrais Method In Action, with David Zemach-Bersin at the Feldenkrais Institute of New York

Watch the Video
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Please let me know if you’d like to discuss how a series of private lessons can benefit you. I currently offer FIs Tuesdays and Fridays. My rates are $65 for the first lesson, $50 for lessons following. After Labor Day, these increase to $75 and $60.

Drop-In Awareness Through Movement® Classes in July & August

Are you traveling this summer and not able to commit an Awareness Through Movement® series? Good news: you can drop in!

Thursdays in South Dallas

Near downtown at lunchtime? Come to the class at Tsada Yoga. Through August 22, we’ll explore a different kind of self-use each time.
Cost: $15 per class

   When: Thursdays, July 11-Aug. 22, noon-1 pm. Note: the week of Aug. 5, we’ll meet on Friday instead.Awareness Through Movement® at South Side on Lamar

   Where: Tsada Yoga, Loft 745, South Side on Lamar, 1409 S. Lamar St., Dallas 75215. Park in the lot on Bellevue, or take DART to Cedars station.

Tuesdays in North Dallas

We’ve got room for 2 drop-ins in the MoveStudio Tuesday evening class. Please join us if you can, at 6:30 pm. This series runs through August 20.Awareness Through Movement® at MoveStudio

   Cost: $20 per class

MoveStudio is in Far North Dallas, at the corner of Preston and Campbell roads.

Dallas Feldenkrais Events in May & June

I’ll be heading to Chicago at the end of the month for a week of advanced training. Lots going on before that here in Dallas, both north and south of 635.Southside sign

Happy Feldenkrais Week! It begins in the USA today, May 3. To kick off Dallas Feldenkrais festivities, here’s one of my favorite videos, Baby Liv Crawling.

How Change Happens

Several times in the last week, the subject of change has come up.

We all come to the Feldenkrais Method® because there’s something we want to change about ourselves.

Maybe it’s an ongoing problem—I had shoulder and neck spasms that wouldn’t go away.

Maybe it’s something about we want to improve. For example, I’m working with someone right now who’s training for a half-marathon. We’re focusing on efficient running.

Moshe Feldenkrais demonstrates.

Moshe Feldenkrais demonstrates.

Moshe Feldenkrais himself created the method because he injured his knee. He taught himself how to use it again, and then re-injured the same knee. And again taught himself to use his knee differently.

One of the things we’ll discover, if we commit to the Feldenkrais Method, either through private lessons (Functional Integration®), group classes (Awareness Through Movement®) or both: change happens in fits and starts. We learn, and then we assimilate that learning.

I remember a particular lesson with my Austin practitioner Allison, when I was having neck spasms. I sat up after the FI. She asked me, “What does your neck feel like?” I said, “I can’t feel my neck.” My head seemed to be floating effortlessly.

She said, “Remember what this feels like.

It was a delicious feeling. And it was comforting. My neck spasms returned a few days later. But now I knew what it felt like to be without them. I’d experienced the sensation. I knew that I could find that feeling again. I felt hopeful.

In the preface to Awareness Through Movement, Dr. Feldenkrais writes:

. . . the learning process is irregular and consists of steps. . . there will be downs as well as ups. . . . We must not become discouraged. . . if we find we have slipped back to the original condition at any time; these regressions will become rarer and return to the improved condition easier as the learning process continues.”

The good news: we can all change and improve the ease, grace and pleasure of our self-use, if we choose. We have more available to us than we are currently using. And the more we learn, the easier and more efficient the learning process becomes.

What are you waiting for?

What the Heck is Feldenkrais?

As many of you know, it can be hard to explain the Feldenkrais Method. It’s profoundly experiential, and, if you have just one lesson, it might not be the lesson which sparks your curiosity. Someone who recently took a workshop told me that he felt the movements weren’t well explained: he didn’t understand their purpose.

ATM class. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor. Copyright 2005.

ATM class. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor. Copyright 2005.

Awareness through Movement is a kind of self-exploration and learning new to many of us. Some are drawn to it immediately. Some respond over time. And some people find it annoying and slow.

Occasionally frustrating for people is the fact that I don’t generally demonstrate the movements. Because it’s not about how I do the movement, but about how you discover the movements for yourself.

I recently attended a health fair at Texas Women’s University where I had a chance to describe the method repeatedly. (Special thanks to Chré for inviting me—and what a gorgeous facility!) I said, with variations: “We all tend to move habitually. Feldenkrais helps us find movements options we forgot or perhaps never discovered. It expands our choices, and reduces wear and tear on our joints. It’s an excellent complement to physical therapy. Usually people in the USA discover the method after they’ve exhausted other possibilities, to alieve chronic pain, conditions like fibromyalgia, or recover from surgery.”

That explanation seemed to convey the purpose of the method; but I’d love info from those of you who swear by the method: does the explanation match your experience? How do you describe Feldenkrais when asked?

Thanks for any feedback you can give me.