I discovered this work through my own search for relief from spondylolisthesis, causing chronic low back pain starting at age 16. At 20 years old I felt as if I were 80, waking up stiff, unable to run to catch a bus, and calculating how far I would need to carry a bag that day. Along the way I tried everything: physical therapy, acupuncture, stomach exercises, loads of ibuprofen ... nothing really helped. The only thing that gave me temporary relief was this strange thing called Feldenkrais that a physiatrist recommended. My journey eventually lead to spinal fusion surgery at age 23, which I am happy to talk with you about if you are considering it.
After the surgery I went to a weekend Feldenkrais workshop and the changes I felt were like a miracle. I remember feeling like the cartoon character, Gumby, a dramatic contrast to my usual stiffness. My shoulders felt flexible and fluid. It was the first time I actually felt improvement was possible and it inspires me to this day. As I continued I felt the softening of physical, emotional and cognitive habits that had formed over years of chronic pain. I felt lighter, stronger, and taller. I noticed my clothes fit tighter as my ribs began to actually move as I breath. I could feel my brain working differently. The world made more sense as I stepped out of the narrow focus of managing chronic pain.
In 2008 I graduated from my Feldenkrais training in Berkeley and moved to Portland to start my practice. I loved my training and studied worldwide with some of the top trainers, yet for a few years I struggled to effectively apply what I had learned with clients. In 2011 I attended a one day workshop with Anat Baniel and I was completely blown away. Her clarity was startling and I immediately enrolled in her training. The Anat Baniel Method is her brilliant evolution of Dr. Feldenkrais’ work. I completed her entire training and then continued as support staff. I organized four workshops for Anat in both Portland and San Rafael, and have been invited to work as a visiting practitioner at the ABM Center. And I participate in a mentoring group with Senior ABM practitioner, Sylvia Shordike. Currently, I am on the teaching staff as an Assistant in the current ABM training in Las Vegas.
My passion for this work comes from my own experience with its potency and capacity for transformation. I look forward to sharing this with you.
I have been going to Joanna for over a year. I have suffered from restricted movement in my hips and shoulders…within the first two sessions, my hip was moving again and my range of motion in my shoulders is the best in my life. She has taught me to sit and stand with out pain.
— SARA M.