Back in June, I was woken up out of a dead sleep with RANCHO LA PUERTA sounding in my head and the words written out in my mind’s eye. What the what? Write it down.
So I wrote down: Rancho La Puerta. And immediately went back to sleep. In the morning I googled it and turns out it’s a famous health spa that’s been around since the ’40’s – who knew?! So of course I booked to visit there in September for 4 nights.
One of the main draws of this health spa is the non-stop activities from 6:30 am – 7:00 pm; from cross-fit to pilates and everything in between. Perusing the list, my gut drew me to the Feldenkrais classes, offered twice a day. I booked into those, along with 1 private session with the instructor, Donna Wood.
My gut leading was interesting to me, because I had a series of 10 private Feldenkrais sessions (where the practitioner just worked on me) about 15 years ago and it was nice, but nothing remarkable.
However, as I experienced that week, the difference with the group sessions is the instructor gives the group verbal instructions only. She won’t demo anything, as the point is for you to explore and find it within your own body. And THAT is what I found so powerful; learning the dialogue and conversations between the different parts of my body.
Spending 45 minutes learning how to lift my hip using only a foot pressing lightly into the floor with a slight forward movement of the knee – virtually no effort at all. And voila, my shoulders are now lying flatter on the floor! And more importantly, STAYED that way for 2 weeks until I did 7 non-stop hours of manual labor out at my barn.
So I don’t know if it was Feldenkrais in the group session (vs private) that was so remarkable – or the instructor. Donna Wood is also a sculptor, black belt in Judo and Capoeira and dancer. So I suspect – like all therapies – that the practitioner plays a huge role in the experience/learning of this healing technique.
You can share the benefits!
Donna has SO generously provided 24 amazing Feldenkrais lessons you can practice at home – at no charge! I really encourage you to give this bodywork method a try and see what your body has to say about it. The brilliant thing about these Feldenkrais sessions from Donna is that you don’t need to have access to a computer – as they are audio-guided sessions.
As I mentioned, Donna will not demo anything for you – even in a live session. YOUR body has to explore and discover the movement that feels good, that feels easy, that feels delicious. So being guided by these audios is very similar to what you’d experience in a live class with Donna – you just can’t peek to see what the other people around you are doing! The other difference is that in a live session Donna will tailor the class to the people present. There are thousands of Feldenkrais lessons, so if Donna sees that your knee is in trouble (she is able to just scan people’s bodies and see where the difficulties are), and someone else’s neck is really stiff, then she will tailor the class to help those people. So if you’re in San Diego (or visiting), definitely contact her to join in some of her live classes!
I have grabbed the audio off each of her YouTube videos for you, so you can simply load them onto your mp3 player or iPod/iPhone and away you go. Here they are:
Donna Wood Feldenkrais – Lesson 1 – DOWNLOAD MP3
Donna Wood Feldenkrais – Lesson 2 – DOWNLOAD MP3
I would LOVE to hear from you, after you’ve done about 4-5 of these sessions and see if this bodywork is as transformative for you as it was for me.
I would also be interested to hear from people who’ve already attended Feldenkrais classes with a different instructor – and then tried 3 or 4 of these sessions with Donna. HOW much difference does the instructor make? It would be cool to share our experiences, so don’t be shy! Just post in the Comments section below.