I just returned home from the 2008 Feldenkrais Conference in Boulder, Colorado and had all my expectations met and more. I signed up for workshops that were to be new explorations for me and to find new ways to embody more Feldenkrais into my life outside of my work.
The week kicked off with our keynote speaker Dr. Joan Borysenko who is an internationally known speaker on spirituality, integrative medicine and the mind/body connection. She also has a doctorate in medical sciences from Harvard Medical School. To her surprise, she had not heard of the Feldenkrais Method before and when she had three sessions with a practitioner prior to coming to the conference she was surprised to see that she could lift her left shoulder without pain (as she demonstrated this at her podium). This is the same shoulder that had not responded to physical therapy and was awaiting surgery for a rotator cuff repair. Being a PT, it was not the first time I had witnessed this story. In her words, "How come I didn't know about you before, the world should know about you." She continued on to reference the Feldenkrais research that had shown how medical costs could be reduced with this modality and many other references revealing how this work is scientifically grounded and respected.
I spent another one of the evenings with the Feldenkrais Method and research. Jim Stephens, P.T.,PhD.,G.C.F.P. who led this meeting is co-chair of the Feldenkrais Educational Foundation of North America Research Committee and has a PhD in Neuroscience. There were excellent research papers given and it was well attended by many practitioners and physical therapists.
I was able to debut the Smartroller (a patented two sided foam roller) for the first time at a national conference and was pleased to see how well they were received and sold out in the first few days.Foam rollers were introduced to us by way of the Feldenkrais Method and the Smartroller is a foam roller tool that was invented to be used as a sensory motor learning tool for the public and professionals. The SR also works with one of the main ideas that are supported with Feldenkrais Method like the "No Pain, More Gain" rule and "More is not always Better". For more information you can reach me at: http://www.centurycitypt.com
The early classes I attended were Feldenkrais and bridging the worlds (the title of the conference) with sound and music. Starting with liberating the voice, how holding your instrument affects your performance and ending with Feldenkrais with music composition and improvisation. I was able to not only see changes in the postures and effort with professional musicians as they performed but I was amazed how much I could hear the changes in their musical performances. The final courses I attended were from some of the first teachers in the Feldenkrais Method with titles such as Making the Feldenkrais Method a Part of Our Daily Lives. This completed the week nicely.
I had heard that Boulder would be an incredible place, and even with the 90 degree heat, it was a place that I could easily imagine living in. I was able to not get into a car for the entire week and instead explored the area by foot and bicycle. My classes were on the University of Colorado and as I traveled on bike with my backpack, it took me back to similar days as a college student.I was able to meet with two dear friends as well as a dear Rabbi/Sage that so kindly made time for me. In all, the week was a truly transcending experience and when you have those times in your life, you come back excited to continue to explore more in this world.