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Testimonial from our London Introductory Workshop- by Janet Heath

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Leora Gaster – An Introduction to Mind Body Studies – the Work of Dr. Feldenkrais

8/9 March 2014

A Master Class in Clarity

 by Janet Heath

From the first “Please lie on your back...” to the final “Any questions?” I sensed we were all enthralled. The group was comprised of people with a wide range of experiences of the work of Dr. Feldenkrais; from reading a book about it to being teachers of several years standing. I was curious as to how “An Introduction….” could be constructed to enable us all to gain something valuable from a two-day workshop. Leora didn’t disappoint. Even the seasoned teachers were heard to say “Amazing!” and “Fantastic!” at the end, and when I spoke to someone who had no experience of Dr. Feldenkrais’ work she said she felt inspired to know and do more.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1776smaler.jpgSo what is it that makes Leora Gaster such an inspirational teacher? Together with her mother,

Mia Segal, she was my first introduction to Feldenkrais’ work and I remember then the clarity of her teaching and her very evident passion for the subject, which ensured a high level of

attention and interest from all participants. It’s as if she really wants you to “get it” and I know Leora

is dedicated to spreading what she calls “the work” around the globe so that everyone can benefit

from Moshe’s fantastic legacy.


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Becoming Tangible - "Berührbar"... How Mind Body Studies Can Offer a Helping Hand in Psychiatry and Mental Wellness

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Verena Wenger , a student in MBS Academy’s Advanced Seminars, applies her training as a Feldenkrais practitioner and her studies with MBS to her work with individuals with mental illnesses in a psychiatric clinic in Switzerland. In October 2013, while participating in the Advanced Seminar in Bad Toelz, she shared some of her experiences.

“My job is simply to give some support,” Verena explains. “I offer a space,” she later puts it, with what might appear at first simply to be her modesty. In the “space” that Verena provides, patients start to expand their sensitivity, developing a fuller sense of their bodies, themselves and their own wishes and goals. It soon becomes clear that Verena chooses her words not just out of modesty, but precision; she says of the interaction between a patient and a practitioner:


“You can’t find your blind spots completely on your own. That doesn’t generally work. And so you may need a hand, some impulse comes from the outside. But the clarity of becoming aware, of noticing what exactly you’re doing: that comes from oneself.


An Outside Perspective

After completing her training as a Feldenkrais practitioner, Verena found a position working within a psychiatric clinic, giving one-on-one sessions to the patients. The individuals she sees display a full spectrum of disorders and conditions, including depression, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder. While she has now had ample time to acquaint herself with different “diagnosis pictures”, Verena stresses, “I have – first of all – a person in front of me, and not a mentally ill person or a depressed person or a borderliner. This work is not about working with a diagnosis, but about the person in front of you, and seeing how that person changes. It isn’t even the same person you saw yesterday!”

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Advanced Seminars: Key Components to Success

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San Diego, CA - Jan 10-14, 2007

by Amie Slate (Sensible Moves, Los Angeles)

There were about 30 of us who met in a lovely old hotel in downtown San Diego for a 5 day workshop with Mia Segal this January. The weather was literally freezing but Mia and her daughter Leora created a warm, generous atmosphere that had us all learning and working well together. There was such a marked change in the sound of the room during our partnering time over the five days. In the first two days as we were searching for comprehension of what Mia was asking for, there was a lot of talking and noise. For the last three days, the sounds were completely different. There were great, rich silences punctuated with ahs, ooohs, and ah-ha's amid sprinklings of soft laughter.

How did we do that...

Because I knew I was going to write this report, I queried people during the five days and tried to get a feel for common experiences. One thing that I heard from a number of people has to do with Mia and Leora's ideas about knowing, authority and discovery.

They not only behaved, but taught us to behave with less arrogance, less authority and more ability to explore and discover. They showed us how to NOT know as well as how to find out. Leora repeated over and over that in her experience, Guild graduates have plenty of sensitivity (and lots of ideas) but we don't seem to know what to do with what we sense. She described her interest in separating content from form (with a reference to NLP), and in teaching us a form that could be applied to every situation. Interestingly, I think that's exactly what they did. They gave us a very simple, functional framework to apply to our sensing.

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