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This past year, the MBS roster has included some healthy and happy, flexible-bodied and flexible-minded new mothers. Throughout the latter half of 2012, students in both the Foundation and Post-Graduate courses had the great opportunity to listen to new babies’ laughter and watch their exploratory movements right alongside the classes’ own investigations. In this two-part blog series, the new moms share their experiences of participating in the MBS program during their first-time pregnancies.
“You know, the first pregnancy is changing a lot in movement: the position of the pelvis and the lower back… to sit down, sit up, put on shoes.” For years, Ewa Ławreszuk has been developing her bodily awareness through her continuing study with MBS Academy and through her own practice as a Feldenkrais Method ® and Bones for Life ® Practitioner. During each stage of her pregnancy and now in motherhood, Ewa has been able to use the grounded, simple strategies she’s learned to respond to changing circumstances with flexibility and awareness. While many students who come to MBS are motivated by an accident or a decline in health to take a closer look at how they organize their bodies, as any pregnant mother can attest, drastic change can also be a natural, positive and quite useful part of human development – throughout life.
“I do not know how to write it to you in English” she modestly explains, having written professionally for years in her native Polish, “but that was something – that my body was wholly integrated in the movements and posture of the pregnancy.” One happy side effect of becoming so fully integrated, Ewa discovered that persistent pains and tensions disappeared, and didn’t come back. In June of 2012, five months pregnant, she spent three full weeks in Bad Toelz, attending both the Foundation and the Post-Graduate Seminars. “I had a pain in the lower back when I arrived that disappeared after two days and never came back.”
After giving birth, Ewa returned to attend the Post-Graduate training along with 3 ½-month-old Chantal. By then, new activities – regularly nursing and carrying her daughter – had provoked neck and shoulder pain. “I mean that was a real pain – sometimes I could not turn my head while lying,” she recalls. By the sixth day of the course, Ewa could turn her head “almost all the way around – as my neck and shoulders were free.”
Even beyond pain relief, Ewa describes her experience in holistic terms that underline the connection between mind and body. “I was relaxed, had no pain when I came back home. I was moving freely – like a flow.” While Ewa is no newcomer to the techniques of MBS, the new experience of pregnancy naturally triggered the concerns and protective responses of a new mother; she recounts of the early days, “I was scared to move freely, not to lose the pregnancy. Everything of course was okay, but as a first pregnancy, I was observing myself changing, how my body was changing.” Through the act of observation itself, as practiced in group lessons or in partner work, Ewa could transmute her fears into that relaxed sense of “flow.”
Listening to Ewa describe those three weeks of training during her pregnancy, it quickly becomes clear that the learning process wasn’t a dry technique toward pain relief, nor was it simply a therapeutic intervention. For one thing, she describes the whole experience as something she and her baby actively went through together:
“That was also a great time for me, as in Bad Toelz I was alone, and could think about my changing life – that it would change forever. I was alone – and with my baby inside me, talking to her and singing to her. When I was doing the movements, I was doing them with my child. Every time I made a movement, I was touching my belly to see how she was doing. And when there was the sentence, ‘And now lie on your back and rest,’ that was a great feeling! She was resting with me. Then there was something like knocking from inside of my belly, like she was ready for more.... I would recommend those three weeks for every pregnant woman, to go rolling with her child!”
When Ewa found Mia, Leora and the MBS program, she was already well on her way to completing a training program to become a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ®. She had received an invitation to teach the method within a university setting and was in the process of preparing her PhD thesis. As part of her doctoral research, Ewa began an investigation into the origins of the method,which quickly led her to Mia Segal. Soon enough, Ewa had enrolled not only in the MBS Post-Graduate Seminar, but decided also to join the Foundation Training.
What surprised her most about the MBS approach was “the way of teaching, the way of using words in giving the instructions, and the simplicity in giving a clue.” Comparing her studies at MBS with prior training, Ewa emphasizes the value she found in the partner work, learning to “follow the movement of the person.”
Another surprise came during the segment she attended while pregnant. Seeing that everyone would be lying on their bellies for a group lesson, Ewa supposed she’d have to sit that one out. “That took away all the fears,” she recounts, “as Leora came to me with two rollers, putting one under my chest and above my belly, and the other beneath my pelvis. Can you imagine, a pregnant woman – and for almost three weeks, rolling on rollers, belly toward the floor?” By the end of the lesson, she could freely roll from her belly to sitting up, “like a child who would like to check what is behind her.” Now, she reports that Chantal does something similar.
Recalling the journey, Ewa reflects, “I am grateful that I could be there. That was something for me, that I could feel in a movement, when I was doing it: Yes. I am in the right place in the right moment.” A glowing new mother, she adds, “I must say that my child now at eleven months is dancing!” Already while pregnant and attending the trainings, she felt the first stirrings: “I could touch another level of our contact, which was absolutely fabulous – to feel her in a ‘dancing way.’”
For more information about Ewa Ławreszuk’s practice in Złotoryja, Poland, you may visit her site at: http://www.metodafeldenkraisa.org/
Check back in a few weeks for Awareness through Pregnancy- Part Two!