This is Jane Ella; I'm a Guild Certified Feldenkrais(R) Practitioner in Saluda, North Carolina. I offer individual lessons, classes, and customized workshops.
My belief that each of us has an unknown and untapped potential is what led me to my previous vocation as a special education teacher in the public schools over thirty years ago. This principle still guides me.
This was my situation in 1986: Due to a severe congenital visual impairment, other people often thought I was staring at them or avoiding eye contact. That is because I didn't know that I wasn't making appropriate eye contact. Indeed I had never really experienced it. Because I could "see" I was unclear about how the way I saw things and situations differed from the way others saw them. This created painful experiences for me and confusing or exasperating experiences for those who met me.
Also I could not maintain good posture due to a structural spinal curvature and suffered migraines several times a week. My jaw popped every time I opened and closed my mouth! I joined choirs, but my voice was faint and it tired quickly. I was better at playing the flute, but had stopped because of stress to my fingers. There was nothing that could be done medically for any of this except take pain medication and go to talk therapy. When I tried running, yoga, even PT-prescribed exercises I would injure myself because of the complicated curvatures in my spine. Chiropractic adjustments and massage helped for a day or two, but then I'd "lose" the effect.
A new chapter in my life began in 1987. An accomplished Tai Kwon Do friend told me that his flexibility and performance had improved after he had taken a Feldenkrais lesson, and he thought it might help my back. He suggested that I contact Dianne Postnieks, a Feldenkrais practitioner not far away. I had run out of options, so I called. I remember saying to her, "I'd like to make an appointment to try 'Whatever It Is' that you do". (I hear that a lot now…).
After two FI lessons I realized that I needed to get all of "It" that I could, and that I wanted to share this work with others. I completed the Practitioner Training in 1991, then practiced after school and used the Method in the classroom as much as the school system would allow. The students loved it!
As of today my TMJ problem is completely gone and headaches are rare. I can hike all day. I know when to adapt strengthening exercises so that I benefit from them instead of injuring myself. My posture and alignment are improved. I'm playing the flute again, and have developed a singing voice. I retired from the public schools and we moved to the small mountain town of Saluda in 2016. I live with my True Love Henry Mitchell, a writer, and Simon, a German Shepherd Dog, our Best Buddy and spiritual guide.
Most important was an unexpected benefit: During the training I had many revelations about the way most people see and communicate using their eyes. This enables me to communicate more clearly with others. I am also more aware of when I am not seeing information that they are seeing. And I have taught my eyes to "behave" in a more friendly and calm way when I interact.
In 2009 I completed the Therapeutic Massage Certification Program at Greenville Technical College and practiced massage there for several years. The learning was immensely valuable for refining my sense of touch and it clarified for me the unique character of the Feldenkrais work. Massage is a beneficial practice; however it is necessary to understand the difference between the modes of massage therapy and somatic education practices such as the Feldenkrais Method. (Click here for a comparison).
The intention of the Feldenkrais Method is to empower you to choose and possibly change the ground rules you have accepted up to now. These changes will be freeing, and realistic too, because they will be grounded in authentic self-knowledge. You can find new options of "doing" that transform your self image: That is, your internal picture of who you are and what you believe you can or cannot do.
The labels we use to describe or diagnose people and situations may seem convenient, but they are often self-limiting. Under certain circumstances, anyone might seem "handicapped," or "disabled." Conversely, any one of us can be "intelligent," "talented," and "heroic" in the right context. Whatever your starting point - advanced or challenged - we all have infinite possibilities to improve.
Awareness Through Movement(R) workshops can be designed to fit the unique challenges of specific disciplines and groups of people.
Individual Functional Integration(R) lessons are scheduled by appointment.
The Feldendrais Guild website, www.feldenkrais.com, contains a wealth of information and resources about the Feldenkrais Method.
To contact me:
Jane Ella Matthews, M.Ed. GCFP
"What I'm after isn't flexible bodies but flexible brains. What I'm after is to restore each person to their human dignity." -Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais