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Move with Ease + Grace

Review by Binny Goldman

Subject: We can all walk a little taller

Moshe Feldenkreis is quoted as saying:
“When you know what you are doing, then you can do what you want!”
How appropriate that some of us who recently spent two nights as part of the Passover seders sitting upright or reclining, as directed, were now taught how to sit upright properly.
On April 13, 2015, close to 50 people gathered at the Oakridge Senior’s Centre to attend an event jointly hosted by the Jewish Seniors’ Alliance and the Oakridge Seniors’ Centre to learn the mindful and helpful movements of Feldenkreis.

Alexandra Henriques, Manager of the Oakridge Seniors’ Centre graciously welcomed the audience and called upon JSA President, Marilyn Berger who told all how impressed she was by the surroundings, the newsletter put out by the Oakridge Seniors’ Centre and said she was definitely coming back to sample some of the lunches being offered by the Centre. Berger then acquainted us with the aims of the JSA, mentioning advocacy for the betterment of the quality of life for seniors and the Peer Counselling Courses being offered through the programs and participation.

Berger introduced Vita Kolodny, a nurse and movement educator, who then gently guided the audience through the mindful movements that could ease back pain after first ascertaining that almost all in the audience had suffered from back pain at one time.

We all sit so much during the day, doubling the stress placed on our back compared with when we stand. That is why we often prefer to stand when experiencing back pain.

Kolodny then led those gathered through the correct way of positioning our bodies and ways of strengthening our skeletal muscles. It is important to re-educate our brains to the new ways of sitting by repeating the movements we learned, slowly and with awareness of how our whole body participates, with a rest in-between the exercise.

A question was asked by Lou Segal – ‘if it was better to train one’s body to sit in the new and correct way, even while resting so it becomes our natural way of sitting’. The answer was ‘yes’.

Dr. Norman Doidge’s book ‘The Brain’s Way of Healing’ was recommended reading for more on neuroplasticity and the Feldenkrais method- (available at VPL library).

Some constructive and supportive suggestions made were:
Sit forward in a chair with feet flat on the floor. A pillow may be placed behind your back, Remember to maintain the arch in your back.
Sit on an armless chair, stool, or exercise ball- while maintaining good balance.

Gyda Chud, of the JSA thanked Vita Kolodny, using her penchant for alliteration, saying Vita was vital, vivacious and vibrant in her presentation, echoing the feelings of the audience, all of whom were visibly sitting upright, readily making the changes suggested by Kolodny.

Not only were our hearts smiling-as suggested in the theme, but our spines were as well.

Marilyn Berger, in thanking our gregarious Gyda Chud and our ever-incredible Karon Shear, reminded everyone of the JSA Spring Forum on April 26 2015 at the JCC – the theme of the event is “YOLO (You Only Live Once): How Full Is Your Cup?”
Discussions followed over dessert and hot drinks.



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