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Students learning the Feldenkrais Method at the Jung Center

Image: Troy Fields

Connect Mind and Body at the Jung Center

“No stretching, no pushing, no trying.” That’s the refrain of instructor MaryBeth Smith as she leads a half dozen students through the Feldenkrais Method in a drafty room inside the Jung Center. Smith speaks in the soft, even tone of a masseuse, offering just enough instruction to keep me focused and mindful.

As we lie supine on surprisingly comfortable mats, the series of slow, deliberate movements required are so minor, so embarrassingly basic, that it seems impossible for them to have the intended effect on the body, posture or movement. Lean your bent leg to the side, roll your chin up, circle your arm below the elbow—it’s like the anti-yoga.

And yet at the end of each series, Smith directs us to return to lying flat and feel how the pattern of pressure of our bodies against the floor has changed. In my first class, I felt pressure at the base of my spine slowly dissipate. It was akin to discovering the absence of an unnoticed strain, like the palpable silence when an air-conditioner goes off.

“It feels different, but I don’t know why it feel different,” I told Smith as I paced the room at the end of class, feeling strangely light and aligned. “That’s all right,” Smith assured me. “No one does.” 

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