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Harnessing Body and Mind at Ashley Rowe's Discover Ease in Movement

By S. Mathur

The Feldenkrais method, in its founder's words, is based on the idea that "thought, feeling, perception and movement are closely interrelated and influence each other." The goal is to "improve neuromuscular patterns, and enhance the brain and body's functioning," says Ashley Rowe, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Pracitioner®, Owner of Discover Ease in Movement. To this end, it uses gentle movement and directed awareness to improve physical functionality.

According to Rowe, the key to the method is that by "Cultivating self-curiosity and expanding on self-image, Feldenkrais allows you to increase your range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for easy, graceful and efficient movement." Discover Ease in Movement offers both public classes and private lessons.

Rowe has a background in ballet, the fine arts, and fitness. She explains that the Feldenkrais method is a form of Somatic Education, suitable for "recovering from injury or pain, or improving and expanding upon the movements you use in daily life." It can be useful for seniors who want to retain or regain their physical abilities, especially walking. It has helped people dealing with or recovering from problems connected to the central nervous system, and with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke.

It can be especially inspiring for musicians, actors and artists, helping them to build their abilities and free their creativity. The method works by building self awareness through movement. Rowe explains that the method creates sensory-motor information for the brain to process, prompting it to create new neural pathways leading to better posture and easier movement. Essentially, it gives body and mind work to do in partnership, expanding the capabilities of both.

The weekly Awareness Through Movement (ATM)® classes are open to the public. The private Functional Integration (FI)® sessions are designed to meet individual needs. Building on the relationship between movement and thought, the method creates greater mental awareness as well as physical improvements. In the Awareness Through Movement® lessons, the teacher verbally leads the class in a sequence of movements. These basic positions, like sitting or lying on the floor, standing or sitting in a chair, are accompanied by self awareness, involving thinking, sensing, moving, feeling, and imagining.

A lesson lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and leads to greater flexibility and coordination. Lessons can increase in complexity and there are hundreds of ATM lessons, for all levels of ability. More complex lessons are based on explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships.

Clients find that the method lives up to the promise of improved physical functionality and mental awareness. For many seniors and those recovering from injury or pain, it restores basic physical functions like walking and climbing up stairs.

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