My name is Nadia Chavka and I`m a Feldenkrais practitioner and member of the UKFeldenkrais professional guild. I`m the founder of Movement between habit and choice™ and Feldenkrais with Nadia- two platforms that aim to make the principles of The Feldenkrais method © accessible to all and teach better sensing, better movement and better functioning.
I have strong inclination towards working with local communities and have clients from different backgrounds including children and adults with disabilities. It is always about real people and their individual process of discovering and finding alternatives to dysfunctional movement habits, that often are the base for discomfort, pain and dissatisfaction.
Now the big question?
Why the Feldenkrais method ©?
I have no interest in trying to convince you of the value of the Feldenkrais method by simply and bluntly comparing it to any other modality. Not because that can`t be done but more because that will not allow you to look at it out of the box of what you already know.
Instead, if you allow me, I will begin with one of my personal stories.
I grew up in a caring and happy family of academics. I remember from a very early age one of my mum`s statements about people. She could easily divide people in two distinctive groups. The first group were people “like us” who could never get to the top of the climbing frame on the children`s playground, simply because we were afraid or lacked the skill. We would stand at the bottom and admire other children`s skills and how they could pull themselves up, and jump, and hang head down. We could not possibly summersault, do cartwheels or splits.
“It is not in our nature to be physically expert and achieve much there”- she would say.
Later in life in my teens when I would walk without ever straightening my knees (like a very well-known female political figure here in the UK does) and also had the predisposition to round my back and lower my head, my mum would try to help by reminding me againand again to sit/stand straight and take smaller steps, so that my legs don`t look funny. My mother believed that we belong to a group of people who had to put constant, conscious effort in our physical performance in order to move in an eye pleasing way and that we were not the ones that will develop acrobatic or athletic skills.
On other hand she believed that our group is naturally better at grasping and working with concepts and acquiring anyacademic knowledge. This is the beginning of the story. It could have been a straight forward story if life has not proved it to be otherwise.
Acting on an early “diagnosis” of scoliosis and following the pediatrician’s advice my parents booked me into regular swimming classes. That led to years of training – I believe that at that moment I already had taken on the idea that I have to “apply myself a bit more” in order to succeed. So as a result I became and active swimmer and for couple of years I was the second best in my group age in the country.
At about same time a was still doing well at school which led to me being accepted as a high school student in best French school in Sofia. This is when something unexpected happened.
My mind did let me down. I had vague memories from the time when I was learning to read and write Bulgarian at the age of 4-5years old. I remember it took a few years first to figure out how to follow the letters in the correct order without using my index finger while reading, then how to write orderly words. It was in the time when I had to learn a new language when I had the realization that I`m not exactly like the others and I might be worse than them. I was never officially labeled as dyslectic (I don`think any of the students from my generation were). In this new situation the time was limited and I got into a real struggle in order to keep up with the requirements. I remember those unpleasant years and I lost a lot of my enjoyment I use to get from learning.
I began asking myself the question:
Is it possible that neither physical nore academic expertise come easily and naturally to me?
This question stayed with me for years through the years of university and became valid again and again every time I felt some physical pain like the returning back pain that kept me thinking that I`m too young to experience it and I must be doing something wrong.
What I have learnedfor sure was that that if I wanted better results, I needed a bit more effort than anybody else who is “natural”in that field.
And now I have the feeling that you been long enough focusing on my/someone else’s story. And I`m sure you are awaiting to get the taste of the revelation: Do you ecpect to be inspired or dissapointed with it?
How does this particular story relate to the Feldenkrais method© and it`s body-mind awareness movement classes?
This is my personal blueprint story of sensory distortion.Much like a story of a princess that fades away and no doctor in the kingdomis is able to find a cure. And like the princess, I did not need to be cured but I wished to find the answers for myself. I was piling together more and more elaborate facets giving away again and again the sense of ease and focusing on the struggle in my physical activities- working on strong core and ways to stretch my muscles and in my way of thinking that I have to be doing more to be a better student. I sacrificed the idea that it is possible to sense myself as
A whole natural human being bound together by the sense of ease and enjoyment.
Did I succeed?
I found a way to involve myself in a process that gets me out of that state of numbed existence.I did not expect it to be a process and I`m actually ecstatic that it is a process and not a one way street but about that some other time. This processes is staged as body-mind movements and guided awareness and it has number of intricate principles to play around with. The Feldenkrais lessons are movement-based lessons and have direct effect on our abilities to move better. They are indirectly improving our sensory skills and lead to better functioning without pain and strain. M. Feldenkrais called that process “living your avowed and un-avoweddreams”, Ruthy Alon, one of his inspiring students calls it “Mindful spontaneity” I call it “Movement between habit and Choice”.
How would you call it?
This is what Tim one of the amazing human beings I had the chance to work with said once:
“Recent Feldenkrais class got me thinking about movement in a different way.
I believe that this was a rare experience for me since the time of being a young child to consider and learn how to perform a new movement of the whole body- I felt it activated a pathway of learning that had laid dormant in me for avery long time.”
I hope I can guide you how to think about movement in a different way, as a psychosomatic function and help youre-discover the intelligence of your own body but to do that, I will need somemore time so we can explore some lessons together.