Hello, I’m Maggy Burrowes, welcome to my website.
I am steadily expanding this website to become both an information hub for all aspects of The Feldenkrais Method® and an expanding resource for anyone interested in exploring continuing personal growth and maturing into their fully potent self.
Learning To Learn
Feldenkrais (fell-den-cry-s) is all about increasing our awareness of self, expanding our capabilities, taking charge of our own continuing development as an adult, and realising our full potential.
When we fully embrace our capacity for both neuro- and bio- plasticity (new terms for our uniquely human capability for life-long mental and physical self-improvement) the day-to-day living of life gets better rather than worse as we get older, because our self-awareness, our self-knowledge, and our self-mastery continue to develop. As a practitioner my goal is to enable as many people as I can to experience the benefits of “learning to learn” in this way.
Feldenkrais comes in two formats…
In our hands-on teaching – Functional Integration – the experience can seem similar to having a ‘treatment’ of some sort, such as osteopathy, chiropractic, or one of the more gentle forms of massage. After a few sessions as your understanding grows it becomes more natural to learn directly through your sensory experience again, just as you did as a young child. People often choose private tuition when they have severe movement issues or neurological conditions. Private sessions are also more appropriate for babies, children, and younger people with motor and/or learning difficulties.
Awareness Through Movement
In our group classes – known as Awareness Through Movement – it can take a while to realise that what you are learning is very different from other movement classes you have taken in the past. Unlike classic Hatha Yoga and similar techniques, we do not encourage active stretching, and the improvements come as you learn to move with an expanded consciousness of your own sensory-motor awareness; unlike Pilates we continually encourage releasing the abdomen throughout our movement sequences. The process is closer to a more generalised version of a martial art, and if you have trained in Tai Chi, Aikido, or Judo you will recognise many similarities.
We have access to hundreds of Awareness Through Movement lessons, and we are always devising more – and when teaching all these distinct movement sequences, we constantly emphasise that there are very many ways to perform any natural movement, so there is no need to strive to maintain a “correct” version of self-use, an idea that is often associated with the concept of having good “posture”. Instead we encourage the ongoing practice of self-observation-in-motion, preferably on a daily basis, with the intention of steadily improving our self-organisation through the expansion of our self-knowledge.
What we share with more traditional therapists is the intention to release those we are teaching from their self-limitations; from undetected and unrecognised areas of blockage and “stuck-ness”. The goal is to enable anyone who wishes to rewrite the unconscious rules that are governing their lives. The group lessons may be more general in focus, but they share this same goal, and are an ideal way to work with and benefit from Feldenkrais strategies in the longer term.
Because of the natural confusion with hands-on therapy, many people only consider exploring Functional Integration® once they are in pain, which is a pity, as it is usually the case that issues with mobility come first (our sense of balance can begin to deteriorate in our 20s, long before we notice the effect this loss is having on our capabilities).
Movement issues are a useful early indicator that we would benefit from less habit and more choice in the way we are going about our day-to-day lives. Moreover, as the long-term goal of Functional Integration is to heighten our sensitivity and refine our ability to sense our selves in action, in order to develop the natural human capacity for learning and self-maturation, there really is no need to wait until you feel there is anything “wrong” – Feldenkrais is useful when you are learning a new skill, or mastering an art, or just looking for ways to enjoy your life even more.
Awareness Through Movement classes are a very affordable way to find out if the Method is for you; please note that you will usually need to be able to lie on the floor for a minimum of 50 minutes, and, as each lesson is unique and engages the whole physical self, it can be a challenge for the teacher to find a lesson that you are able to perform if your movements are seriously limited due to pain.
If that is your situation I have two effective options.
First, I offer discounts for regular hands-on lessons booked in batches, to make them as affordable as possible. I am now offering hands-on lessons again, however if you are wary of working together in a live situation then 1-2-1 lessons online are still very effective for anyone with severe movement issues, plus working on Zoom has the added benefit of the lesson being recorded so you can build your own personal archive of Feldenkrais strategies.
I also have a special lockdown pricing scheme in place that means you can learn how to “Feldenkrais” with me in any format for whatever you can comfortably afford. Private lessons always include mini movement sequences to practise at home, to help you maintain and continue your improvement between our sessions.
Secondly, I have refined the aspects of Feldenkrais that have helped me to reverse all my chronic pain, and have developed a course that focusses on transferring this aspect of my teaching as efficiently and effectively as possible to you, the learner. I have written several articles on the background to these processes, which overlap with classic Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, my Embodied Voice work, and my Quintessensual Consciousness course for honing and refining five sensory systems. I have now gathered these specific elements together under the working title The Potent Inner Voice. I have created a tag so you can locate all the relevant articles more easily, within my current website constraints. I will make sure they are all included in the Bodymindfulness strand, because the tags are a little hard to read!
As (for the time being) our movements are so restricted, I have opened up my practice online. I have two regular classes; 12 noon on Tuesdays, and 7pm on Thursdays. You can join either or both classes at any time (the online equivalent of a drop-in class), and most weeks there is also an extended class in Feldenkrais-informed Meditation practices on Wednesday evenings.
As I cannot teach my live class on Tuesday afternoons until the end of our current lockdown, it continues online for the time being.
I am also running online workshops on various themes, and I offer a wide array of possibilities for exploring individual Functional Self-Integration and Potent Voice online. I am particularly enjoying how working on Zoom enables me to record and share lessons with all my students.
Daily Immersive Online Courses:
Integrated Spine, Resonant Centre, Vibrant Self
Daily Class At Noon – Online + Recording
March 1st – 5th
12 pm – 1.30 pm £75 / £50 – low income rate*
*Suggested fee, or any donation welcome
It is pleasing to realise that graceful movement comes from an agile torso and an awakened spine. We maintain our upright posture most easily in our planet’s gravity field not by making ourselves more solid and resistant, but by being more responsive and flexible.
In Japan, where the Earth’s surface is particularly unreliable, early architectural engineers discovered the way to keep buildings from falling down every time there was an earthquake was to design them to be unstable – it is amazing to watch these structures withstanding earthquakes, not because they are rigid and sturdy, but because of their flexibility and their built-in response to change – truly dynamic stability in action.
Imagine how the “core skeleton” of each skyscraper shifts as their internal design features accommodate to the moving ground encasing their foundations. We make similar complex adjustments throughout our whole selves to keep to our feet on a moving bus or maintain our balance walking on a stoney beach – fortunately a fully mobile and aligned spine activates your anti-gravity musculo-fascial structures in the most efficient sequence every time – enabling we bipedal primates to move in a fluid and graceful manner in any situation and over any terrain.
In this daily class I am expanding the Feldenkrais approach to core resilience to embrace a more energy-focussed theme. Dynamic core vitality means…
The muscles of your torso are working in natural synergy
Your breathing is full, responsive and effective
You balance with ease whatever is going on under your feet
You can sit comfortably for long periods
Walking is light and fluid, your legs and head weigh less, and you walk more like a dancer
Your movements are effortlessly graceful and strong
Your spinal/neuronal energy centres are better aligned, increasing your sense of inner integration and vitality
– all of which adds up to a self that is vibrant and energised, and a voice that is richly resonant…
You will need to book with me directly to get the Zoom link, and a recorded version of the lesson is included in the fee. Bookings are by email, or via my contact form.
This will be a very practical course and you will receive notes and supporting materials to help you maintain the improvements you experience from this immersive Awareness Through Movement experience.
Liberating the emotional expression in your voice…
Sunday February 21st – Online + Recording
2 – 4.30 pm
Vocal expression is the aspect of a singer’s performance that engages us with the words and the emotional story of the song being sung. Of course this is a very wide area to look at, but it is an important element to be aware of throughout your development as a singer, even for a complete beginner. For many listeners the expressive, emotive skills of a singer are more important than either their technical skill or their musicality. Bob Dylan and Billie Holiday move us so much that we forgive them their less-than-perfect voices; Marc Almond attracted a huge following with an anguished wail that was often out of tune. A singer who has all three –beauty, skill and emotion – will always be beloved; singers like Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Eva Cassidy, Elvis Presley, Scott Walker, and Thom Yorke. The emotional freedom revealed in the voice is not the result of technical skill alone, for most of us it develops over time as we gain in self-awareness, self-knowledge and acceptance, and learn to trust our audience, thus freeing ourselves to be truly present while singing. We can however refine the way we practice in order to explore different aspects of vocal expression, thus increasing our intuitive understanding of what makes one performance more involving, and more moving, than another.
In this workshop we will be using sustainable sounds to fine-tune our sensory-motor and auditory awareness, and learning to reduce the habitual [and quite unnecessary] constrictions and constraints inhibiting our expressive self – vocal structures, respiratory structures, diaphragms and sphincters, and the fascio-musculo-skeletal system that together form the physical foundations of our natural resonance and vocal power.
This workshop will be beneficial for:
Singers, presenters, performers, and anyone interested in the voice, and issues around self-expression
Anyone dealing with chronic stress issues, or breathing problems/conditions
Anyone interested in meditation and chanting
Use the contact form to ask me any questions or make a booking.
IF YOU USE MY CONTACT FORM, PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM REQUESTING AN ALTERNATIVE CONTACT IN ADDITION TO YOUR EMAIL AS I AM FINDING MY REPLIES ARE DISAPPEARING INTO PEOPLE’S SPAM FOLDERS. A MOBILE NUMBER IS IDEAL, I DO NOT SHARE ANY OF YOUR INFORMATION WITH ANYONE.
Squatting: A Refresher Class
Sunday March 14th – Online + Recording
2 – 5 pm
£35 (suggested fee or donation)
Every so often a new report comes along that supports my ongoing campaign to get more people to spend more time sitting on the floor. I even wrote a manifesto. Sometimes the report is more focussed on the benefits of getting up and down from the floor, as there is evidence that being able to do so without leaning on too many of your available limbs correlates with living longer – I have written about that here.
A recent report in New Scientist supports my suggestion more specifically, by revealing how beneficial it is to be able to sit comfortably on the floor in all the different positions you can think of, including kneeling, squatting, sitting cross-legged, and including the adaptable sitting position we Feldenkrais teachers usually call “side-saddle”.
…which is all very well, but I am also aware that for many people sitting on the floor is just too difficult to begin with.
If you would like to be better able to sit on the floor for longer periods of time the ideal solution is Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, and the way to improve more quickly is to do more than just the one class a week. This workshop is going to be somewhat more demanding than usual. The aim will be to improve our sitting ability via explorations on hands and knees, with the ultimate goal of being better able to squat, and to come up to standing from the floor.
If you are not able to manage explorations on hands and knees then think about having some individual lessons, or joining one of my online weekly classes – there is no reason to accept these physical limitations as inevitable when they are often fully reversible.
My goal is that everyone who joins this workshop will finish up with several comfortable options for sitting on the floor, plus a selection of useful strategies for getting up and down from the floor with greater ease, and even grace.
Awareness Through Movement Classes Online:
Tuesdays @ Noon
12 pm – 1 pm
Thursdays @ 7pm
7 pm – 8pm
£10 for a single class
£32 for 4 classes a month
£14 for both classes per week
£55 for both classes per month*
Classes on Zoom, recordings provided
These are ongoing classes, so the intention is for you to commit to attending on a regular basis: once a week is good, twice a week is better. Feldenkrais is about learning to learn; these are skills that you will develop over time with practice, and the benefits you will experience are also cumulative.
The Feldenkrais Method is unique in design, and of all the versions of personal training that include a physical element, Feldenkrais is most like Tai Chi, where regular practise is good, and the more time you give to the process the more you get back. At some point you become someone who practises Feldenkrais, and at that point the benefits and the pleasures begin to accrue.
One reason I am so enjoying teaching on Zoom is the facility to share a recording of the class so you can build up an archive of lessons to explore whenever you wish.
Much of what I write about in my blog is intended to make the pleasures and possibilities of learning how to learn more apparent earlier in the process; here is a recent article on the subject.
I am using Zoom, and you will need to book with me in advance by email. When I hear from you I will send you a secure link to access the broadcast.
*Suggested-fee-or-donation rate applies.
…new daytime (socially-distanced) live class
Movement Is Life!
at The Telegraph Hill Centre, in brand new…
St Catherine’s Church, Kitto Road, SE14
This live class is now on hold temporarily because we are back in lockdown, please do contact me if you would like to do a FREE online taster on any of these Tuesday afternoons, while the Centre is closed…
2 – 3.30 pm on Tuesday afternoons
£15 per Class, which includes free access to one online class per week
The slogan “Movement Is Life!” is very popular – here’s is one of my inspirations for the name of this class:
“Movement is all important. From cardiovascular health, bone density, joint functioning to central nervous system optimisation. For the health of each and every cell in your organism, to your mental wellbeing and overall happiness. Movement is life. And life is movement!“
Rodolfo R. Llinás, MD, PhD
…but the phrase was a big favourite with Moshe Feldenkrais as well – I wrote a blog post about it…
Live class, extra info: I have enough mats and head rests that you do not need to bring your own, however in our current situation I would prefer you bring along a clean sheet or towel to lay over your mat and any headrests you might use, until our current covid-19 precautions become unnecessary. Do bring anything else you need to make sure you are comfortable on the floor – some people like to bring an extra-soft pillow or a blanket with them. The space is lovely, with big windows but also well-supplied with radiators; as the class is now in the daytime we should not have any heating issues, nevertheless it may be worth bringing a couple of layers with you if you tend to get chilly when you relax.
Your Potent Voice
Feldenkrais is perfectly designed to help you unlearn any vocal habits that are interfering with the freedom and spontaneity of your natural voice, and these workshops will focus on enabling these whole-self shifts.
This is the right place to come if you want to open out your voice, expand your resonant frequencies, and discover more of your own potential and vocal individuality. We may well sing the odd song or two, but mainly the music-making will be focussed on improvisation and discovery, through sounding, toning, and noise-making. These practises do not just enhance our vocal abilities, they also have the potential for switching us into our parasympathetic rest-recuperate-&-repair self-healing mode, so you will come away with practises with multiple benefits for your continuing self-expansion.
Voice & Singing Workshops on Zoom
Monthly on Sundays – Online + Recording
2 pm – 4.30 pm
These workshops are beneficial for:
Singers, presenters, performers, and anyone interested in the voice
Anyone dealing with chronic stress issues, or breathing problems/conditions
Anyone interested in meditation and chanting
You will need to book with me directly to get the Zoom link, and unless there are any issues of privacy a recorded version of the lesson is included in the fee.
Bookings are by email, or using this contact form.
Empower Your Inner Voice:
Sensory-Self-Awareness for Self-Healing
Every Wednesday evening at 7–9 pm
Online + Recording
£20* (suggested fee or donation)
Ongoing regular practice sessions
These extended evening classes focus on my Feldenkrais-based self-healing strategies, and the recordings are intended to make it very easy for you to develop these skills for yourself. I am exploring the evening format with the intention of supporting better sleep as well as pain relief and self-calming.
One seldom-discussed aspect of the potency of the voice is the influential presence of an internal voice, constantly commentating on our lives. The voice inside our own heads can be an ally or an enemy; for a while now I have been discovering how to train my inner voice to be a better ally in my on-going project of self-healing. Here is an introduction to the process, from an article on my website:
“Self-Hypnosis – also known as Autogenic Training – has been around for a long time. I first came across it back in the Eighties, in a book called Superlearning. This was at right at the beginning of my interest in meditation, and practising the autogenic sequences from the book were the closest I came to achieving the deeper states of inner calm that are reportedly the most effective brain wave frequencies for healing chronic conditions.
Thus, when a bout of chronic fatigue left me with fibromyalgic pain that did not easily respond to the mindful movements that had helped me free myself of sciatica in the past, my investigations brought me full circle, and this time I made a connection I had somehow failed to make before. I remembered that Moshe Feldenkrais was also interested in self-hypnosis at a similar age, except that – being the over-achiever he was – he translated a significant book on the subject into Hebrew, and boldly added his own thoughts in a 26 page commentary.
The book was The Practice Of Autosuggestion by the Method of Émile Coué (1929), and Moshe’s original contribution has recently been published as Thinking and Doing, A monograph by Moshe Feldenkrais. He retained his enthusiasm for these concepts throughout his life, attempting to republish his translation in 1977, and using the techniques he still valued to speed his recovery after his stroke.
This workshop will be ideal for anyone seeking to improve their own health and wellbeing, and the health and wellbeing of others.
The Potent Inner Voice work is an introduction to my Feldenkrais-informed
‘Developing Your Quintessensual Consciousness’
Using the Feldenkrais Method to enhance our awareness of all our wonderful human senses…
…the original five exteroceptive senses, plus the kinaesthetic, proprioceptive, interoceptive, and neuroceptive*…
Feldenkrais is a form of self-development, as is Meditation, and many aspects of these two practises overlap and enhance each other.
For those of us with chronic pains, muscular tensions, stresses, anxieties, sleep problems, chronic respiratory issues, or who are simply feel blocked by their own habits of thought and behaviour, the more meditative aspects of The Feldenkrais Method can be the most effective way to create long lasting changes that steadily improve our sense of physical and mental well-being. Anyone keeping up with the science will be aware that relying on medication is not the best answer in the long term.
Learn to expand your focus of attention – both externally and internally
Meditative movement – Feldenkrais as “mindfulness centred on the body”
Self-quieting – using the nervous system to calm the nervous system – drawing on breath, toning and enhancing our listening abilities
Sitting With Ease – many forms emphasise the importance of sitting upright to increase the benefits of regular meditation practice. Learning to sit with lightness, balance and poise, so that you can meditate in comfort for longer, will be a key part of this class
Becoming your own neuro-feedback device – the current emphasis on expensive gadgets for enhancing our nervous system’s ability to self-monitor and self-regulate is outsourcing abilities we all have the potential to access naturally and directly through our own senses. The advantage of
learning to enhance your natural sense-abilities in this way is that you begin to feel better straight away, long before you have actually mastered the skills you are practising.
*Neuroception overlaps with interoception and could easily be defined as one aspect of it. Porges intends to highlight this aspect of our internal self-sensing abilities to improve our understanding of the role of social engagement in the healthy functioning of the mammalian nervous system.
This training is designed to develop this process into an effective practice, with the advantage of being performable anywhere, in any position, for any available length of time. You will be learning to enhance:
your sensory awareness
your muscular awareness
your skeletal awareness
your interoceptive awareness, and…
your ability to focus your attention simultaneously on both your internal and external awareness.
You will learn to enhance the aspects of Feldenkrais that overlap with self-hypnosis / auto-suggestion, with meditation, and with the internal alignment necessary for chi and chakra work – it will also be good fun!
I have a lot of material to share, and unlike a classic Feldenkrais class we will be developing themes for a daily practice, however one with all the flexibilities of the Feldenkrais process built in – ideal if you find meditating difficult; nourishing and stimulating if you find meditating easy.
I have a lot more to say, but am attempting brevity!
The Sunflower Centre
Hilly Fields, SE4
I have had to put the live sessions back on hold, so now the next workshop will probably be in February 2021…
Movement is Life!
2 – 6pm £60 Booking Essential
…here is another quotation from an expert on the deep importance of movement for our healthy functioning, this time from neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert:
“We have a brain for one reason and one reason only – that’s to produce adaptable and complex movements. Movement is the only way we have affecting the world around us… I believe that to understand movement is to understand the whole brain. And therefore it’s important to remember when you are studying memory, cognition, sensory processing, they’re there for a reason, and that reason is action.”
Customised Workshops for Companies & Organisations
I am always happy to design a workshop for a specific purpose – good ergonomic self-use for office workers, good vocal self-use for performance communities, good performance skills for everyone – contact me to discuss what you would like.
Feldenkrais International on YouTube
The International Feldenkrais community have been producing some attractive films to promote what is still a not very well known process with enormous benefits to offer. If you would like see the whole series in English click here. If you would like to see the full International Feldenkrais Federation film collection, which is available in multiple languages, click here view the YouTube Channel.