Hello, I’m Maggy Burrowes, welcome to my website.
I am steadily building this website into both an information hub and an expanding resource for anyone interested in the potential of The Feldenkrais Method® as a tool for self-transformation.
Learning To Learn
Feldenkrais (fell-den-cry-s) is all about increasing the awareness of self, expanding our capabilities, taking charge of our own continuing personal development, so that the day-to-day living of life gets better and better as we get older and our self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-mastery grows. As a teacher of this process my goal is to enable as many people as I can to experience the benefits of “learning to learn” in this way.
& Awareness Through Movement®
In the hands-on format––Functional Integration–– it can come across as being on a par with having a treatment of some sort, such as osteopathy, chiropractic, or the more gentle forms of massage. In the group classes––known as Awareness Through Movement––it can easily, but inaccurately, be confused with other kinds of group work. Unlike in Yoga we strive to avoid stretching, and the improvements come as we learn to move with a particular sensibility, rather than by managing ourselves in stillness*; unlike Pilates we continually encourage releasing the abdomen throughout our lessons, and emphasise that there are very many ways to perform any natural movement, so there is no need to conform to a corrected version of your self use. Instead we encourage a self-monitored version of ever improving self-organisation. What we share with therapists is the intention to release the client from their self-limitations; from undetected and unrecognised areas of blockage and “stuckness”, from the unconscious rules that are governing their lives. The group lessons have this same goal, and are an ideal way to work with, and benefit from, Feldenkrais in the long 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 usually issues with mobility come first, and are a useful sign that something needs to change in the way we are going about our day-to-day lives.
Awareness Through Movement classes are a very affordable way to find out if the Method is for you; please note that you will 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, plus I always include mini-lessons to practise at home, to help you maintain your improvement between sessions.
Online Training Sessions
The second possibility is still in development, but I am very excited about it. I have refined those aspects of Awareness Through Movement that most directly relieve pain, and thus allow greater mobility throughout the self, and developed an individual process that can be taught online. This is still in development, and for that reason I am offering online one-to-one sessions at special rates. There is more information on my Online Training page.
As part of this same project I am developing a course in Feldenkrais-enhanced meditative techniques, focussing on both pain relief and stress relief–as pain creates stress, and stress creates pain, these two are somewhat inseparable. New science exploring the self-healing potential of our neuroplastic and bioplastic nature means that the healing response, most often recognised as the ‘Placebo’ effect is becoming better understood all the time. The evidence is that the effects of stress on our health are global, and often reversible––at least to some extent––and the route to this shift is via our brain and nervous system. If we can unlearn our chronic stress responses we can reboot our own immune system and make valuable changes to our own health. This is more usually recognised as an effect of meditation, but the science supporting the benefits of “moving meditation”––Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and of course Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement––is growing at the same time.
I was particularly excited to discover Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’ life-long interest in the potential of self-hypnosis––also known as ‘auto-suggestion‘––as I discovered its value for myself back in my 20s and am very much enjoying developing this aspect of the Feldenkrais Method now.
I will continue to expand on these themes as this site grows. Please do not hesitate to contact me in order to chat whether or not you feel ready to make a booking. I am sharing a lot of background information on my FaceBook pages, so do have a look there if you want to know more about the science behind my Quintessensual Consciousness course.
*…although resting is vitally important to the learning process, for so many reasons it will justify a whole article as soon as I get a chance to write it!
The Potent Voice
I am also organising my voice and performance teaching under the banner of The Potent Voice. There are many overlaps with my Feldenkrais meditation work, as the benefits to the health of the nervous system generated by sustaining and attending to the vocal sounds we make has been recognised by science thanks to the pioneering work of Dr Stephen Porges. Of course those of us who love to sing don’t need outside evidence, but the science behind this valuable self-healing tool is fascinating and the ramifications are huge, so I will be writing more about it, as and when time allows.
If you are not aware of Porges Polyvagal Theory this film is a useful introduction––he details the relevance of breathing, the importance of our hearing, and the healing qualities of music beginning around 23 minutes in, but watching the whole film will make all this this clearer still:
Questions, and feedback, are welcome––this is a work in progress, as indeed we all are!
Sounding Out & Tuning In
Regular monthly workshops Sunday Afternoons, SE14
After a bit of a lull I am now teaching monthly Embodied Voice classes on Sunday afternoons again. The idea is to offer small group classes with plenty of individual attention.
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. These workshops are not the right forum if you are mainly interested in singing songs and learning material–choirs are great for singing songs, and I am happy to help you locate one, and if you want to learn material then my private tuition is the best way for me to help you build your repertoire.
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-recuperative-repair self-healing mode, so you will come away with practises with multiple benefits for your continuing self-expansion.
Venue: Drakefell Road, SE14
In my vocal training I share deceptively simple processes for expanding all aspects of our awareness–sensory, muscular, skeletal, fascial, and deep inside via our organs, diaphragms and sphincters.
As we become more whole-self-aware we become better able to unlearn the constraints we took on board as children before we had any real sense of who we were and what we were capable of becoming.
This expanded self-awareness is vital. We learned to suppress our spontaneous impulses as part of the socialisation process all children go through too young to fully understand what is happening.
As we release our deeper levels of resistance our authentic voice begins to emerge naturally, without effort, and this is the key to enhancing presence in performance and charisma in communication.
This is an ever-evolving life process without an endpoint. It is not the result of learning a skill, it is the process evoked by Michelangelo’s metaphor of removing what is unnecessary from a block of marble to reveal the lovely sculpture contained within. We gently and persistently remove what has been imposed from without, so that what remains is simple, wholehearted, and genuine: artistry without artifice. For the rest of this article click the link…
Do let me know if you are interested in this work, even if you cannot make these dates. My next project is an online training process.
Please note that we will be working in sitting for the majority of class time.
Feldenkrais Self-Healing Class SE14
*This class will be available as an online course very shortly…*
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.
Our themes will be:
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.
My intention with this class is 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.
This class will 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!
Please do let me know if you are interested, even if you cannot make all the dates.
Also please note that we will be sitting for most of the time.
I have been gathering the material for this course for a long time, and there’s a lot of science and overlaps with other teachers out there included in my thinking. I will be sharing all of this as part of the class, but I am also posting a lot of links––mainly articles and YouTube lectures, but also book recommendations––up on my FaceBook page. Do go and have a look if you are curious about the course, it will give you an idea of the kind of material I will be covering.
Regular Feldenkrais Classes
Awareness Through Movement in the Crow’s Nest
We meet weekly on Thursday evenings at The Telegraph Hill Centre
Studio 3 – The Hub,
Kitto Road, SE14 5TY
Class Times – 7pm to 8pm:
We meet at 6.50pm in the Centre foyer, and ascend the stairs as a group – the room is at the very top of the building, so there are 45 stairs to climb – the view is amazing!
UPDATE – the centre is organising a system that will enable any latecomers to buzz in at the back door – I propose that once it is installed we continue to meet at 6.50pm and that anyone running late lets me know, so we know to expect you and can leave the buzzer on.
Fee per class £12 – to be paid in advance.
Payment will be in advance at the beginning of each month.
You will need to book a minimum of two classes, on the understanding that priority will be given to attendees prepared to commit to coming every week.
The benefits of this learning process are cumulative, so committed attendance is the best way to produce consistent improvement. Nevertheless I do understand that committing to pay for a class even if you then cannot attend can feel like a big step, so…
All committed members of the class are entitled to individual Feldenkrais sessions at £35, plus an extra £5 off–per session–to compensate for any class you have to miss. I am also starting up a local Feldenkrais meditation class, and once this is established you may be able to swap to one of these classes, if there is space available. Regular class members also qualify for concession rates for my workshops at The Sunflower Centre.
I now have enough mats and head rests that you do not need to bring your own unless you want to, however do bring anything else you need to make sure you are comfortable on the floor – the head rests are rather firm, so some people like to bring a softer pillow and/or a blanket (which can be folded) with them. It is useful to know if you would like to reserve a mat, so do let me know. The room is well supplied with radiators – so far we have not had any heating issues.
The Sunflower Centre
Hilly Fields, SE4
Sundays, 2-6pm, £60/£50
Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement
Liberating Your Potent Self
Regular Monthly workshops
Sundays, 2-6pm, £60/£50
Would you like to get more done with less effort?
Would you like to achieve athletic grace without dull, repetitive exercise?
Would you like to improve your core functioning in a way that benefits your mobility, your strength, your balance, your breathing, your emotional ease, and your posture, in a way that is easy to maintain with gentle, playful, joyful regular practice?
Feldenkrais has something special to offer––something more global, more whole-self, more “organic” than simply offering you looser shoulders, better posture, more mobile hips, a freer neck––although these are all potential benefits, they are just side effects. Many people are familiar with the idea of moving more “ergonomically” but I am pretty confident that most of those people would not associate that word with having any fun. Fun is fundamental to Feldenkrais, because we humans learn best when we are having fun at the same time––you only have to spend time in a room full of happy toddlers to see this in action.
The Potent Self is my favourite of Feldenkrais’ books about his Method. His writings tend to offer a dense mix of human development and neuroscience––his sense of fun is more recognisable when he is interacting with a room full of people rolling about on the floor. The Potent Self––subtitled A Study Of Spontaneity And Compulsion––is the book that helped me understand why my Feldenkrais training was improving not just my physical health, but also my emotional health, and my ability to feel at ease in social situations. Moshe’s understanding of the relationship between health and our inner sense of “safety” prefigures the work of Dr. Stephen Porges, and as my hyper-vigilance began to recede my enjoyment of life increased exponentially, and that process continues to this day.
By making the connection between personal potency and the vast field of human potential that continuing self development is central to, I am hoping to get some of you Feldenkrais virgins curious enough to come along and try it out. An immersive afternoon is an excellent way to discover what this work has to offer, and those in the know––my regulars––come along whenever they can, whatever the theme of the day, because they know they will leave feeling taller, livelier, lighter on their feet, more coordinated, breathing more fully, and even––surprisingly––stronger. They also know that these changes will last for a while, and some of them even do their “homework” and maintain these improvements for longer still.
For many of us the joy of watching a skilled athlete, dancer, or martial artist is seeing human movement at its most vibrant and graceful. Athletic movement is beautiful precisely because of its economy, efficiency, natural elegance and its distinct humanity. We look at the fluid grace of these masters of movement and imagine that this level of ease is beyond us, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, athletic power takes work, but when we do not waste our energy in inefficient self-use and poorly coordinated action then grace, fluidity and intrinsic strength emerge spontaneously. Of course it takes attention and practice to change the way we do what we do, what it doesn’t take is more hard work; in fact just the opposite, as soon as you start to bring Awareness Through Movement into your life you will begin achieving more with less effort on a daily basis.
These workshops will features a huge variety of Awareness Through Movement lessons, and notes will be provided with practical suggestions for ways to continue to build on the improvement you will experience in all your daily activities.
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.
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.