Hello, I’m Maggy Burrowes, welcome to my website
My ongoing project is to organise this website into both an information hub for all aspects of The Feldenkrais Method® and a continuously-developing resource for anyone interested in exploring on-going personal growth, and maturing into their most fully potent self.
If you would like regular updates about all my classes and workshops you can sign up for my newsletter here…
*Please note that all my online class fees are ‘suggested rate, or any donation welcome’
The ‘Daily Class’ Immersive Courses
Once a month I teach a course of daily classes – usually 5 days/Monday to Friday – but occasionally I teach a 4-day course (around holidays).
Why Come Along To A Daily Class?
I am keen to make the benefits of regular lessons available to as many people as possible, and once a month I teach a week-long course of daily classes on a particular theme.
You do not need to be able to make it to every class in order to sign up for my immersive daily courses – if you miss a particular session you will have the opportunity to catch up before the next one, as you will receive your recordings and any extra materials I am providing each day as we go along. This means you are welcome to simply join us whenever you are free throughout the course week.
You are also welcome to sign up to receive the Course recordings and extras even if you are not able to join us live at all. I am scheduling intermittent Q&A sessions on Zoom in different time slots, with the intention of giving more people access to the individual attention which I am keen to include as an essential element of all my online teaching. I will be trying out several different time slots in the next few months to see what works best for the most people. Please note I am also always happy to respond to individual voice-message questions on WhatsApp. Please do get in touch with me if you would like to chat about any of my classes, or to make a booking.
Upcoming Daily Immersive Courses
…Move on the floor with ease
In any direction you please!
Online + Recordings & Notes
2–3.30pm GMT ~ 9–10.30am EST ~ 6–7.30am PST
Please note we start one hour earlier on Tuesday
£90 (suggested fee, or any donation welcome)
Rolling in and out of sitting and lying positions on the floor is the perfect way to re-awaken our ability to soften our whole self, and move with freedom and ease, the way we used to in our early childhood when we spent so much time on the floor. In this daily class we will explore the “art of allowing” – a fully conscious state of physical and mental “presence”: the ability to respond to whatever is happening at any given moment; to let go of fighting for breath and simply breathe; to remember that life is supposed to be fun; to let go of constant haste, and embrace slowness and patience; to free ourselves from a state of constant anticipation, and instead approach the future in a state of easy readiness, knowing that we will have all our resources to hand whenever we need them, and that we do not need to spend our lives encased in a constraining and protective muscular armour. This course is for anyone who would like to move with more ease, more playfulness and more joy – and for anyone who likes rolling about on the floor!
Potent Voice Sunday Classes
Your Voice Is A Musical Instrument
Online + Recordings & Notes
2 pm – 5 pm GMT [9 am – 12 pm EST]
£40 (suggested fee, or any donation welcome)
It is a commonly cited fallacy that we are born with a particular type of voice, hence the amazement every time some young singer with a good ear reproduces the kind of voice we associate with older singers of a different skin tone! What actually shapes the voice is a combination of our individual vocal structures and our muscular habits. Once you understand how these habits produce distinctive vocal qualities you will be able to discover and explore a greatly enhanced range of possibilities for your own voice, adding richness and colour to your both your singing voice and your speaking voice. I will also discuss in detail how to organise your practise time for maximum benefit and steady, reliable vocal improvement. Finally we will look at the stabilising of the torso required for both classical singing and belting.
Please do contact me with any questions you may have, and note that BOOKING IS BY EMAIL, so you can contact me via this link if you want to reserve your place for any of my online events.
You are also always welcome to sign up for the recordings and notes of any course should you be unable to join us live.
Inversions In Motion
…or Rolling part 2
Ways to improve the postural organisation of your head, neck & upper back
Daily Class At Noon – Online + Recording
January 2nd – 5th
Online + Recordings & Notes
2–3.30pm GMT ~ 9–10.30am EST ~ 6–7.30am PST
Please note we start at 1pm (one hour earlier) on Tuesday, which is also our first day as this is a 4-day course.
£75 (suggested fee, or any donation welcome)
The definition of “inversion” we will be exploring in this daily class is having the hips and the heart higher than the head, in relation to gravity. This will give us lots of lovely Awareness Through Movement lessons to play with, and lots of fun moves to discover.
In Israel Moshe Feldenkrais is famous for teaching David Ben Gurion to stand on his head, and we explored this posture in depth in my training, free from any pressure to succeed. Although I had some satisfying experiences with what were initially rather awkward positions, I never overcame my undiagnosed dyspraxia in order to be able to stand on my head. I did learn to balance easily on my head and hands, with my knees safely bent, so my centre of gravity was still nice and low. I greatly enjoyed these lessons – they enabled me to begin to release the long term tension I had been holding deep in my upper back, shoulder girdle and neck. My posture improved, my neck tension eased, I developed more freedom of movement in my shoulder girdle, and I felt rather pleased with myself. The lessons that prepared us for the headstand were safe and enjoyable and ideal for anyone unlearning tension in these areas, or dealing with chronic issues such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and repetitive strain in upper limb joints – and of course, this being Feldenkrais, you are just as likely to discover greater ease in your hips and ankles!
We spend the vast majority of our waking hours sitting, standing or moving around in an upright stance and throughout the day our head remains balanced upright on the top of our spine without us having to think about it at all. The neck is a vital channel of communication for the nervous system between the brain-hub and all the extended branches of the nervous system, circulatory system, and the lymphatic system, throughout the whole self – naturally the neck is very strong! Because of this important role, improving neck use affects the wellbeing of our whole self, and for the same reason improvements to the functioning of our neck and upper body can take a while to establish, however, once established everything you do will be easier, and chronic pain and daily physical effort will lessen naturally.
This workshop will feature lessons designed to increase the flexibility of, and encourage more fluid movement in, your upper spine, neck, shoulders and rib cage. We will use rotation, flexion, extension, and inversion to reawaken your natural elegance and poise.
Highly recommended for everyone, but particularly performers – musicians, singers, actors, dancers, martial artists – and anyone with issues related to the cranial functions, such as headaches, respiratory issues, balance issues etc.
Developing Your Authentic Voice …In Performance & In Life
Online + Recordings & Notes
2 pm – 5 pm GMT [9 am – 12 pm EST]
£40 (suggested fee, or any donation welcome)
We do not tend to notice our breathing unless something has influenced it in some way, and even then the change in breathing may not be the first thing we notice. This is not surprising, breathing is a constant process and were it to demand regular attention it would interfere with daily life. Healthy natural breathing makes automatic adjustments to sudden changes of pace, and the fitter we are – i.e. the more efficiently our lungs process oxygen – the more easily we adjust to a sprint for the bus, a long flight of stairs, or perhaps even a sudden emotional shock.
Shifting emotions also make distinctive changes to our breathing and for many of us this is why our breathing is not as free and full as it could be. The sudden, dramatic and uncensored changes of emotion seen in young children are not acceptable in adult society, and the process of masking our emotions from those around us begins early. Some are so successful at it they manage to conceal their feelings from themselves as well as others. What better way to mask feelings of, say, anger, than to be unaware of those feelings yourself? Emotions are complex, and difficult to control, but their physical manifestations are less so. Stop and think about how it feels to cry, and notice the feelings generated in your chest, throat and belly. How would you disguise the impulse to cry? Probably you can sense that you would hold one or more of these areas rigid. This bracing can become habitual, and is a common cause of the chronic muscle tension that can lead to posture problems in even young teenagers. As adults we may start to recognise these emotional limitations and many people discover the Feldenkrais Method as part of the process of unravelling the habitual tensions that maintain their limitations.
As your diaphragm expands on inhalation the contents of your abdomen are pushed downwards and forwards causing your belly to round, and this regular massaging of the organs by the upward and downward movements of the diaphragm is another benefit of natural breathing. Unfortunately, when the belly is hard and tight, whether for aesthetic or psychological reasons, the diaphragm cannot work as it is designed to, and instead the ribs are forced upwards into an excessively raised position. The downward movement of the diaphragm creates about 60% of the lung’s capacity, the expansion of the ribs another 30%, and the lifting of the clavicles – which often prompts the lifting of the shoulders as well – the final 10%. Thus a tight belly severely limits your air supply, and, to make matters worse, this lifting action both mimics an excited, anxious or distressed emotional state and requires more energy than natural breathing, as the muscles have to work against gravity. For some of us the tension is in the upper back or the rib cage itself, making it harder to access our joy and vitality.
All truly expressive singers and actors have a free and flexible chest to go with their soft, responsive belly, as mobility in both these areas is a major factor in the kind of physical and emotional self-awareness that is the essence of a truly charismatic performer. For the rest of us it is part of developing our self-awareness and freeing ourselves of the fear of expressing who we really are and how we really feel in the company of others.
New local class…
The Telegraph Hill Centre
Next Saturday Class – February 17th
More dates for your diary coming soon!
January Daily Course 1st–5th – Inversions – 2-3.30 GMT
…All online sessions include recordings and notes. For more details click here for workshops, and here for regular classes…
More About Feldenkrais
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.
Here’s why Feldenkrais is different…
There are two ways to learn Feldenkrais…
In our hands-on teaching sessions – Functional Integration – at first 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 sensitivity develops, it becomes more natural to learn directly through your sensory-motor 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 training in an individualised form of a martial art, and if you have trained in Tai Chi, Aikido, or Judo, you will recognise many similarities in both the movements and the style of teaching.
There is no one right way to do the lessons…
We Feldenkrais teachers 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 do 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 desires to do so to rewrite the unconscious rules that have been governing their lives, often since early childhood. The group lessons may be more general in focus, but they also promote this self-development goal, and are an ideal way to work with, and benefit from, Feldenkrais strategies in the longer term.
Functional Integration – why choose private tuition?
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…
…however 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 may be a challenge for the teacher to find a suitable group lesson that you will be able to perform if your movements and/or your ability to lie on the floor are severely limited due to acute or chronic 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 for continuous ongoing self-improvement at home.
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. Whether live or online, individual 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 I am teaching a weekly evening class – Potent Inner Voice – 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 Potent Voice work, and my Quintessensual Consciousness course for honing and refining five sensory systems. I have written specifically about some of the science behind the class in this article, and will be writing more as I find the time.
Awareness Through Movement Online
Regular Weekly Classes
I have three regular classes: pure Awareness Through Movement at 12 noon on Tuesdays, and 6pm on Thursdays. You can join either or both classes at any time (the online equivalent of a drop-in class); plus Potent Inner Voice, an extended class in Feldenkrais-informed Meditation practices on Wednesday evenings. All the details of my ongoing weekly classes are here.
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.
Use the contact information on this page to ask me any questions or make a booking.
Movement Is Life!
Telegraph Hill Centre – Studio 2
Kitto Road, SE14
Drop-In Class – Wednesdays 4 – 5.15pm
£12.50 / £10
“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.
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.