This is client, Susan McNamara, commenting on her experience just after taking a recent Feldenkrais / Mindfulness class.
Mark Hirschfield has worked and helped me for several years with the Feldenkrais method both in person in the New York office and virtually through the computer during the Covid crisis. Coming to Mark with several physical problems created by the onset of old age and years of bad habits, I had no idea how much and to what extent he could help me. I knew only that the Feldenkrais reputation was excellent, and I had read Jane Brody’s testimonial in the New York Times. I can honestly say that Mark has helped me immensely, not only during the time we spend together but also with the exercises he gives me and that I try to follow through with. His humor, furthermore, is infectious, his language is easy to follow, and when we work together in the same space, I always leave with the sense that the ‘hands on’ impact is both real and somewhat mystical.
Working with Mark has been a lifesaver for me during quarantine. My virtual sessions with him are a total nervous system reset - I am always more centered, more relaxed, less stressed, and in far less pain after an hour online with him. His cueing is excellent, so that I can focus on myself and not on the screen, which makes these sessions a nice respite from my now fully-online workday. And despite not being in the same room, Mark is incredibly attuned to subtleties, always able to see exactly what's going on in my body, down to the smallest micro-movements, and to cue accordingly. I would be weathering this moment with far less ease and far more discomfort were it not for my regular sessions with him.
Living with COVID-19 has been very stressful as everyone in the world can attest. One of the key ways I have ‘made it through’ had been my virtual sessions with Mark. Mark knows Feldenkrais so well and is so remarkably intuitive that he keys into exactly which of the hundreds of lessons he knows to zero in on exactly the one I need on a particular day. First he listens very carefully to what I am going through, emotionally and physically, and then asks me to lie on my mat in a specific way to guide me through a lesson. Invariably, I feel relaxed soon after the lesson begins and by its end, I am almost a different person than the one who came into the lesson. I am amazed that this very physical work can have such a palpable impact through an iPad screen.
Blessing for peace and health,
I was thrilled to find out that there is a virtual option for Feldenkrais sessions. My original apprehension was replaced by guilt about how much I like not having to actually travel to the office for sessions. There is something to be said for a hands-on experience but, surprisingly, the virtual experience works exceedingly well for me. I would say that it is somewhere between a private session (65%-75%?) and an ATM. I have seen great results, possibly because i have so much more time for more frequents sessions. I am not sure when I will return to my home in New York City, so having the ZOOM option until then is great but even when we do go back to the City I would be very happy to continue the virtual sessions.
I’ve worked with Mark productively one-on-one (FI) for several years. Since March, when lockdown prevented continuing on that basis, we’ve been working remotely. Expecting less impressive results, I was surprised at how beneficial these remote lessons turned out to be. While computers can’t completely replace in-person learning, it turned out that the skill and empathy of a highly experienced practitioner like Mark can actually bridge that gap in unforeseen ways.
As with the in-person sessions, I leave each "meeting" with a sense of increased confidence in my body's abilities and deeper relaxation. While I miss the "hands-on" element, I find that working virtually forces me to focus more on Mark's instructions and therefore get deeper into my own possibilities. His exceptional ability to teach is highlighted even more in a virtual environment...and I even get to meet his cat. This is time very well spent for me, especially during the current chaos.
I have been working with Mark weekly for a year and virtually for the last four months. I was unsure how a virtual session would feel but once we started it was seamless. Mark is an amazing practitioner. He really understands the workings of your body and has corrected and released so many habitual behaviors. I’ve had two serious hip replacements and have pretty severe scoliosis. Consequently, walking, sitting and standing were never comfortable. Now they are. My posture is straighter, my gait is more fluid and my body generally feels more relaxed. If you have any physical issues and are considering a treatment modality, I urge you to try Mark. Over 40 years, I’ve tried everything and my Feldenkrais practice with Mark is the only thing that’s really worked and been sustainable.
I have been working with Mark for more than six years. Our work first began when I was living in New Paltz. My first experience with the Feldenkrais Method was at age 4 when my parents took me to participate in one on one Feldenkrais sessions. My parents stopped the sessions because I really disliked them. Being told what to do, even being touched was unpleasant and I just didn’t connect with the practitioner. Having Cerebral Palsy, I had lots and lots of physical therapy, most of which I didn’t like. Fast forward to my older years as an adult, I decided to explore self-improvement on my own. Not remembering much about my childhood experience, I looked into the Feldenkrais Method, hoping it would be different. And yes, in my 20s, it turned out to be a welcome reprieve.
Working with Mark has been such a delight. I look forward to our sessions each week. I was originally commuting into New York City twice a week.
After a couple years of that schedule I had to stop sessions. The commute, particularly in winter, was just too much. I was sad, for sure. Well, now I don’t have to worry about that! I was a bit unsure about how online sessions would work for me. Given my physical challenges, I (usually) need a lot of assistance for any kind of physical therapy. To my surprise, the virtual sessions have been really helpful! I have been able to learn through Feldenkrais on my own but with Mark’s virtual assistance. It doesn’t feel nearly the same as the in person sessions but pretty close. There are times during my sessions when I forget that he is not physically in the room with me because it does feel like he is. The way he guides me is so precise and specific. I never feel embarrassed to ask questions or talk about what I am feeling. I deeply appreciate Mark’s expertise. The way he can guide me purely over the screen is incredible. I highly recommend sessions with Mark!
The following are service marks or certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America: Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Functional Integration®, Awareness Through Movement®, ATM®, FI®, and Guild Certified Feldenkrais PractitionerCM.
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