Feldenkrais and Pilates teacher, Sarah Merriam Pierce riding Crisp

Sarah working with Philippa

Sarah Merriam Pierce

Her work as a Feldenkrais Teacher:

By heightening our awareness of our habitual patterns of movement, either on or off the horse, the Feldenkrais Method can enable us to learn to move more freely and with greater ease and flexibility. As Feldenkrais is taught in two ways, riders can benefit from both a hands on approach through Functional Integration and a time to explore a sequence of movements in a group class which we call Awareness Through Movement.

By exploring a theme, such as movement of the hips and pelvis, (a theme explored at a recent FL&AT (Feldenkrais, Lunging and Alexander Technique) Arrow Day), riders can become much more aware how they are balanced while sitting on a horse and what the relationship is between the right hip and the left hip; how is the pelvis tilted and how does this effect whether one is sitting a bit forward or backward in the saddle. Then in an Awarenesss Through Movement class the same theme can be explored further in walking, sitting and lying down.

As the teacher, I verbally guide the students through a sequence of movements, enabling each person to explore different possibilities and discover something about their own patterns of movement which may be totally new. In a sense the movements explored are like a physical puzzle which can be pieced together and explored again and again. In Functional Integration I use the gentle hands on approach to guide the individual to an increased awareness of their own particular habits of moving and holding.

After these sessions I find that the new sensations and increased self awareness can be transferred from the ground to the saddle. The learning achieved through the Feldenkrais method can then give the riders a greater awareness of how their own movement patterns affect the horse and vice versa. I will close with one of my favourite quotes from Moshe Feldenkrais:

"I am here to make the impossible, possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant."

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