We are OPEN on Columbus Day!

Open University WILL MEET at St. Luke Lutheran Church on Monday, October 12.  We are not closed for Columbus Day.  Hope to see everyone there!!

AND if you haven’t looked at the OLIVER! trip flyer, do it now.  It’s going to be an incredible trip!

Shepherd’s Center of America visits Richmond

We had a wonderful visit last week from Sarah Cheney, Executive Director of Shepherd’s Center of America.

Julie and SarahSarah was in Northern Virginia at a ribbon cutting for the newest Shepherd’s Center, Western Fairfax County, one of the now seven Centers in Virginia.  The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond was the first, 31 years ago, and we mentored both the Chesterfield and Oakton-Vienna Shepherd’s Center when they first began.  It’s great to be a part of such an important national organization and a caring community of people meeting the growing needs of aging Americans 60+.  Click this SCA to find out more about Shepherd’s Center of America.

We would like to welcome Mary Frances Hobbs to the Feldenkrais teaching team!

Feldenkrais classes are held at 1:30 on Thursdays at First Presbyterian Church when the Open University is in session.  The Feldenkrais method is designed to improve a person’s movement repertoire, aiming to expand and refine the use of the body through awareness, in order to reduce pain or limitations in movement, and promote general well-being.

Watch the 10-minute video below to find out more about the Feldenkrais method and then come try it out at the OU!


Change of speaker at St. Mary Church, April 1st (no foolin’)

Bill Sachs will be unable to speak on April 1, 2015 at St. Mary Catholic Church.  We are happy to welcome his replacement, Bernie Henderson, CEO of Woody Funeral Homes.  He will give his presentation that was cancelled by the snow entitled, “Commemorating D-Day at Normandy 70 Years Later.”  We hope to see you there!!

Lunch-n-Life, brown-bag lecture series is 12 noon to 1:30 pm, March 25th through April 22nd at St. Mary Catholic Church.  Free and open to the public.  Bring a sandwich.  The church will provide beverages and dessert.

OU Classes Spring 2015

Open University Spring Class Schedule is on our website NOW!

The Open University class schedule for Spring 2015 is now available on our website.  You can also use the link below!  Classes begin Monday, March 23, 2015 – See you then!!

OU Classes Spring 2015

Feldenkrais… Felden-what?!

The following article appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch on January 30, 2011, and features one of our Feldenkrais teachers at the Open University, Cas Overton.  Feldenkrais is taught on Thursdays at the O.U.

Feldenkrais positions help body and brain to allow more mobility
By Maria Howard
Published: January 30, 2011

 Mary Frances Hobbs had hip-replacement surgery in 1998. She started taking Feldenkrais Method lessons a year later. 

“I wanted to be mobile, and arthritis and bad hips were keeping me from doing that,” said Hobbs, a chemistry teacher for the MathScience Innovation Center in Richmond. 

Feldenkrais got her moving more freely again. And so far, she hasn’t had to have the second hip replaced. 

Hobbs was one of the participants at the group Feldenkrais lesson led by Cas Overton at the Shepherd’s Center this month. Feldenkrais lessons, which involve positions that help the body, nervous system and brain to allow for new movement, are most commonly done one-on-one with an instructor. 

That’s where Hobbs started. Now, she’s maintaining her mobility and flexibility with the group lessons. “I really walk out of here feeling taller,” she said with a laugh. “It never hurts.” 

Hobbs said her scientific curiosity makes her wonder how and why the lessons are so helpful. 

“I know that my body is positioned where it needs to be … and I’m not sure how it all works, but I just know it works,” she said. 

Overton, who has taught Feldenkrais since the mid-1990s, had a background in dancing and tai chi. 

“Movement has just been imperative for me,” she said. So when she discovered this method for helping people to regain mobility, she decided to become trained in it. She has worked with all types of limitations, including paralysis and debilitating diseases. More often, she sees people with neck, shoulder and lower-back problems. 

The result is not necessarily full mobility. But Feldenkrais usually helps, she said. “It can open up synapses in the brain that are just dormant.” 

Feldenkrais is also used by athletes looking to increase speed and coordination. Because the positions and instruction stimulate awareness of the body and the brain’s role in controlling it, many athletes get significant results by adding these lessons to their regular workout regimen. 

Overton showed me some basic positions and stretches used in Feldenkrais. Although I didn’t have a particular area of injury or immobility, I did feel that the short lesson helped me feel less stiff and tight. 

The system was designed in the early 1900s by Moshe Feldenkrais, a physicist, engineer and judo master who suffered crippling knee injuries and had to learn to walk again. 

Physical therapists often take an interest in Feldenkrais, Overton said, because the method approaches injury and immobility in a slightly different way. 

“It’s never fast,” Overton said. “It’s never uncomfortable.” 

The goal with Feldenkrais is to link the body and brain with nonpainful movements that will lead to better healing. 

For instance, at the Shepherd’s Center, Overton did a whole class on lower-body awareness, balance and “walking with attention.” Toward the end, she asked participants to roll their ankles one way and then the other, being aware of what the ankles were doing and their role in supporting the body. 

“Awareness is the big word” in Feldenkrais, Overton said. “You need that neurological connection.” 

Maria Howard is a group exercise instructor for the YMCA of Greater Richmond. Her column runs every other week in Sunday Flair. 

Check out http://www.feldenkrais.com for a list of certified practitioners as well as classes and events

Original article: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/lifestyles/2011/jan/30/feldenkrais-positions-help-body-and-brain-allow-mo-ar-806022/