Boston Feldenkrais Training Program
A Feldenkrais Training Returns to Massachusetts
Moshe Feldenkrais in Amherst, MA, 1980
Trainer Gaby Yaron, Amherst 1981
Dennis Leri, Feldenkrais Trainer
In 2016, seven Feldenkrais® practitioners, one trainer, and a single donor began to pursue a dream of bringing a fourth Feldenkrais training to Massachusetts. Moshe Feldenkrais brought the first East Coast training to Amherst, Massachusetts in 1980, and trainer Denis Leri led two other Feldenkrais trainings in the Boston area in the 1990s. However, over twenty years had passed before another Massachusetts training would begin.
By the summer of 2016, through a mixture of trial and error and steadfast persistence in the face of Massachusetts state bureaucracy, FENE was established as a non-profit and launched an accredited four-year Feldenkrais Training licensed as a vocational training by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was the first, and so far only, East Coast Feldenkrais training to be organized and sponsored by a non-profit organization.
FENE’s active volunteer Board of Directors helped to organize the training and managed the administrative tasks related to state licensure and maintaining FENE’s 501(c)(3) status. The training offered scholarships and travel waivers that supported over 40% of the trainees. Aliza Stewart served as Educational Director, lead trainer, and assistant trainer when visiting trainers taught, providing consistency, a warm presence, and shepherding throughout the training process. Tiffany Sankary filled the role of Continuity Assistant, and was present for every day of the four year training.
In the course of the four-year training, more than a hundred people participated in scores of Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration® lessons. Trainers from across the US as well as Germany and Israel brought a rich variety of teaching styles and content.
Some trainees arrived with in-depth previous experience in the Feldenkrais Method. Some worked as performers, dancers, musicians, physical therapists, yoga instructors, or massage therapists. Some who came had very little knowledge of the Method, and knew little of what to expect. Even after a few days in the training some trainees said they were surprised by the rapid and profound changes in their self-image and improvements in their ability to function.
The duration of each 10-day segment made for unique connections that generated a camaraderie that continues today. Trainees often stayed after class to work with each other, formed close-knit study groups, practiced together, and helped each other learn. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the final segments of the training were online, giving trainees the additional experience of the constraints and unique opportunities of this medium.
FENE’s Boston training staff and Board of Directors took diversity, anti-harassment, and mindfulness training before its start, and invited several Boston NGOs to provide trainees Diversity, Equity and Inclusion presentations drawing on both Asian-American and LGBTQ perspectives. The training environment fostered open discussion and reflection on complex and sensitive issues such as gender, race, religion, and the use of touch. Training venues were publically accessible, ADA compliant, and insured.
For more information on the Boston#3 Professional Feldenkrais Training Program visit: www.bostonfeldenkraistraining.com