Olivia Cheever

Student Stories

It is a great privilege as a Feldenkrais practitioner to get to witness my students’ growth. I’m always amazed at their courage and heartened by their creativity with each new reminder that no limitation is set in stone. This I can’t take credit for, although I put them on the path. Feldenkrais Method is about self-help, not what I think students should be learning but what their bodies come to recognize as a natural way to be. My students tell me that this work makes the possible practical. A few stories:

Here is a student who cut strings of dependency to begin anew in North Africa:
“It was the first time in 20 years that I was able to consider leaving the Boston area and my various trusted practitioners. For a very long time I was completely frozen; I had body parts that didn’t move either at all or as they should. Olivia worked on reintegrating my brain with each part of my body and reconnecting me into an integral whole. Eventually it was easier and easier to move about. I felt that inside my body was not such a bad place to be.”

This musician took on the stress syndrome that often plagues performers:
“Two months shy of my Master’s recital, I was one tightly wrapped ball of tension. I couldn’t sing without this incredible force closing down my larynx — far from an ideal situation when I was singing seven hours a day. In desperation, I signed up for Functional Integration with Olivia. I learned to recognize my patterns of tension, especially in the jaw, throat, neck, shoulder region, and find ways to create space there. Most importantly, I learned to expand my mind to accept this heightened awareness and use it to move in ways that are kinder to myself. I feel like I know myself better and what’s more, I like who I am.”

Awareness Through Movement gave this student a time-effective bag of tricks:
“I rarely wake up with stiffness any more but if I do, I can work it out before I get up by rolling around in bed. That’s a far cry from thinking I have to go to a gym and lift weights, and it’s pleasurable instead of a chore.”

Elizabeth Natenshon I can name because she is already famous in the Feldenkrais archives as the baby who worked with Moshe Feldenkrais to learn to move at all, as well as with his early students who pioneered the Method:
“I was born with an underdeveloped cerebellum so I was a shell of a person, with no involuntary movement. My parents were told to put me in an institution and be done with it, that at best I’d always be profoundly retarded. When they found Moshe he knew the potential was there. He believed that the brain can create new pathways, so that other parts can compensate for an underdeveloped area. Not long afterwards I started to creep. Because I didn’t originally move myself, all my movements are Feldenkraisian. If I get stressed, I sometimes need a reminder. Last time I got off Olivia’s Functional Integration table, I felt, “Wow, I got my body back.” The Feldenkrais experience has played out in my life as: There’s always a way. I really want my experience to be someone else’s, for people to know they don’t have to settle for no hope.”




Student Stories






Feldenkrais and Feldenkrais Method are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America.
Bones For Life is a registered service mark of Ruthy Alon, its originator.

Serving the Boston, MA area with classes in Westwood.
Private coaching also in Needham Heights, MA.
Call 617-413-5680, or email ocheever@comcast.net.

© Copyright 2017 Olivia Cheever. All rights reserved.