My Feldenkrais Story: Helen Pendlebury

Helen Pendlebury shares her Feldenkrais story

close portrait colour photo of an elderly woman, Helen Pendlebury, smiling
Helen Pendlebury

Helen Pendlebury, lives in a lovely home in Marangaroo. She is a painter, she loves spending time with her family, especially her five grandchildren and enjoys being involved with her local community. Things weren’t always quite as cosy as they are now. This is her true Feldenkrais story.

For ten years Helen didn’t have a fixed address. She house-sat, stayed with family and friends, and lived in group homes. She also struggled on and off with chronic pain and mobility issues. She had tried Feldenkrais in the past and had left it behind due to shoulder pain.  More than two decades later, she found her way back to Feldenkrais and the effect on her physical and mental well-being has been transformational.

‘It’s like yoga in that it’s a progression. I physically cannot do yoga. But this is an excellent form of movement to help unlock the knots, the tension and the memory.’

In 2014 Helen was given an opportunity to gain access to fitness and physical therapy training through a government program. ‘I’d been wanting to get my health back up.’ Helen went to the gym, and got a personal trainer. ‘The woman I had as a coordinator suggested yoga. Because I couldn’t get down on the floor, I remembered the term I had 30 years ago, of Feldenkrais. That had such an impact.’

Her Feldenkrais Practitioner asked Helen what she wanted to get out of Feldenkrais. Helen responded that she wanted the spring in her step back. ‘Halfway through the term, the spring in my step came back. I felt the best I had for a long time.’ Not only has Feldenkrais greatly increased Helen’s mobility, but it had a huge impact on other areas of her life. ‘It allowed me the confidence to go to Homes West and get accommodation. I found myself thinking, I can’t do this anymore. I have got start taking care of myself.’

Helen’s Homes West home, is perfect for her needs. She has also gained access to a mobility scooter and has appropriate seating in her house. ‘Feldenkrais gave me more clarity in my decision making, so I could move forward with my life.’

‘Feldenkrais gave me more clarity in my decision making, so I could move forward with my life.’

In the last two and a half years Helen has attended hands on one on one Feldenkrais sessions and group floor classes. ‘It’s like yoga in that it’s a progression. I physically cannot do yoga. But this is an excellent form of movement to help unlock the knots, the tension and the memory.’

Helen believes the mind and the body are connected. ‘It’s not just moving your body it’s moving your brain. Doing Feldenkrais allows the brain to work the way it’s meant to work. And if the brain’s working well then that’s a ripple effect through the body.’

‘I want to share what’s happened to me to help others to maybe try and see if it works for them. Open them up to the idea of experiencing the journey of Feldenkrais and finding the person deep within you.’ She warns that it isn’t an over-night miracle, and can take time to see real benefits. ‘I don’t want people trying it the one time and thinking that didn’t work. It’s a journey of self-discovery.’ For Helen, the change may have not been instant, but it has been dramatic. ‘It’s as though I’ve got a super woman strength compared to what I had before.’

‘Logically what it has done is given me more flexibility, clarity and a sense of being pleased to be here,’

‘Logically what it has done is given me more flexibility, clarity and a sense of being pleased to be here,’ says Helen of her journey with Feldenkrais. ‘I feel more connected to the earth, to myself and I am able to see much more clearly what’s happening around me. I have a much more open heart to life.’

Interview completed by Jessica Messenger in 2017