I cannot thank you enough for sharing your expertise and enthusiasm for the Feldenkrais Method® with me.
The Feldenkrais Method has proven to be a real catalyst in my growth as an artist and as an actor! Your gentle, accepting approach has brought an honest sense of calm to my way of looking at my self and my body. I feel like I can see me more clearly now after having worked with you!
I feel more whole...The integration of my many disparate parts has culminated in a freedom of expression and an openness that every actor searches for. I have always had a deep well of emotion to draw from, but now I can access it more easily and freely than ever before. I am centered in my body and able to move and to express myself or my character in whatever way I choose. The resulting freedom and creativity are quite extraordinary!
Mostly, I thank you for teaching me how to maintain my power even during the most vulnerable of moments. The centered, open, grounded quality that others are now noticing in my work as an actor are undoubtedly thanks to you and to the Feldenkrais Method.
If anyone has any questions or concerns, please have them call me directly.
Actress / NYC
Sharon Oliensis is a masterful and sensitive practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method. I have experienced excellent results working with her, and I'm eager to recommend her to all who wish to improve health and feel more comfortable in body and spirit.
Over the years Sharon has significantly improved my pain from scoliosis and injuries. Moreover I have experienced great benefit as a singer. I am more grounded, and the work has promoted greater open-throated ease in breathing.
The Method produces natural energy and a feeling of well-being, and I have the warmest praise for Sharon.
As a pianist,... Before working with you , I always needed to warm up before playing. On days that my mind, body, hands, etc. were sufficiently relaxed, the music flowed from my heart and playing was quite effortless. On other days I felt tight and constricted, and it was effortful to play. The quality of the music suffered on those occasions. I also had a balance problem, in that my left hand was tight, and I had to work very hard each time I played and focus specifically on lightening my left hand, or the bass would be too loud.
Since beginning the Feldenkrais sessions with you I have found that I am able to sit down at the piano and play at any time, without warm-up and without ever feeling that the playing is effortful and the music belabored. The balance problem has been virtually eliminated...
As a singer, things have been improving...the Feldenkrais sessions have made me aware of excess tightening and holding in the muscles, and of how to release and relax those same muscles, which is an important element of good vocal technique.
As importantly as that, your wonderful compassion and ability to listen, encourage, and support my various crafts have had a healing effect, not just on the crafts themselves, but on my whole life!
Pianist and Singer NYC
I write to express my appreciation to the Westside YMCA for offering the Feldenkrais Movement Class. After having spent considerable time over the past ten years studying various forms of movement and going through various “neuroses”over what type of body I need to develop, I have found the Feldenkrais work to be of the utmost help in teaching me how to reach goals that are really valuable--developing a body that is pliant and receptive.
I’m just now only beginning to tap into the “intelligence of my body”. Throughout my formal education, which covered elitist private schools, graduation from a public state university with a degree in Theater, and very expensive professional actor training programs in New York City, I have had countless classes on how to get my body “looking” lean and tight (including aerobics, modern dance, and ballet), and other classes on how to express myself succinctly and directly, but never a class on allowing my own body to be my teacher!
On the other hand, in the Westside YMCA’s Feldenkrais, I am in an environment where the instructor, Sharon Oliensis, gives us a step-by-step technique to develop a highly sensitized connection between the mind and body. Through this vastly unique type of work I am now learning about my body in a way that is not directed at how others view me or on the “aesthetic” lines/cuts that my body will exude, but I am experiencing my body from the inside out, starting with the body’s real life-force, the breath.
I thank the Westside YMCA for offering this very specific and vital class. It’s really about helping me discover who I am.
Hansen- NYC Actor
I’ll just start off with saying that Feldenkrais has changed my life entirely, and gush on from there.
In retrospect, I look at the injury to my ankle as extreme good fortune. It kept me from dancing for a long period, something that had not happened to me before, and, the path to recovery led me to Feldenkrais, and eventually to studying with you.
I remember my body responded to the work right away. One of the first signs was finding myself lightly bounding up the subway steps two at a timeafter that first weekend long workshop. Without thinking
about it, movement was effortless.
That was the beginning. Since then I am not the only one that has been amazed at how much my body has changed.... (becoming) more flexible, more efficient, more capable. All at a time when I had been beginning to feel that my best dancing was behind me.
The lessons tend to focus my mind as well as coordinate my body. I am beginning to understand why it is called Awareness Through Movement®. Neither “awareness” nor “movement” ever had a shadow of the
meaning for me that they now have.
Even ballet class is easier and lighter and-how can this be?--less work because I am beginning to visualize and understand the movement relationships. Working well used to mean working hard, lots of sweat, the effort almost more important than the result. What a joy to be set on the road to freedom. And when we are doing some grueling stretch at the barre I hear your voice asking: “What would have to soften in order to make that position more comfortable”? It works every time.
Thank you so very much.
Dance Theater of Harlem
I am writing to you today because I want
to reciprocate all you have done for me. As you know I had suffered
many different back injuries. I had gone to a Chiropractor for
many years who helped me, but, something in my movement had to
change, because I kept re-injuring myself. In working with you my body broke old patterns of destructive movement. I no longer
re-injure myself! I am more sensitive and knowledgeable on how
to maintain a healthy spine. I am more flexible and am reaping
the rewards of exercise, playing with my children and movement
in general without pain, just pleasure.
Dear Sharon -
Your help after my open heart surgery was
to my recovery. I felt
very vulnerable and the gentle touch of Feldenkrais was exactly right. I had
a persistent pain between my shoulder blades for about 30 years. It dramatically
increased while I was in intensive care and remained very painful. During a session
with you we both felt something release,the pain suddenly went away and it has
never come back. It's amazing. Your treatments also restored many nerve connections
severed by surgery and gave me back feeling in my breast and under my arm. On
my first visit after surgery my cardiologist, who did not know I was having Feldenkrais treatments, said I was recovering faster than almost any patient he had ever
had. I am sure that the speed and ease and permanent benefits of my recovery
are deeply connected
to your work with me. Thank you so much.
Love, Nora Logan
14 years ago when I was 30 tears
old I developed a severe chronic pain condition characterized
by a lack of restorative sleep, unrelenting muscle pain in my neck,
back, and hips. I was a very physically active person and this “syndrome” robbed
me of my physical health. I was in pain and had fatigue for years
without any good days. It impacted every aspect of my life. What
I could do, how much I could work and basically whether I could
anything as pleasure being that I was in pain all the time. I also felt anxious
most of the time.
I explored every possible solution from “conventional”(chiropractic,
orthopedic, mri, medications, nerve testing, x-rays, physical and psycho therapy)
to “alternative” (yoga, meditation, acupuncture, Tibetan herbs,
Alexander technique, etc). 12 years is a long time and each one of these attempts
were for the most part not a solution. There were a few hopeful experiences.
Sharon was teaching a Feldenkrais group class at the Upper West Side YMCA and
during a few classes while doing very small movement I felt a release of pain
that was dramatic. A couple of years ago I started going to individual sessions
with Sharon. She was one of the only“practitioners” that was willing
to work with me in collaboration. She worked with me while I lied on her table
and through a series of movements and feedback we were able to have some “breakthroughs”.
I knew that I could come to Sharon and release pain ! I knew that no matter
how much pain I would have, I had a way to relieve it at least temporarily.
Our goal was to learn gentle movement and stretching that I could learn and
do on my own.
Today I have with Sharon’s help been able to devote more time to
work, to sleep better, and to feel much more comfortable and to live in
To say that she helped save a life is no exaggeration. She is unusual in that
she is truly available to help and has brought her intelligence, experience,
insight and compassion to helping me live
a life with much more possibility and enjoyment. My name and number are available
if anyone needs more.
We hired Sharon in response to requests from many of our members for a class to help them deal with stress reduction, relaxation and chronic muscle tension. Ms. Oliensis’s class is one of the most popular offered at the YMCA, structured in such a way that virtually anyone can participate. Our members have sought staff members out to praise the class and Ms. Oliensis.
Specifically, many members have reported that they experience greater concentration, more energy, and greater ease of movement. Our members who have physical discomforts associated with aging (including arthritis, osteoporosis, and general decline in functioning) have reported that they move in ways that they never thought possible again.
I took part in Ms. Oliensis’s class and became a ‘convert’. After participating in a forty-five minute session that she led, I found that my productivity increased immediately. After taking her class for a few months, my feeling that I was more successful at my job was quantified by an increase in membership in my department.
West Side YMCA
I found Sharon’s teaching, and the Feldenkrais Method to be an extremely effective and accessible format for relieving stress and tension, and increasing flexibility, coordination, and overall wellness. Her presentation of the material was clear, sensitive, and thorough, as was her interaction with the participants in the class. The number of our employees interested in attending was great enough that we had to offer an extra class to accommodate them. This method addresses a pressing need in the corporate environment, and serves as an effective preventive measure for many of the stress-related complaints I see daily.
Dr. Cynthia L. Smith;
Assistant Medical Director;
The New York Times