Updates from the Feldenkrais Project and Twin Cities Feldenkrais during the pandemic
July 1, 2021 update: My efforts to share Feldenkrais online as generously and widely as possible continue as our household of six navigates the new opportunities and uncertainties of this summer. For now I’m not updating this page regularly, but if the pandemic again changes things for The Feldenkrais Project I’ll let you know here. -Nick
The info below is current to May 21, 2021. My family and I are safe and healthy and all of us over 12 are vaccinated. Summary and newest info are in bold.
A listener comment from Aliza Nizet on our free introductory lesson collection, Getting Oriented, as quarantine began:
I’m a Pilates teacher and I did Lesson 1 of Getting Oriented today on March 16, 2020 – the first day I am not teaching myself because of an effort to protect my family and community from COVID-19 and the first day both of my young daughters are home from school. I have been following the Feldenkrais Project since last fall and know that it is a powerful place for me to find a sense of calm and grounding. Thank you, Nick, not just for making this amazing method widely available but also for your gifts as a teacher, to invite us all in with such ease and grace and clarity. I’ll be sharing the Feldenkrais Project with all my students as a resource to rely upon as they navigate the challenging times ahead.
A note from Nick Strauss-Klein, creator and voice of The Feldenkrais Project:
Since the pandemic began I’ve been regularly receiving notes like the one above both from our Feldenkrais Project audio collection listeners and participants in my quarantine-inspired weekly online public Zoom classes. I’ve learned from these emails and comments that it’s essential right now to keep working vigorously toward our vision of spreading the life-changing benefits of Feldenkrais study as widely as possible, with the help of all our listeners and the generous donors who make this website possible. Please help us share our amazing FREE and Pay-What-You-Can resources!
Now and always, our 52 public audio lesson recordings are available anytime, to anyone with an internet connection, with no paywall or password. Our web traffic doubled when quarantine began in March 2020 and has remained high since. I’m overjoyed that home Feldenkrais study is a balm to so many right now. Through the Feldenkrais Project (the FP) and Twin Cities Feldenkrais, LLC (TCF) I’m doing my best to offer the grounding, calming, life-affirming support of as many online study opportunities as I can create!
Thanks for your understanding and patience while I run the FP and continue to add content to it, teach the weekly TCF Zoom classes, and do my part as a husband and father of four children (ages 5-15) to maintain a happy home and support my wife’s essential work as a clergy person. Our big three kids remain home in “digital academy” for school. On the advice of my favorite source of straight talk about COVID-19 (The Osterholm Update) our pre-schooler is in school and we are watching the situation closely. I haven’t yet returned to in-person TCF work but I’m starting to look at the possibilities for later this year. They’ll depend on the Covid situation and availability of childcare or in-person school for our kids.
In response to many requests from Zoom students and because of the popularity of my pandemic-inspired weekly Zoom class I plan to continue it even when I return to teaching in person.
FP listeners know how passionate I am about learning, adapting, making the world a better place, and communicating clearly and openly. I’ll keep this page updated as the situation changes.
Here are topics and summaries for what’s below. Use the headings if you’d like more details. You’ll also find at the bottom more testimonials about what the FP recordings and TCF live video classes mean to our web visitors during the pandemic.
- For all listeners: some inspiring statistics. In short, the FP is free to use, available 24/7, and more valued during Covid-19 than ever before.
- Info for FP donors: Thank you for your support! It is critical right now. All our donor benefits are continuing as usual, and we’ve enjoyed three new benefits inspired by quarantine: recordings are available for four donor “thank you” Zoom classes with Q&A discussions, we’ve enabled more lesson downloads, and we launched three new Deep Dives in 2020.
- Info for renewing or prospective FP donors: Like what we’re doing and want to help out? Thank you! Due to global economic instability we’re extending our best donation/benefits rates indefinitely.
- About Pay-What-You-Can live video classes: My in-person teaching has been halted by the pandemic, so I’m offering additional online Feldenkrais study in the form of weekly live Zoom classes and their recordings.
The world changed just as we celebrated our website’s first birthday in March 2020. Here’s a few statistics from our second birthday celebration about how we’re delivering high quality Feldenkrais study globally:
- From March 2019 to March 2020 we had 23,000 visitors. In our second year we had 46,000 unique visitors, a 100% increase.
- In our second year users loaded 122,000 lesson pages!
- About half our visitors are in the USA, the rest are from all over the world. The UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, and Israel are numbers two through six.
- We’re welcoming a lot of new Felden-fans! Getting Oriented, our collection of short lessons and talks introducing Feldenkrais study, is our most popular series of lessons.
- Our online community is engaged: our site has hundreds of user comments. Listener comments, emails, mailing list subscribes, and Facebook likes all significantly increased when the pandemic began, and this trend continues.
- Our Find a Teacher page had almost 1500 views in its first year, and trended about the same in 2020, despite the fact that most live teaching remains closed due to Covid. We’re generating interest in Feldenkrais Practitioners and classes worldwide, which is part of our vision!
It is amazing, humbling, and inspiring to me as I look at the data and read so many spontaneous testimonials from our users. During this period of social distancing I am continuing all my normal FP activity by putting my limited work hours into sustaining and improving our lesson resource and website, marketing our free resources and pay-what-you-can Zoom classes as widely as possible, and delivering all our donor benefits. We’ve actually added three additional donor benefits during quarantine (see below).
For Feldenkrais Project donors:
First and foremost, on behalf of our worldwide community of thousands of listeners, and my family and I, thank you for your support! The Feldenkrais Project’s 52 free audio lesson recordings, though obviously not designed for a world in various states of lockdown, have nevertheless emerged as an ideal resource for many people who are struggling. This ongoing collaborative effort (which we so intentionally named a “Project”) is more important than ever before. We are 100% funded by your donations! Have you noticed we don’t have any ads on our site? I am deeply grateful for what our freewill funding model has enabled us to offer the world during this time, and proud of the donor benefits we are able to offer you.
The coronavirus has created a financial crisis in addition to a health crisis, and I know your financial situation may be changing. We make it as easy as possible to start and stop recurring donation support for the FP any time. As always, I ask donors to think of contributions to the FP like movements of a Feldenkrais lesson: please don’t do anything that creates strain.
We’ve recently added Send-a-Check and Venmo options to our Simple Donation method (no login to remember, no benefits). It was previously just PayPal.
If you have a question about donation or benefits, or want to do it differently than my usual options during this unusual time, please contact me.
On a personal note, I am profoundly grateful for your support of the FP. When I voluntarily ended all in-person teaching on March 13, 2020, I gave up much of my income, most notably the major portion provided by my one-to-one, hands-on Feldenkrais Functional Integration lessons. My family and I are blessed that during quarantine my work has segued successfully online, and hours that I’ve put into the FP and my weekly Zoom classes are providing an income. If your donations aren’t a strain and you choose to continue them, please know that they are directly supporting our family, and not taken for granted.
In gratitude to our donors, I’ve offered donors-only Zoom meetups for live video lessons and Q&A discussion when I can, including our March 4, 2021 birthday event. Feldenkrais Project Members and Patrons can access the four previous recordings here:
We also enabled more lesson downloads for Members and Patrons in 2020:
Finally I organized some of my favorite recent teaching into Deep Dives. Patron-level donors get full access, but one is free to all:
If you’re thinking about renewing donation, or donating to the FP:
Thank you! I have extended indefinitely our first birthday celebration offer to receive our best donor benefits at our launch year rates. FP Patron-level donors receive at least 16 new lesson recordings per year and other awesome benefits. You can become a Patron by donating $18 monthly, or donate quarterly for effectively $15/month, or make a yearly contribution to receive Patron benefits for $12.50/month!
The benefits for Members are great, too: you can download all the lessons in our primary collections (52 currently), and enjoy our full lesson notes and advanced lesson search, including cross-references so you can pursue a personalized line of study. There’s also our new benefit, the donor “thank you” event recordings mentioned above. Finally there’s our advanced search and sort page, which makes it easy to find exactly the lesson you’re looking for, any time. You can join the FP as a Member for as little as $3/month.
About Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) TCF Live Video Classes:
My quarantine-inspired efforts to teach my previously in-person Twin Cities Feldenkrais (TCF) classes online are separate from the FP lessons and donor benefits that comprise most of this website.
For clarity I normally keep the FP and TCF separate, but since all my teaching is online nowadays (and time is so tight in my household) I’ve consolidated my efforts here at FeldenkraisProject.com during quarantine.
It’s amazing to be together in shared time and intention as I lead Feldenkrais lessons by videoconference! My regular in-person students and I are happy to welcome you to our virtual classroom. The testimonials have been amazing, and here’s a free sample recording of a live video class. It’s a mini-workshop I offered on March 16, 2020 called Organizing Your Feet for Balance, Posture, and Power.
I’m using a pay-what-you-can model for live video Zoom classes, and you’ll receive a recording whether you attend live or not. You can learn about Zoom, see what classes are upcoming, and buy recordings of past lessons here:
To make the world a better place and keep our now global online classes rooted in our local community, we donate 10% of gross proceeds for these classes to local (Twin Cities, Minnesota) charity working toward pandemic relief for families in need, an organization seeking to address issues of racial injustice and inequality in our state, and national charities working toward protecting our democracy and depolarizing our politics. We’ve recently added a charity that supports the global vaccination effort, too. Here’s the list of organizations we’ve supported so far:
- COVAX, through Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance
- welovestpaul.org (temporary site that funded cleanup after looting)
Early in the pandemic, in March, April, and May, 2020 we donated only to our family’s favorite charity, Neighborhood House. It’s a local Twin Cities food shelf and community support center with amazing mission, vision, and values. I received this note back:
Neighborhood House has been helping families gain social and economic well-being for more than 120 years. We are grateful to Twin Cities Feldenkrais for contributing 10% of revenue from their live online classes to Neighborhood House. These contributions allow us to help families with basic needs when they are in crisis and to provide educational opportunities for the entire family. Learn more at neighb.org. Thank you!
More of the inspiring emails and Facebook posts we’ve received during the pandemic:
A Facebook shoutout from Ginny VanderHeyden:
What a wonderful way to end the day with The Feldenkrais Project and Trevor Massie. Even our cat was so soothed by Nick’s voice, by the end of the audio lesson she was curled up right next to the tablet! ?
If you’re looking for a way to calm your nervous system during these crazy upside down days – check out Nick Strauss-Klein’s free/donation-based audio lessons online. He’s truly magical.
My goal is 2 lessons/week. It has been SO helpful to calm the body and brain. Thank you so much for this fabulous resource to use at home!
Feedback from an April 2020 participant:
Before the plague, I was taking lessons from you at the Marsh, and continue to do so most Mondays and Tuesdays on Zoom. We don’t have a camera on our computer, so I cannot participate in that way. However, I do see and hear you, and others, and am getting some amazing, mind-blowing results. In particular this last one, Tuesday 4.21, which made me feel as if I had a body transplant. Upon standing, I thought, “Whose body is this, and what did you do with my old one?”
Thank you, Nick, very much. As long as my luck holds, I intend to continue to take classes and to learn and change.
Feedback after our April 17, 2020 lesson and discussion for Feldenkrais Project donors (Member and Patrons, here’s the recording):
I loved your lesson yesterday…. This morning when I woke up I had a pleasant conscious awareness of my breathing in the stomach region. I love that about Feldenkrais; unknown regions coming into awareness, expanding the inner space of the body and becoming more and more alive (and calm at the same time).
I’ve been enjoying your audio lessons for a long while, and for me it’s a blessing that now I can also be part of your live video classes. It’s fun to share the classroom with you and people in their homes from all over the world in these online sessions. I also liked your introduction and the discussion afterwards. Thank you for your generosity!
Short quotes from many students:
I am so grateful for the FP – it’s been a mainstay of my study for over 3 years now. I just discovered your “walking collection” in the “Patrons Monthly” section, and am really enjoying it. I’ve been needing a series to do, something to focus on during the quarantine, and this is just the ticket.
Also wanted you to know that I am in love with your classes and have passed your website on to several other people who need help at this time! I am over the moon grateful and will become a member or patron very soon.
In gratitude ?
Just wanted to thank you for an amazing class today! Thank you for your hard work and for giving me the possibility to take the class in these uncertain times of social isolation. It was inspiring!
Hey! I’m a dancer from Finland and have been using this resource as part of my home routine during the current crisis. It’s been super helpful. Thank you so much for making Feldenkrais available in this way! For now the method is not particularly well known in Finland and often tuition is economically beyond the reach of a performing arts professional to attend regularly. Anyway, have not donated yet but will do. THANK YOU!
First, I’d like to thank you for a wonderful first-time experience with your free on-line live class the other day. You’re amazing in how you explain things so clearly.
I cannot express enough my gratitude to you & your concern for helping others. You are a rare man, not looking for the almighty dollar but to serve others with your loving heart.
Bless you & your family.
I am almost 83 years old and experienced Feldenkrais years ago when I was a psychology student. I am thrilled to see what you are doing at this stage and getting yourself on line…it is so awakening to “feel” what goes on in my aging body. Since all of us are monitoring the future due to the Virus, it is very confusing. I am happy to have sessions at home
It’s amazing to me ur ability to give so thoroughly completely and continuously.
I imagine you already give A LOT to your family and still have more, endless it seems to give to you classes, it’s like the strega Nonna pasta pot!
Well know you are appreciated. My pelvis has never felt as level as after Tuesday’s lesson. And was wonderful to connect to all your ppl.
With much gratitude
From Beth, San Rafael, CA, brand new FP Patron:
Many, many thanks for sharing your outstanding live Feldenkrais class with the general public this morning. What a wonderful way to start the day and to feel a sense of connection, not only with our bodies but with the rest of the world as we hunker down.
I’m planning to contribute to your Project and applaud your vision to bring Feldenkrais to all, particularly during these unprecedented times.
To good health and equanimity!
From a Facebook post to friends, shared with me by a participant:
My daughter and I just finished a free live online Feldenkrais class together at home. It was rejuvenating! There were 120 people in the class from all over the world – Spain, Australia, Germany, Israel, the UK, and all over the US. It was inspiring to see people trying to take care of themselves in this crazy time. I’ve been doing Feldenkrais private lessons for five years and it has changed my body and my life. It is a neuromuscular reeducation. My instructor, Nick Strauss-Klein, has created the Feldenkrais Project to create free lessons online. You can become a member for more benefits but there are dozens of lessons online for free. As we are all cooped up for awhile and need to stay sane and healthy think about giving this a try. I promise you won’t regret it and you might even become a life-long devotee like me and many others.