Movement is Life

Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself. 
—Moshe Feldenkrais

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Practitioner Spotlight: Dorota Puchala

Entered on April 16, 2018 by FINY

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Where are you from originally?
I grew up in the North of Poland, along the coast of the Baltic Sea, in a region called Pomerania. I lived in the metropolitan area of Gdansk, Poland known as the “Tri-city”, consisting of Gdansk, Gdynia, and Sopot. Those three cities couldn’t be more different from each other. Each exudes it’s own unique vibe, but together they are like a well balanced eclectic urban design. Growing up close to the Baltic Sea, getting a good education in public schools of Sopot, studying Biology at the University of Gdansk, playing volleyball in Gdynia’s sports club—I loved it.

I consider myself a Polish New Yorker, and going back to the Tri-city every year is important, especially now with my 10 year old son, Jake. I’d like him to know his mom’s place of origin, and to keep in touch with the language, family and friends from there. My own youth was rich in active, cultural, political events, including experiencing the fall of the communism. The famous Solidarity movement protecting worker’s rights and later, the symbol of resistance against the People’s Republic communist government started in the Gdansk shipyards… Friendships made there are still strong and very important to me, but New York City has been my home since I came here in 1990 right after the fall of the Berlin Wall to make new life for myself.

How did you find out about the Feldenkrais Method?
After suffering from lower back pain for over two years and exhausting all of the Western and Eastern treatments considered helpful, a good friend of mine urged me to try the Feldenkrais Method (specifically Functional Integration), and recommended the practitioner she was seeing regularly. I was skeptical of the name “Feldenkrais”, which I could neither remember nor pronounce, but at that point I was ready to try anything that might be helpful in relieving the pain that was reducing the quality of my life to an alarmingly low level.

My first Functional Integration seemed too gentle to work and I fell asleep in the second part of it, but I did feel better and I slept well that night… So I started to come back for more on a weekly basis. That happened over 10 years ago and I’ve kept coming back to the Method ever since then. Almost every Awareness Through Movement lesson and Functional Integration session helps me to reconnect with a feeling of lightness. This seemingly “too easy” and “too gentle” to work method with the weird name has given my brain what it needed: the neurological pathways to improve the way my body feels and functions. It restored my health and bettered my life in many ways.

What inspired you to become a practitioner?
I was inspired by my personal success in recovering from chronic pain and wanted to help others who may struggle with similar problems to find the natural power of the brain and nervous system to function better, and to feel better.

What kind of clients do you see?
I see clients of all ages in all different fitness levels and states of wellbeing, and they all have the ability to self-discover and to achieve the most efficient way to function without pain. I always feel privileged to help them to do so.

What do you do in your spare time?
Not much spare time for me, since I’m the single mom of a ten year old boy! But whenever there is a chance, I get down on the floor to do an Awareness Through Movement lesson. I also practice Yoga for strength, but I do it with Feldenkrais in mind to avoid injuries. I love walking and experiencing the city, movies, and art exhibits. I also love to cook gourmet food, make jewelry, and design and fix interiors to release my creativity.

Do you have any particular areas of interest in your work as a practitioner?
I am a big believer of finding active and healthy ways of taking care of yourself and combining it with the Feldenkrais Method. Nowadays we are often stuck in front of screens, so it’s even more important to keep activity part of our lifestyles. Any activity can be beneficial, but noticing the way we move is the key.

What is your favorite Moshe Feldenkrais quote?
My favorite quote of his is one that I adopted as my life’s motto as well:

“The path of improvement is within you.”

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