PUMPING IRONY: A Lesson in Feldenkrais — and Marriage

A Sunday Feldenkrais class proved once again that good things come to those who agree with their wives.

A very wise man once told me that the key to a happy marriage was surprisingly simple: Agree with your wife. So when My Lovely Wife a couple of weeks ago asked me if I wanted to join her for a Sunday afternoon Feldenkrais lesson, I happily agreed. And when last Saturday she reminded me that the class ran from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, I nodded calmly and went back to reading the paper. It only occurred to me later that Sunday’s noon-to-3 slot is typically reserved for lounging comfortably in front of the TV with a beer, watching our local football club do battle.

No big deal, really. I’ve missed plenty of televised sporting events in recent years due to various social obligations and, in fact, I’ve generally found that the time spent off the couch is quite a bit more enjoyable than time spent on it. And I’m not just saying this because I was resigned to my fate. Really.

Anyway, Sunday arrived and I’m looking at the sports section and notice that the game isn’t on until 3, which has the effect of suddenly making a Feldenkrais lesson sound a lot more interesting than it did before. Not that I wasn’t interested before, mind you, but we’re talking degrees of interest, if you know what I mean.

“What do people wear to a Feldenkrais lesson,” I asked.

“Something comfortable,” MLW suggested.

At that moment, I was wearing a pair of wrinkled jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, which is just about the most comfortable attire I can imagine, so I went with it. There’s a pair of sweatpants in my dresser that I wear to yoga, but I figured we might just be sitting in a chair for three hours listening to Feldenkrais stuff, and it would look pretty silly for a guy my age to be dressed for yoga in that case, right? I couldn’t get a fashion signal from MLW, because she’s always dressed as if she could wander into a yoga class and be perfectly comfortable.

We drove over to the St. Paul Jewish Community Center and wound our way through its warren-like halls until we located the proper studio, which just happened to be adjacent to a sparkling basketball court. I think I have mentioned that I’m subject to a minor hoops addiction when I step on a basketball court. It causes me to relive delusions of grandeur, and I get a little anxious unless I have a basketball in my hands. This cannot be controlled by any pharmaceutical that I’m familiar with. Still, I followed MLW into the studio, where of course everyone was in some version of yoga gear, including our instructor, a lanky thirtysomething named Nick Strauss-Klein.

Nick has been working with MLW on her cranky right knee for a couple of years now, so he comes highly recommended. And he quickly set us all at ease, including the one guy who wasn’t wearing yoga clothes. Feldenkrais, he explained, is all about awareness through movement, and we spent the next three hours exploring how our bodies move and how that movement affects how we feel. Nick proved to be an articulate and patient teacher, and I have to say that there were points during the class when my body was telling me stuff it hadn’t divulged before.

And even better, during the couple of breaks between lessons, I managed to locate a basketball and shoot some hoops. Plus, I got home in plenty of time to catch the game, while MLW went off for a bicycle ride. Just another day of marital bliss.

, an Experience Life deputy editor, explores the joys and challenges of aging well.

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