The Uncomfortable Shrinking Woman

Let’s Call her Jody . . . . .

An important part of my job as a Feldenkrais practitioner is honing my observation skills.

I watch how people live in their bodies and I do it both in my office and out in the world.

On occasion, when I’m out and about, an individual will capture my attention. Sometimes it’s because their movement is particularly beautiful and other times it’s because they look so uncomfortable.

Recently, I observed a young woman at the ATM.

Her abdominal muscles were so pulled in that it looked as if someone had scooped out her belly. Her pelvis was tucked under so far that she couldn’t quite straighten her legs. I could sense the constriction in her system and felt how difficult every movement must be for her. Her face wordlessly expressed her discomfort.

Let’s call her Jody.

As illogical as it may seem, Jody’s body shape makes sense to her.
Throughout her life, maybe she heard many conversations at home from parents who criticized their own or other people’s bodies, from girlfriends or boyfriends, from a fitness “expert” and social media.

The emergence of body sculpting classes for teenage girls demonstrates how early in their lives young women learn that being small trumps being healthy. And there is a difference.

The message Jody has heard is so pervasive that she came to believe that it must be right. She did not create her posture with everyday, average exercise. It took a certain set of beliefs and intentional action to arrive at that shape, sacrificing comfort and hindering her natural ability to move.

We women are willing to spend a lot of time, creative energy and money in the pursuit of being small.

We participate in extreme exercise. We wear uncomfortable underclothes. We endure the discomfort, danger, and expense of plastic surgery. We shame ourselves when we occasionally indulge in enjoyable food or drink.

We carry ourselves in ways that minimize the size we are. And, like Jody, we pay the price—Bound up bodies don’t breathe, digest or move very well

Maybe one day, Jody will walk through my door. I’d love to meet her and hear her story.

Or maybe I can help you or somebody you love

emerge from the relentless pursuit of being small. This pursuit has a price tag attached, and that is the cost of physical and emotional well-being.

Together, let’s develop a somatic practice for unapologetically owning your shape and claiming your space.
I can help and would love to hear from you.