An Experienced Feldenkrais Method Practitioner And Trainer Based in Northern California
Mary Spire is an experienced teacher and trainer of the Feldenkrais Method ®. A Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, she has been actively teaching since graduating in 1987 from the Feldenkrais Foundation Training and, for the last 18 years, has served as a trainer in Feldenkrais® Professional Training Programs worldwide. She is the Educational Director and Principal Trainer of the Optimal Moves LLC Feldenkrais Teacher Training Program in Marin County, CA. Her passion is sharing her knowledge and expertise with others; she loves helping others to improve their lives and functioning and, in the words of Dr. Feldenkrais, to realize their “avowed and un-avowed dreams.”
Mary holds a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Southern California. As a musician, she brings to her practice first-hand knowledge of the challenges and difficulties that performers face. She has taught Feldenkrais to musicians at the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. San Francisco, Boston University, McGill University, State University of New York, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Mary also taught the Feldenkrais Method ® at the San Francisco Symphony’s successful Prevention & Wellness Program for 18 years. She has presented and taught aspects of the Method in hospitals and to hospital staff, including those of the Physical Therapy Department at UCSF School of Medicine.
In addition to offering frequent workshops, lectures and symposia, Mary maintains private practices in Berkeley and San Rafael, California, where she not only offers group classes, but also specializes in working one-on-one with infants and children, older adults, people with neurological conditions and performing artists.
The Feldenkrais Method
Developed by Israeli physicist Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, this method is a highly sophisticated approach to accessing the power of the nervous system to improve human functioning. In a gentle and safe way you will increase your mobility, reduce habitual and unnecessary stress on your body, and increase your vitality. This method teaches you how to mobilize your own capacity to learn and change. It is of value to people with a wide range of neuromuscular conditions-from cerebral palsy, stroke, and multiple sclerosis to back, neck, and shoulder pain-as well as for musicians, athletes and others wanting to improve their performance.
Quotes About Mary Spire and the Feldenkrais Method
“Mary is more than an experienced Feldenkrais instructor. She is sensitive, caring and perceptive about each person she works with. She is innovative and challenged to find solutions, even with the most difficult and challenging problems. I enjoy having the opportunity to work collaboratively with her in the care of our common patients.”
– Nancy Byl, PH.D., PT, UCSF School of Medicine
“I very much appreciated the FI that you taught on the YouTube video. It was of the best examples I have yet to see on a video or live. I found it mature, respectful, perceptive and functional. Your communication of the instruction, intention, and direction of the burgeoning outcome, was superb. You helped to guide her (the student) to understand precisely what, why and how her body was moving and being perceived by her while coming to a deep and subtle conscious awareness of herself, concretely revealing “Awareness Through Movement”.
“Thank you for a superb first training session in the Feldenkrais Method. You are a topnotch teacher, and so real and available. More than ever, I feel open, relaxed, and at one with my feelings and my body. As a musician, this is very important to me. My neck, shoulders, and spine have never felt so supple and unified. I have more mobility as a violist than at any time during the last ten years, and am enjoying a new appreciation of how I practice.”
– David Daniel Bowes, Viola/Violin Teacher and Performer, Philharmonia Baroque
“Thank you for a wonderful wonderful experience–it’s been quite a special three weeks! It’s a tremendous amount of work to put together a training, and I am so glad you are doing it…. I like very much how you emphasize the `method’ part of the Feldenkrais Method. And thank you also for your spectacular ATM teaching (and sequencing) in the first two weeks!”
– Student from Teacher Training Program
“Feldenkrais lessons with Mary Spire have helped me overcome serious arthritic conditions. As a musician the work not only is sustaining my career – it has improved my tone and created more freedom and ease in my playing.”
– Brian Marcus, Bassist, San Francisco Symphony
“I am a Traumatic Brain Injured patient of Mary Spire’s. I was severely injured by a bike accident in June 2012. Mary is an expert/experienced Feldenkrais instructor. She has helped me relearn how to walk. Her instructions started with safe, basic moves in a chair. When I was ready, practices became more advanced. Using Mary Spire’s gentle exercises has helped my brain synapses to re-knit and fire more accurately. I now walk with much more fluidity than when we began 6 lessons ago. I now walk adequately without using a wheelchair, walker or cane. Each morning, for about 15 minutes, I begin by warming-up with Mary’s basic Feldenkrais exercises. This results in my walking movements being enhanced and a much more positive start of my day. I highly recommend Mary Spire’s Feldenkrais treatments. She is known by me as “Mary Inspire” due to her notably helpful instructions.”
– Michael Buckley
“Mary’s expertise in the Feldenkrais Method along with my home use of her easy-to-follow audio taped movement lessons combined to help me where conventional medicine had failed. I have achieved a dramatic reduction in neck muscle spasms caused by dystonia, a neurological disorder. I cannot express my appreciation enough.”
– Joanne Volponi, Chemist
“I love Feldenkrais! I found Feldenkrais to be neither a cure nor a fix, but an accessible and enjoyable way of learning to engage mindfully with myself and the world at many different levels. Through Mary Spire’s lessons, I gained insights that I have carried over into other areas of expertise. Mary’s superb understanding of Feldenkrais’ teaching in action even inspired me to take a training myself!”
– Marianne Constable, Professor of Humanities,
“I had a bicycle accident with a mild traumatic brain injury that effected my vision. Mary has helped tremendously with her therapy in dealing with my double vision, acuity, perception,eye movement and anxiety. She encouraged me with gentle eye exercises and CD’s for body and eye movement that I continue to use to improve my vision. Thank you Mary.”
“Simple pleasure and surprise working with Mary / her lessons: a new-found physical balance and open core sitting Zazen, long distance cycling with a consistently lower heart beat. Who would have thought.
– Kit Uren, Principal Uren Myers Insurance Broker
“Feldenkrais is not just pushing muscles around, it’s changing things in the brain itself.”
– Karl Pribram, Md, PhD, neuroscientist
Certification and registered marks: Feldenkrais ®, Feldenkrais Method ®, Awareness Through Movement ®, and Functional Integration ® are registered service marks; Guild Certified Feldenkrais PractitionerCM and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ® are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America.