experience of change
and Eitan Israeli
voice is heard in Stockholm, Melbourne, Vilnius, Delhi.
an apartment of spacious two rooms in a campus of the
University of Stockholm, Sweden. Time: End of July,
August, September and early October, 2003.
morning hours, every morning, seven days a week, Nestor’s
voice is heard, speaking Hebrew, from the tape. Two middle
aged people are lying on the floor, on which they spread
soft mattresses, which at all other times are placed on
window is half open, and through it one can observe a
sparse little forest, and people and children whose
clothes imply various countries of origin: Iran, Russia,
Iraq, the C.I.S.
speaks in a loud, clear voice and a typical diction. He
guides the lying couple in warming exercises, then
suggests similar and different body movements, clears the
blockings and benefit the muscles. There are eight
lessons on the tape, taking one week and one day to
round of lessons ends and restarts, and low and behold:
each lessons is considered as entirely new. There was no
such lesson last week or last month – it is novel and
unique. It is not always easy to listen to Nestor’s
instructions: at times, the noise of children playing
comes from outside. At times, the sound of Stockholm,
spring rain blends in with the speaker’s voice. The couple
on the floor know how to guess some of the instructions,
and when one of them is uncertain, he asks his companion,
while both lie down on the mattresses. Some 45 minutes go
by, the bodies are a little weary, stretched and relaxed.
ends with some concluding exercises, and thanks the
participants. The couple rise, straighten their clothes
and say in a clear voice: “Thank you Nestor!”. Indeed,
Nestor is a regular companion to this, not so young
couple, in their journey in Sweden.
An apartment of one bedroom, living room and kitchen, in
the height of the 6th floor of an apartment
building, overlooking a busy, trendy street full of lights
and sounds, in the city of Melbourne, Australia. Time:
October, November, December 2003 and half of January 2004.
In the morning hours, almost every morning, Nestor’s voice
is heard, in Hebrew, from a tape. The same middle aged
couple is lying on the wall to wall carpet, without
supportive mattresses. A new Radio is hosting the tape,
the wide windows are slightly open so that the wind enters
in a whistle. This room is smaller, denser than the room
in Sweden, hardly allowing space for the two lying bodies.
Nestor carries on with his guiding efforts and does not
mind the crowdedness. He stretches arms and legs, lifts
heads and eyebrows, waves right and left, up and down, and
surprisingly, calls for complex, twisted movements. The
couple complies with the instructions, almost without a
word, and does not poses questions as to why and how so.
compliance is almost total, and the lesson progresses
confidently and flowingly, from one stage to the next.
After some 45 minutes, the couple had already waved,
lifted, bent and moved to all directions – Nestor ends
with a “Thank you”. In far away Melbourne as well, the
hedonistic, beautiful city, the couple thanks Nestor out
loud, turn the radio off, place the tape on a shelf, and
prepare themselves to a day of working, sightseeing,
visiting and meeting people.
hotel in the Baltic city of Vilnius, Lithuania. Early
morning, before breakfast. The above mentioned couple, no
longer young, had come on a trip that follows family
origins in Lithuania – where the man’s father was born,
and where part of the family perished in the holocaust. It
is cold in September in Lithuania. There is a thin layer
of frost on the closed window. In the room, a weak heating
is on, and the couple are on the floor. No mattresses, no
carpet, on the floor.
bodies begin to move along with Nestor’s voice,
supervising their movements and guiding them from one
exercise to another. The Hebrew is impeccable, the
guidance clear and accurate. The pace allows for some time
of rest, and the movements well directed and supervised.
than an hour, the guide will show up: a local, Hebrew
speaking Jewish man who will take the couple to the death
sites of hundreds of thousands of Jews. He will describe
the ghetto and the battles; will lead them from house to
house and point at the stone boards commemorating the
deceased; will drive them to nearby and faraway forests,
to stand in front of piles of dirt covering the shot and
the incinerated. But for now, till they rise from the
floor, they are with Nestor, who thanks them and whom they
thank for faithfully accompanying them, from country to
country, from place to place.
An old hotel at the city of Delhi, India. A huge city of
millions of residents and inhabitants. Time: a morning in
the end of January. This morning here, the next morning
elsewhere, in their journey in India. The couple is weary
from long days and visits to castles, markets, palaces,
evening they return, their heads blow up with smells,
colors and sounds, absorbed in constantly moving swarms of
people, and in sensual experiences that need yet to be
digested. Who is the couple’s best friend in such times?
Nestor! He keeps guiding, in his continuous, clear voice,
with his confident knowledge as to what to do, how to do
and how much. The bodies are moving and the minds racing.
The instructions keep asking for “small movements” and “do
not hurry” – but the visit to India is made of big, fast,
Nestor says his thanks at the end of the lesson, the
couple gather themselves: they thank Nestor, happy to have
him with them in this huge country and endless city, and
in this unknown world. Nestor is with them everywhere.
Mid-March, 2004. The back is tense, the shoulder hurts,
the left leg is aching to fall out of place. We did not
practice Feldenkrais for a few days.
back home and immediately renewed contact with Nestor
Levin’s Feldenkrais center. The room is heated, the
students lie on supportive mattresses, the movements are
familiar but diverse, the body stretched, rust all gone,
and at the end of the lesson, the feeling is of joy and
relief. We are assisted by Nestor Levin, who will return
the vitality and youth to our bodies.