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BUZZ from Sandy

Sandy Kessler running one of her classes. Shalom Brenner is in the background

I suddenly started limping like an old crock. I dashed to the knee doc who decided I needed a back MRI. However, the Boss would have none of that and dragged me off to her exercise class. My first surprise was that after a few months of BUZZing with Sandy, I can again keep up with my wife. So I decided to interview Sandy.

Sandy, yours is the first exercise class I've ever taken that ends before I start asking myself "OMG when will this end?" What is it that gives us all this BUZZ?

Sandy: Well, BUZZ is not stretch-till-you-groan, it's really fun. This way it can become part of everyday life. BUZZ is based on Feldenkrais; however, in BUZZ we put our emphasis on strength, rhythm, and energy efficiency. BUZZ has a lot of playfulness built into it and you can make it as energetic as you like by adapting the range and the speed of the movements to your mood or need. None of the exercises are difficult and they are based on enhancing flexibility and rhythm, on streamlining movements and eliminating unnecessary force. This does not mean not working hard - it's definitely a challenge to engage those muscles and joints that have been neglected because of overwork of others. Releasing ourselves from old habits in the way we move, and enhancing our rhythm promote flexibility, creativity and initiative in the way we think and communicate with others. I call the method BUZZ because it sets up a buzz that goes from the tip of the toes to the top of the head. This buzz prepares our bodies for anything that may happen at any moment. We don't spend all our time lying on the mat, lots of the time we're standing up and through firm contact with the floor, BUZZ distributes the movement in a logical and efficient way. This gives more respect to the skeletal structure, strengthens the bones, and releases tension that may have built up in different parts of our body.

I'm surprised to see so many men in our class. Is BUZZ an old man's aerobics?

On the contrary! I originally developed the method for athletes while running a therapeutic riding center near Jerusalem. Riders who develop their personal rhythm are better able to connect with the rhythm of the horse. I found that the more I BUZZed the better my riding and that of my clients. Every athlete – no matter what the kind of sport - needs to develop rhythm. BUZZ develops agility and flexibility by distributing one's energy and strength in the most effective way throughout the body. For athletes this enhances performance and prevents injury. I've also worked with basketball players, dancers, cyclists and swimmers. In Utah mountain climbers and skiers are starting to BUZZ. It is also useful for disabled riders and I have conducted workshops with the blind, helping to develop their body awareness before mounting. This contributes immensely to their riding performance.

As to your question, in my opinion men enjoy and benefit from BUZZ because it enables them to develop their physical capabilities in a way which is not intimidating or invasive. It actually helps develop sensuality in movement that is lacking in most physical training methods for men.

Since each person has their own goals and is free to choose their own pace, you will find people from teenagers to over 80-year olds BUZZing away in classes and private lessons. BUZZ improves balance, breathing, and stamina at any age.

My knee is now okay. Does this mean that in a while my old body and mind will be as flexible as yours?

I don't know who decided you can't teach an old dog new tricks because of course you can! In fact recent research shows that one makes new brain cells in old age and that exercise is the best way to improve cognitive function including memory. Memory training using computer exercises does help one find one's car keys; however they don't generate new brain cells or connections. BUZZ, by letting us try out new possibilities and change old patterns, can slow down the aging process, both physical and mental.

Is anyone else teaching this method?

I have a training course in BUZZ for sports teachers lined up. This will complement other training methods, improve the level of performance of the teachers themselves and ultimately therefore of their students. In the meantime I have taught this method to my sister, who is a yoga teacher living in Utah.

Sandy Kessler was born in Seattle and made aliyah in 1969. She has a B.A. from the Hebrew University, is a certified therapeutic riding and Pilates instructor and has been teaching Feldenkrais for 24 years. Sandy BUZZes around at clubs in and around Jerusalem, does workshops for company retreats and has a special Join-in demo class for retirement homes. You can see her video at and website 



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Thursday, 25 July 2024

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