The English speaking Feldenkreis class is an eclectic lot. We are ladies of indiscernible ages who go to the Senior Citizens Center at Beit HaZahav in Raanana every Monday and Thursday at 12 noon for our twice-weekly shot of exercise.

In all we are nine. We have two ladies in their 80s (who look years younger), a few in their 70s and, of course, the babies in their 60s.

Our teacher, Leah, is,  to one and all, beautiful in mind and body and knows exactly how to train our bodies as to what low-impact exercises we can handle. She is observant, and always dresses and exercises in her hat, trousers and skirt on top of the trousers so she can show us exactly how to do that particular exercise.

The only thing is Leah is French; her English was non-existent when she started with us but we managed, and of course there are always some clever clogs who know a bit of French and translate for us. At the beginning, the parts of the body were a problem for her and for us. Especially the word 'toes'; everybody has a different way of pronouncing 'toes'; the English one way, the Americans another, but the best way for Leah to pronounce the word 'toes' was mine (Scottish) to really get her to roll her tongue around it so that she sounds like she came off the boat from Glasgow.

We did teach her one expression that she had never heard of, and now when we say we have to go to the loo, she understands perfectly.

Some of her French words weren't too difficult for us to understand; "estomac" for example was stomach as we lie on our mats and swing our legs one way and our arms and hips the other. Leah's encouraging voice about breathing thru' our 'estomac' does not stop the grunts and the 'oy veys' emanating from the prone figures.

When we leave after 50 minutes, there is a spring in our steps as we wheel the shopping baskets home and ask ourselves why we do it. Well, the short answer is for our health, so when we shuffle off this mortal coil, at least we can say we never gave up on our bodies, and some mobility was better than no mobility at all.


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Sara Groundland

Sara came to live in Israel with her husband from Glasgow, Scotland in 1983. Her main interests are reading, walking and writing. She reviews the films shown at the ESRA Cinema Club, as well as wri...

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