Sing & Heal

My singers have a ritual when they come for lessons. The tea kettle is turned on, and they make themselves a cuppa. It brews while we warm up, and before long they're happily sipping between exercises. As singers, our bodies are our instruments, and we must learn to maintain them. Voice lessons with me often include tips and suggestions ...

Read More

SUPER STOCK! Immune boosting soup to fend off the ick.

As the Heartstone Herbal School "Food Goddess", I've had a LOT of requests for recipes over the years. This is one I've been making each season when the students study the immune system. The stock (veggie or bone based) is infused with herbal magic to fend off the baddies. The soup itself, reminiscent of Thai Tom Kha, is finished with an extra kick that will have the germs running for the hills!

Read More

Cabaret teaser video!

Rehearsal for "The Musical Theater Geek's Guide to History" was awesome today! These young men and women sound amazing!! 

What's even more satisfying for me is hearing the potential in each and every voice. And rewarding to hear past students coming into their own. Here is Sari Koppel in rehearsal singing "At the Glen" from Dessa Rose.

I do hope you can join us tomorrow to see Sari and many other fantastic singers in person. 3:00 pm at the UU church in Ithaca. For more information: http://www.bodysongcenter.com/#/vocal-studies/

Read More

Voice Scholarship Fund Supports Local Teen

It has been said that art imitates everything from life to bad tv to high school. In our ever-evolving attempt to comprehend and connect to the human experience, we are driven to create.

A few years back, my voice students begged me to let them put on a Cabaret. Not just a recital where they stand there and sing some nice songs, sometimes in Italian. But a true performance where THEY got to choose what to sing and how to put it all together.

They are truly artists. The urge to create and express something overwhelms them. Something deep in their hearts pushes them to perform, to sing, to express this thing about living that can't be expressed otherwise.

"So can we do it? a Cabaret?" 

I said, "SURE! You're on." And then, they insisted that they had friends with this same drive. This same desire to learn how to refine their singing to help them tell their stories too. "They needed the help of a teacher like you!" they said.

"But they can't afford it.

Can we create a Scholarship for them?" 

Out of the generosity of past and current students emerged the now-annual Body Song Cabaret, a scholarship fundraiser to support students in need. Each year, one student comes to study with me based on the support of this scholarship fund. So far, it hasn't quite been enough to support tuition 100%. But it certainly helps.

(For more information about this year's March 19th Cabaret, "the Musical Theater Geek's Guide to History" including performance details click here.)

Read More

FeldenWHAT?!

I have a branding problem.

And it's an F word. 

When I first started my practice back in 2006, I would attend networking events. Eagerly and nervously awaiting my "elevator speech" moment (you know that moment when you have to introduce yourself and talk about what you do in 20 seconds or less), I would practice in my head. I thought I had it DOWN. But I didn't. Not really. 

Now. I am a performer. I grew up in the theater. Was literally on stage in utero, and haven't gotten down since. I went to college for vocal performance. I have sung and taught in front of thousands of people. I know a thing or two about how to speak to a crowd. I got this. 

But here's the thing. I would start my introduction, and as soon as I got past my name, people would glaze over. I lost them at one simple word.

Feldenkrais. (still with me?)  

It's what I do. It's what I love. It's what I deeply believe helps the people I work with. But it's no longer how I introduce myself.

That's me giving a one-on-one Functional Integration lesson. 

That's me giving a one-on-one Functional Integration lesson. 

Now I say that I "help people learn to move better" or "sing better", "dance better." I say, I can teach you to "ease pain and discomfort" or "improve performance, flexibility, and strength." And eventually we get around to HOW I do that with the Feldenkrais Method.

 

"FeldenWHAT?!"

NO - not "felt in Christ" - no religious affiliations here. No energy work. Nothing like that. A movement method based in science that works with your body and nervous system. It's pretty cool. I have lots of explanations for what I do and why I choose to do it. But, dear reader, I thought perhaps you would appreciate an explanation from an outside source. 

Dr. Andrew Weill does a nice job here:

"The Feldenkrais Method has demonstrated success in the rehabilitation of stroke victims and others suffering from neurological injuries (brain tumors, head trauma, multiple sclerosis and ataxia) that cause disordered movement or a lack of coordination.
Patients with orthopedic problems in bones and joints can use the Feldenkrais Method to assist in correcting poor posture or habits of movement that may cause pain. Movement therapies like Feldenkrais can also benefit people who suffer from distorted body images that contribute to eating disorders and other psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety. The exercises can re-educate the brain and nervous system to develop new ways of moving and perceiving the body, as well as elevating mood and increasing overall feelings of well-being."

And I ran across this lovely description on theconverstion.com 

The Feldenkrais Method is a way of exploring movement, posture and breathing through hands-on touch, used by dancers, musicians, athletes, actors and people living with and rehabilitating from a range of illnesses and injuries. Terms integral to the method such as awareness and integration are not easy concepts.
But think of it this way – in order for any system to work at its peak, it needs a mechanism to receive feedback on its performance so that it can adjust and improve.
In Feldenkrais lessons, this ability to attend and respond is systematically practised. Carefully crafted movement sequences are delivered either in class or in one-to-one sessions. 

The bottom line is that I love helping people feel better. My life would not be complete without it. I love what I do and want to share it with the world. My elevator speech is much better these days.

And I'm working in that pesky F word as much as possible too. 


To learn more about Sharon Costianes and the Feldenkrais Method visit, bodysongcenter.com

For information about upcoming classes including livestream Awareness Through Movment classes, click here

Make me feel vital. Make me feel pretty.

I've been seeing a lot of feet lately.

That is, feet who belong to women that are dissatisfied with them.

Their feet are unsightly, painful, disfigured. They have had joints removed, bunions shaved off. They come to me with aching feet, backs, necks and shoulders. Many of these women have been long term high heel wearers. They have prioritized something outside of their own comfort for too long and are now paying the price. We live in a culture that insists that we suffer for fashion. One that insists that as soon as you need to chose a "comfort shoe" you are no longer a vital and beautiful woman. One that suggests women's true power comes only atop a 3 inch stiletto. 

In fact, studies show that women in heels have more power over men. Wearing high heels makes us feel powerful and sexy all at once. But what happens when we can't rock those stilettos anymore? What happens to our powerful, sexy, beautiful and vital self image? 

Many women simply shift to a 'comfort shoe.' I know. I know! It's like a dirty word. Does anyone really want to wear orthodic footwear? And if you must, can you still feel powerful and relevant in today's culture? Luckily shoe companies are responding by making fashionable high heels that are actually comfortable. The comfort shoe is where the women's footwear market has grown most in the past few years. And it's making headlines. Check out this piece that aired on NPR not that long ago as part of a special series "The Changing Lives of Women." 

But what if you don't want to give up your collection of statement heels? What if you want to be able to wear those sexy shoes, even occasionally? Or even more importantly, what if you want to simply not live in pain any more? Because you have a right to that. We all do. And we all inherently have the tools we need to make long lasting change, no matter what shoes we wear. We just need someone to help us learn how. 

So what of the women who come to see me? With the Feldenkrais Method I help them learn to organize their whole body more efficiently so that those poor tootsies aren't having to do all the work themselves. We talk about what shoes to look for. What movements they can practice on their own to help them maintain their health and comfort. 

And they walk out happier. 

To learn more about booking a Feldenkrais session with me, or my workshop, How to Glide in High Heels, visit bodysongcenter.com

Gratitude and Honey Sweetened Cranberry Sauce

Each November, if only for one day, we pause as a nation to share what we are grateful for. This  year, I am particularly grateful for my work. It feels like a dream some days that I can support my family doing the healing work that I love. Whether it is on a Feldenkrais table, or class, or teaching a singing lesson, there is a sweetness to my day that leaves me happier and more fulfilled without fail. So as I prepare for the holiday meal with my family, I want to say thank you. And share some deliciousness. A honey sweetened cranberry sauce recipe that came out oh so delicious!

Read More

New downtown Ithaca location

I've been working in my new office this past week, and LOVE it. The atmosphere is calm and serene without feeling fragile or delicate. There's a touch of whimsy. And at the same time it is inspiring. I share this utopia with two other talented women who I refer to without hesitation. It's perfect. 

Starting now, you can find me for Feldenkrais Functional Integration (FI) sessions at Norabloom on the newly renovated Commons in downtown Ithaca.

bodysongcenter.com for more information and to book an FI online.