Pat Barragan Co-Founder, GCFP Emeritus
Growing up, I always dreamed of being a dancer, and I was very lucky to be able to fulfill this dream. For three years I was in the Gloria Newman Dance Theater, a modern dance troupe. I went on to develop the Ballet Folklorico Mexicapan with Benjamin Hernandez. Mexicapan featured Mexican folk dance, and I directed the troupe for 12 wonderful years.
In dance there are always little aches and pains. As I got older, these little aches and pains became BIG aches and pains to the point where I was no longer able to dance. While trying everything I could find to rehabilitate, I was introduced to the Feldenkrais Method®. I was amazed at how much better I felt in my body and how centered it made me feel as a human being. All the passion I had for dance now went into the study of Feldenkrais.
The same day of Ballet Mexicapan’s final performance for the Cultural Olympics in 1984, I left to begin my Feldenkrais training in San Rafael, California at Dominican College. I didn’t know anyone at my training, but I knew that this was the path to my future.
In 1987, my final year of Feldenkrais training, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I was exhausted at my training but managed to push through. I have utilized all the teachings from my training and experience as a practitioner to help myself. As I work with clients with a wide range of problems, my knowledge is stimulated to connect and expand and change like a kaleidoscope in my nervous system. These expanded connections not only allow me to help my clients in new and inventive ways; they allow me to heal myself in exponentially diverse directions. The Feldenkrais Method has saved my body, mind and soul.
I believe in the Feldenkrais Method’s ability to help develop awareness of body movement and potential. It is a revolutionary approach to understanding human development and our potential to adapt and change. Because of my personal journey, I feel most connected to people who have experienced trauma and pain, loss of positive body image and fear of not recovering. I help people reclaim hope. After a 25-year commitment to the Center for Physical Health, I am moving to Santa Cruz to be closer to family and to share my experience and compassion with a new geographic community.