Sarah King’s ELDOA classes are very popular. So popular that you have to register well in advance if you want to get a place. It is unusual for such a special class to be so well received – and it is even more surprising since this is only the fourth grade Sarah King teaches at this location. But once you have tried ELDOA, you will always come back.
The method was originally developed by the French osteopath Guy Voyer to heal back pain. But during the research he managed to create a kind of wonder weapon. “He found that if space is made and the tissue between the vertebrae relaxed, any other muscle, tissue, or fascia that is supplied by the nerves going there will benefit from this movement,” explains Sarah. “So the people who do this exercise come back and report that their neck feels better and they have no more headaches. Or their back pain decreased and they no longer suffered from menstrual cramps. ”
Voyer teaches postures and body weight exercises that target the deep-seated fascia in specific areas of the body. “That’s why it’s so challenging,” says Sarah. “Because you use your own tension and strength to create space in the joints. No machines or props. Just you and your body – that makes you strong. ” Sarah says that for many people with chronic pain, the effects of this class are so evident that they immediately become a part of their lives. That’s probably why the course is so full tonight.
Sarah is seated on a mat at the front of the room next to a Buddha statue holding incense sticks. Her face is calm and relaxed, and warm light envelops her. She speaks with a soft, American accent as she gives the new entrants an overview of what to expect. “If you’ve never been to this class before, know that we will have postures for one minute at a time,” says Sarah. “It might feel a little strange at first, and if you need to take a break, don’t just let yourself go. Make sure that you always slowly release yourself from the posture. ” This is the first Flexibility class I go to that has such a little warning. Because it’s not a normal stretch either.
We start with the warm-up, raise our arms above our heads and stretch through our pelvis. Breathing is essential for stretching. And as I stretch my spine more than I ever thought possible, Sarah talks about the connections in the body and recites scientific-sounding words like “myofascial biomechanics”. She tells us to breathe through our groins, which I didn’t understand, but it’s comforting to hear Sarah explain. Even if I don’t understand a single word, I try to visualize it.
Every exercise is designed to create more space between our vertebrae in the back to release tension and relieve pain. Sarah comes from Pilates, but friends in Louisiana encouraged her to take her first ELDOA class. “I was in a group class and when I came out I thought‘ Oh how great, what just happened to my body? ”
And immediately she was addicted to it. “I wanted to know how it worked, so I started learning it. I’ve always had lower back and joint pain – and immediately felt the positive difference. ” The founding father sees ELDOA as the perfect addition to the regular training program. “He thinks there’s no point doing this workout if you’re not moving around properly,” says Sarah.
Every exercise promotes flexibility and mobility. Each posture and stretch is focused on a different part of the body and during the entire class Sarah leads us into impossible positions. We fold like origami – arms, legs, shoulders, and heads at strange and unusual angles. Our eyes are also involved. Every time we stretch, we should look in a certain direction, under the strict instruction not to close it. Sometimes I feel like my shoulders shift or my spine is stretching so much that I can’t move it back. But after every exercise I feel my body relax. Over time, I become a looser, more pliable version of who I used to be and it feels amazing. No wonder it’s addicting, I think.
For the grand finale of our ELDOA class, we put our mats to one side and lift our legs up so that our buttocks touch the wall. Sarah guides us through a series of exercises that will free up space in our knees and ankles and loosen the last joints of our body.
Guy Voyer believes that “you are your own best therapist” and just one or two ELDOA exercises a day can have a significant effect. In Sarah’s classes you will learn how to do the exercises and there is a lot of energy and joy from her. Sarah loves what she does. She is on a mission to bring people into a pain-free state without the need for heavy medication and expensive physical therapy. “I started out as an acupuncturist and worked against pain. At some point I realized that a lot of people get pain from wrong training or bad posture. I did most of the ELDOA training program – mostly in the US. Now I live in Berlin, but I also travel to London for training. ” For Sarah, studying her body is an endless source of fascination. And there is always more to learn. “I’m going to Montreal soon to study the basin in detail.” Sarah laughs happily. “It’s a very expensive and time-consuming passion.”