Why is Karen Douglas de Fenzi doing this?

de FENZI Movement

What is it for?
To find your own space ~ if you don’t want to be spoken to in the mornings until you’ve had a cup of coffee ~ if you were rubbish at school sports but still want to feel fit ~ if you’re exhausted or functioning at 30% and want to feel your energy and boost your brain power then de Fenzi Movement can help you wake up refreshed with a spring in your step. You can learn how to…
…unlearn repetitive body-brain habit patterns you have developed in response to modern living, e.g. high performance working environments…

…remember what you’ve forgotten about living and feeling well, despite life’s stress points

What is it?
de Fenzi Movement is a simple, safe and low key self-exploration of movement reminding you of how relaxed muscles actually feel. The movements, designed by Thomas Hanna, are subtle yet powerful. Karen Douglas de Fenzi is a somatic educator in the tradition of Thomas Hanna. The movements are done slowly, with maximum conscious attention, so the brain as well as the body is exercised.

How can it make a difference for me?
As you learn and begin to recognise, for yourself, the difference in feeling between feeling tight, stiff and sore muscles (that are partially contracted all the time) and muscles that are fully lengthened and relaxed, you will find the benefit of knowing yourself better.

Why is Karen Douglas de Fenzi doing this?
My motivation in founding de Fenzi Movement is witnessing first-hand the devastation people can experience in their lives when they become incapacitated by physical and emotional pain and don’t know what to do about it. In practical terms the movements give internal direction towards self-reliance in times of adversity and encourage a fresh and new perspective no matter what the challenges are ahead. We can find, for ourselves, what is most important in maintaining health, vitality and resilience.
JANUARY small group sessions in hanna somatics  COCKERMOUTH
SATURDAYS  9. 30 ~ 11. 30 am   7th. 14th. & 21st.
Quaker Meeting House, Kirkgate CA13 9PH

Becoming aware of events in my body

becoming aware of events in my body

It was a day in town with my three children when I first realised, fully, that my body wasn’t letting me do what I wanted it to do. An MRI scan and diagnosis of spondylosis later, I refused to accept high dose steroid injections into my lower spine. All my instincts told me not to stop doing all the things I enjoyed in life that involved moving my body freely ~ to me movement is health; if we keep moving we keep healthy.

With hanna somatics I have learned that it is not simply about identifying with and relieving my pain, it is much more than that. It is not just muscles, either, it’s a proprioceptive system (the ability of the brain to feel different parts of the body in relation to each other); and it is not just a proprioceptive system it is the very quality of life itself.

The movements designed by Thomas Hanna, are light, subtle and soft and because they are practiced with maximum conscious attention on the internal sensations of movement, the brain as well as the body is exercised.

It is rather like becoming an explorer, coming to know ourselves from within by mapping out our own internal cartography. If we can sense and feel it we can change it and do something about it in terms of our health.

DECEMBER small group sessions in hanna somatics

 Quaker Meeting House, Cockermouth.

Saturday 3rd. 10th. and 17th. December from 9.30 to 11.30 am


strength is not hardness

Hanna Somatic Education (HSE) puts you back in touch with your muscles so that you can reconnect with your body. If you can feel your muscles, you can control them and know yourself better in your whole living process.

Let’s say a person has continually sore muscles in their lower back. They may find the muscles either side of the spine, left and right, will feel hard. Usually a person with hard muscles is quite anxious, has some injury or for various reasons higher levels of stress in their system. This is why their muscles get hard and tight, they cannot relax them even lying down.

Hard muscles are a sure sign, not of strength, but of constricted range in movement. Muscles have natural elasticity and ability both to contract, or shorten, their entire length and then lengthen fully until they are completely at rest. Rather than being able to fully relax their entire length, hard muscles remain partially contracted all the time, leaving us fatigued.

HSE is a sensory-motor learning which improves voluntary control of muscles so that range and freedom of movement grows. Hard, continually contracted muscles can not only become stronger, softer and more supple, with practice they will stay relaxed.

Introductory somatic exercise sessions in Cockermouth;

1st. 8th. 15th. October
3rd. 10th. 17th. December

9.30 ~ 11.30 am Quaker Meeting House, Kirkgate


I wrote the article, below, for this month’s Cockermouth Post;


freedom to shape your living experience

Somatic education was originated by the American philosopher Thomas Hanna, in 1976, to label the self-regulation capacities of the soma: the body experienced from within. He emphasised the person as central to the process of moving toward wellness and full functioning. Somatics addresses mind-body integration and wholeness.

Hanna’s concept of sensory motor amnesia refers to the tendency for humans to unconsciously “forget” certain movements or habituate ways of organising muscles or muscle groups, leaving the muscles chronically contracted.

Hanna Somatic Education can help a person reduce accumulated muscle contraction. Focusing attention on the internal sensations of movement while moving slowly and gently gives the brain the chance to notice what is happening in the body. Rather like slow-motion films are essential in sports training because they allow athletes to study details of a movement or play.

The effects of somatic exercise are cumulative and can help us recover free use of our body, actualise more potential, sleep better, develop relaxation skills, and achieve a greater sense of wholeness.

Movement of the Jaw

The idea for my up and coming workshop came from my experience of hardly being able toKaren Douglas de Fenzi. Senhouse Centre open my mouth and chew, without discomfort and pain, following dental treatment. I researched into the functioning of the jaw in humans and found that we are rather like alligators and crocodiles in this respect! One muscle opens the mouth, the Lateral Ptergoid, whereas three powerful muscles close the mouth; we are better at biting in other words. I have learned that the jaw moves from the back by sliding and dropping forward. The ability of the jaw to move forward is the ability to open the mouth.

Come along to my next monthly workshop to relieve tension in the jaw, skull, neck and shoulders by exploring yourself, through movement. Any mystery about the temperomandibular joint (TMJ) will be taken away and you will learn how to loosen the upper body and neck-shoulder coordination. With practice you can find for yourself how to feel good from the inside. 



de Fenzi Movement & The World Health Innovation Summit

Strengthening the Role of ill-Health Prevention

fair-society-healthy-lives-the-marmot-review-ilaria-geddes-1-638I was reading Allerdale Borough Council’s 2015-19 health and wellbeing strategy, based on the 2010 Marmot review. Although a forum has been set up with various representatives from different organisations, my question is “how” can individuals practically become more involved in their own health and wellbeing maintenance The Marmot Review

One of the key messages of the Marmot Review is that if physically inactive people become active, then health inequalities narrow and the role of ill-health prevention is strengthened. As a body movement educator, the answer to my earlier question would be to help people find for themselves, what feels right and what doesn’t from within their own body. Identifying with the status of our own health, to me, is the first step in moving us into being “fully engaged” in thinking how our choices impact on others.  The Wanless Report emphasises how sound support can empower people to be “fully engaged”

This month de Fenzi Movement starts free body strain relief classes in Keswick and Cockermouth with the objective of supporting phase two of Cumbria Community Foundation flood relief programme. You can learn for yourself how to relieve tension throworld_health-457x500ughout your whole body, maintain resilience and find a clear perspective in difficult times. My experience tells me that once we know, for and by ourselves, how to identify and measure our health related quality of life for independent living, preventing disease, energy balance and weight control, we strengthen our role in ill-health Prevention. 

This article has been published live on the World health Innovation Summit website:-


Free Body Strain Relief Classes

In support of phase two of the Cumbria Community Foundation Flood Relief Programme de Fenzi Movement is offering free Body Strain Relief classes as follows:-

EVERY FRIDAY at Greta Gardens Activities Room  KESWICK                          10 am – 12 noon  Starting 8 January

EVERY THURSDAY at the Eco Centre COCKERMOUTH                                   5.30 – 7 pm  Starting 14 January

If you are unable to arrive exactly on time that’s okay.

Eco Centre

The simple, gentle body movements Karen teaches are accessible to all, irrespective of age, mobility and level of previous experience of physical activity. Come along and learn how to: 

Relieve tension throughout your whole body, maintain resilience and gain a clear perspective on things, for yourself.

Venues arranged by Cumbria County Council and Cockermouth School.

The Top 7 Discoveries Shared by de Fenzi Movement Clients

“The pain I have been experiencing for months in my left shoulder and thought would never go away, has now gone. Whenever I have the thought the pain may return, I know what to do”

“I feel that I really know what relaxed means, after this”

“This is not just about relieving my hip and lower back pain, it is far more than that”

“My breathing has been very difficult and I have been under a lot of pressure lately, but I can feel the difference through the movement”

“I’ve found I really can concentrate on the movements”

“It’s very helpful to be able to focus and get the mind totally still”

“It feels like my whole body is unravelling rather like a toffee wrapper”

Curves and de Fenzi Movement

Learn How to Relieve Your Body After Injury

Curves of Workington in association with de Fenzi Movement offer you an hour’s class scheduled for Saturday 23 January from 2-3pm. Karen Douglas de Fenzi will guide you through a simple sequence of gentle movements that are accessible to all, irrespective of age, mobility and previous experience of physical activity. 

In this one hour class you will…

…be introduced to how you can find for yourself what feels right for your own body to relieve tension, discomfort or pain after injury

…learn for yourself how a tight, tense muscle feels compared to muscles that become relaxed

Contact Karen on 07515 884 640 for further information and to reserve your place

de Fenzi Movement