Eutony is a self-development method created in Germany by Danish-born Gerda Alexander in the 1980s. It is a technique that helps people to achieve physical and mental balance by regulating their muscle tone.
Some years ago, when I was a Journalism student, I documented some eutony classes offered by Uai Q Dança (Uberlândia, Brazil).
At that time, I had a simple camera and little practice with it. Still, it feels good to revisit this material and remember the beautiful stories I’ve heard and how I put my heart into it.
I also did a couple of photos and interviews. Here are excerpts of some of my favorites (free translation).
Sigrid Bitter, former athlete
For people who have spent most of their lives in high-performance sport, body awareness is almost like breathing. But new things are always waiting to be explored by those who don’t get tired of learning.
This is the case of Sigrid Bitter, former gymnast of the Brazilian National Team. Today she is a professor and Ph.D. student at the Federal University of Uberlândia — and the most experienced eutony student at Uai Q Dança.
Sigrid tells how her relationship with her own body has changed since she began practicing eutony:
“Since I have been an elite athlete, my body felt what high level sport means. A requirement that goes beyond the body’s limits. But this is not the case with eutony. Eutony is about respecting and perceiving, in your own time, what you are made of. “
I ask her what is the most surprising thing she has learned about herself as an eutony practitioner so far. She tells: “It’s very funny that I can say that, but in one of the first classes I got to dance with my sacred bone, a part of my body that I had never felt before!”
Milena Penna, student
Eutony is not just for adults. Children also find in this practice a means of improving body and emotions.
With her eyes closed, 11 year-old Milena Penna molds a block of clay in an exercise of touch, sensitivity and perception. When I ask what this moment means to her, she explains in simple words: “Eutony is trust.”
Milena had a bad mood at home and school. When she started participating in eutony sessions, she learned how to deal with her feelings by relaxing her body. She stopped fighting her sister and even improved her handwriting.
“My body was, like… irritated, aching. And my handwriting was a scrawl. Not now. Now it is perfect!”
At the end of our encounter, I ask her what was the thing she likes the most about eutony. A shy yet confident Milena answers: “I feel my body present in my life.”
Alicia Ramos, teacher
Among its many benefits, eutony contributes to the treatment of injuries and health problems, for which individual classes are usually recommended as students receive a directed treatment.
Alicia Ramos, for example, had to interrupt all her physical activities due to severe pain in the basin region. Medical care pointed out three different diagnoses. It was not the possibility of sciatic nerve damage, nor the suspicion of bursitis that left her worried. “At the last moment, the doctor said — and that’s what scared me so much, that I might have a necrosis on the head of my femur,” she says.
“Besides, I was very stressed. I was doing everything in mechanical mode. I was not even feeling the act of eating itself. I didn’t stop to taste the food, to feel anything”.
Recently, Alicia received the results of the last tests and the news are impressive. The exams are normal and she no longer feels pain. Because she has opted for a medication-free treatment, Alicia believes that her health has improved due to the muscular strength and the sense of well being that she gains from eutony practice.
“The feeling I have when I finish all the classes has been the feeling of lightness and surrender. I would do eternal sessions!”