What is Balance?

Intro Classes

History

Testimonials

Classes

Intensives

Yoga

Teachers

Teacher Training

Balance Center on YouTube

Video

Contact

Teachers

At the Balance Center, all teachers have been personally certificed by Jean Couch in the methodology she has deveoloped to teach Balance. Teachers each bring a wealth of prior educational and physical expertise to the Balance studio, and each imparts a unique perspective and style to the student's experience while teaching the fundamentals of Balance personally and effectively.

Jean Couch is the author of The Runner's Yoga Book, which has sold over 150,000 copies. Jean has presented workshops and lectures throughout the U.S. and Canada on yoga, movement, stretching for runners, and Balance. Over two decades ago, Balance helped her eliminate sciatica, back pains, pronounced kyphosis and a dowager's hump. She has since devoted herself to spreading spinal health and back relief through Balance. Empirical research of populations with little or no back/joint pain has given her an extraordinary sense of optimal mechanical alignment of the human structure. In teaching her passion across the United States to people of all ages, she has helped people manifest the functionality, efficiency and pleasure inherent in their own bodies: whether it's freeing someone from back, neck, shoulder, knee or hip pain or helping an amateur or professional athlete maximize performance through efficient, natural alignment. Jean gives students the keys to body awareness, allowing them to experience the intelligence inherent in their own body. Balance provides a vital context for exploring body, mind and soul. Jean's vision is that anyone brave enough to explore Balance is fully deserving of the liberation and lightness that is our birthright. With a deep appreciation of the potential of the human body, she is holding the space for you to feel more like you want to.

Since 1988 she has been involved in empirical research studying populations of people who have no back or joint pain. She is the Founder and Director of the Balance Center, where she has developed methods for teaching concrete guidelines for pain free posture. She teaches Balance, yoga, and the Balance Teacher Certification Course. Jean has a B.A. from the University of Iowa and a Master's Degree from Stanford University in Education. Sources such as The Yoga Journal describe her as an "extraordinary teacher." She is an inspirational speaker, and has dedicated her life to helping people conquer their pain. She can help you conquer yours.


Jennifer ShererJennifer Sherer is a Certified Balance Instructor. Jenn found the Balance Center through her own back pain which has been plaguing her on and off for 25 years. She used to believe that her back, shoulder, knee, foot pain and any overall body tightness was caused by aging or genetics. Having experienced pelvis and bone alignment of Balance, she understands that the aging feeling isn't aging, but chronic tightness ignored until it becomes pain. Balance has helped her revitalized muscles and restored spaciousness amongst her bones. She has learned how to trouble shoot her own pain through body awareness attained by practicing Balance Guidelines. Jenn has B.S. in Product Design Engineering from Stanford University, and more importantly, she's pain free and feels younger and stronger now than she did 5 years ago. She's passionate about having others discover the potential of their bodies at any age, because she knows that the despair of a deteriorating body doesn't have to be tolerated. She loves to give others hope and help them unwind their bodies understanding the physics of their flesh and bone. In her spare time she enjoys golf, tennis, dancing, biking, sailing, walking and spending time with her husband and three children.


Janet CookJanet Cook, is a Certified Balance Instructor, a California licensed Certified Massage Practitioner specializing in elder and balance-related massage, and a long time yoga practitioner. Janet enjoys teaching all levels at the Balance Center and is a long time massage therapist at Lytton Gardens, a local Senior Community. Introduced to Balance in the late 1990’s by a yoga instructor, Janet was attracted by the rational logic of balance, and stayed on to become a teacher. For years, Janet recognized the lack of symmetry in her own body, saw the regal alignment and effortless movement in balanced cultures during her world travels and wondered from whence her uneven pelvis, slight foot drag and bounce off of door jambs came. Under the tutelage of Noelle Perez, our French mentor and her teachers, and Jean Couch, she came to recognize the effects of scoliosis and began the process of leveling the pelvis, extending the spine, and reducing the awkwardness of a scoliotic body. Janet has a BS from Auburn University in Textile Design. She had a career in project management in pharmaceutical product development before devoting her time to the healing work of balance and massage. She enjoys traveling, kayaking, tennis, backpacking, politics, gardening, and reading. She is most grateful to Jean Couch for providing a community for learning, teaching, caring about underlying structural issues, rather than the treatment of symptoms. Balance, the ultimate yoga journey, has changed her life - physically, emotionally and spiritually.


Jean FarmwaldJean Farmwald starting practicing yoga in 1990, in part, to relieve back pain that she had since the age of 11. Yoga gave temporary relief, but the pain always returned. She also tried massage, chiropractic and physical therapy, with no lasting results. In 2002, she walked, into the Balance Center for the first time and experienced immediate relief from her chronic low back pain. Jean was hooked and stayed on to take classes, eventually completing the 2 years Teachers' Training program. She now teaches Foundations, yoga, privates and at the Balance Center. In the Fall of 2007 she had the privilege of traveling to Paris to study with Noelle Perez at the Institute Aplomb. Jean loves teaching others how to become pain-free through Balanced alignment.


Sukha CarfagnoSukha Carfagno has studied yoga since 1980, beginning with Iyengar, then, Anusara, and finally at the Balance Center. She finds the quiet intelligence of Yoga in Balance most appealing, and appreciates how these movements naturally integrate into the activities of daily life. She holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, and received a degree in Nursing from Deklab Community College in Decatur, GA. Meditation is the foundation of her life, and Balance has transformed her experience of it. She loves sharing this in "The Art of Sitting for Meditation," a workshop she developed for both beginning and seasoned meditators. Sukha enjoys the on-going camaraderie with other teachers at the Balance Center in their study of this art, walking the hills of La Honda where she lives with her husband, and painting avocationally. She is a Certified Balance Instructor, teaching Foundation and yoga classes in addition to workshops.


Thea SawyerThea Sawyer is a highly regarded Certified Balance Instructor (1992), also certified by Noelle Perez at the Aplomb Institute in Paris, France (1997). Thea's empirical studies of healthy posture have taken her to Mexico, Argentina, India, Portugal, France and The Netherlands. She loves to share her knowledge of pain-free posture and how to maintain energetic movement at any age. Before discovering Balance, Thea was living with crippling back pain, scoliosis and lumbar disk damage that limited her activities, sapped her energy and profoundly affected her life. Frustrated with physical therapy and exercises that brought no relief, learning Balance made a difference right away. As she began to feel and release muscular tension her pain diminished. Today her back pains are gone, she is more fit than ever and the healing power of Balance has made her a passionate practitioner.


Laura AlbrechtLaura Albrecht is a Certified Balance Instructor currently living in Santa Cruz, Ca. She finds the intelligence of Balance to be a grounding presence in her life. After her first workshop with Jean Couch in 2009, she was humbled and motivated to learn more. A year-long apprenticeship under the guidance of Jean Couch and other Senior Balance Teachers revealed much about the nature of her sports injuries, back aches, foot pain and often awkward yoga practice. Mostly, it allowed her to inhabit her body with intelligence and poise–something she never felt in all her years of athletics and yoga. Laura holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley where she also played NCAA Division I Soccer. She has studied at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute at Mount Madonna Center (200 hour certification) and holds a Personal Trainer Certificate from the American Council on Exercise. The gentle and sensible guidelines of Balance inform the way she teaches yoga and trains clients. She has experience working with young athletes and people with disabilities. Visit her website www.yogawithlaura.weebly.com for more information on classes or lessons in the Santa Cruz area.


Raymond PeckRaymond Peck is a Certified Balance Instructor. He had back pain since he was a young child, which became severe after he finished his MS in Electrical Engineering at Stanford. He spent the next 10 years trying many modes of treatment for his pain, including Chiropractic, Tai Chi, Alexander Technique and Yoga. All helped to some degree, but the pain would quickly return. In 2001, he took the Intro Class at the Balance Center and could immediately see and feel the clear physical basis of Balance in the slide shows and instructions. A few years later he joined the Teacher program, which he continues weekly, to further his own practice. He has also studied with Noelle Perez in Paris, and other senior Aplomb teachers in Paris and Palo Alto. He has been teaching Foundations classes since 2006.


Kay HackneyKay Hackney lives and teaches in Fairbanks, AK. She began her yoga studies in 1977, was certified to teach by B.K.S. Iyengar in 1995 and studied at the Iyengar Institute in Pune , India in October 1997. In 1998 the Balance work of Jean Couch overwhelmingly changed her life as well as her yoga practice and teaching. She is currently a certified Balance instructor. She extends heartfelt appreciation for her teachers along the life long path of yoga, primarily B.K.S. Iyengar, Lynne Minton and Jean Couch. www.interioryoga.com


Morgan Bursiel, RYTMorgan Bursiel, RYT Morgan Bursiel lives and teaches in Fairbanks, AK. She hails originally from Minnesota and holds degrees in Biology and Women's Studies from St. Olaf College. She is a lifelong student of dance and music and with local musicians, Anam Cara, has released two traditional Celtic recordings. Morgan has enjoyed a personal yoga practice for well over 10 years. After being introduced to Balance, or naturally aligned posture, by Jean Couch, she began studying locally with Kay Hackney. The combination of yoga and natural balance continues to shape and refine the way Morgan approaches movement and the art of being in her body. She appreciates the gifts of this contemplative practice- strength, flexibility, relaxation, and resilience on and off the mat. She continues to broaden her knowledge at local workshops or when traveling. She has studied with Jean Couch, Judith Lasater, Donald Moyer, Mary Lou Weprin, Dean Lerner, Kay Hackney and Lynne Minton. Morgan is deeply grateful to all of her teachers, past and present, for their teachings and inspiration.


Balance Instructors located elsewhere

Dana Davis is a Senior Certified Instructor at the Balance Center. She graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Psychology and has a M.A. in Spirituality from Holy Names College. She graduated from the Authentic Movement Institute and has studied Dance Therapy. As a flamenco dancer Dana performed with Yaelisa and the Solera Flamenco Dance Company, Flamenco de la Bahia, and Sol de Espana. Dana has studied yoga extensively both with Jean Couch and other Iyengar teachers. She teaches Balance and yoga classes. Her teaching style is characterized by being particularly clear and kind, buoyed by a generous sense of humor.


Barbara WilkensBarbara Wilkens is a Certified Balance Instructor. She holds a B.A. and M.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy and has also studied the Taubman approach to the piano. Because Balance was the only approach that gave her relief from her own shoulder and neck pain she includes Balance as well as the Taubman information in her work with RSI and injured musicians. Barbara has performed in the Bay Area and beyond for many years and has recently produced a CD. She has also authored a video "Sitting in Balance at the Piano." You can find more information on her website http://home.earthlink.net/~barbwilkens/index.htm


Jay BunkerJay Bunker is a Certified Instructor who received his doctor of chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College West in 1992. His practice runs the gamut from people suffering with accident or work injuries to helping healthy people of all ages feel better and enjoy life more. He specializes in gentle, low force adjusting styles and a relaxing office atmosphere. His interest in movement education began in 1983 when he studied with Joseph Heller and began practicing as a structural bodyworker. He brings his enjoyment of people and his knowledge of human structure and anatomy into his teaching. Visit Jay's website - www.drjaybunker.com


Theresia Sawyer in San Jose and Saratoga


Teaching Methods
The Balance Center is a teaching institution. While we continue to do original research into Balance, our main contribution to Balance is in the teaching. Jean Couch has developed a visionary method for making concepts of Balance clear, accessible and individualized to all students. All Balance Center teachers share concrete guidelines and specific directions, combined with a hearty respect for each student. We take pride in learning from everyone who studies with us.

•The teaching at the Balance Center is concrete and specific. For example, you will be instructed while sitting to move your back in a particular way so you feel your body weight in your buttock bones.

•Much of the teaching is done through contrasting how you feel and look when you are in and out of Balance. Looking at yourself in a mirror, you will see when you stand in Balance your legs are vertical, when you stand out of Balance your legs are slanted.

•You will learn to distinguish the difference between relaxation and tension. Stressed areas of your body are tense. It is crucial that you learn to perceive your tension. You will have many experiences of tightening and loosening your back, and tight areas specific to you. Relaxation is a key component of being Balanced. Relaxation is a key component of reducing pain.

•Each Foundations class has slide shows to give you visual images of how people look in and out of Balance. The people pictured come from all over the globe- Portugal, Bali, Peru, Greece. They vary in age from toddlers to seniors. They come from all walks of life -construction workers, great athletes, and computer scientists. You will see images of people standing, sitting, sleeping, walking, bending, lifting, and carrying. These images help you understand the characteristics of balance and motivate you to practice.

•The teaching is interactive so students are encouraged to ask questions and comment to help everyone understand the guidelines of Balance. Instructors are skilled in listening. Only you know how you feel and it helps us guide you when you tell us what's going. We want to be in conversation with you. Learning Balance is accelerated when the experience is collaborative.

•Instructors will place you in Balance and give you individual feedback. You will get the feel of Balance and be given individualized directions appropriate for you.

•You evaluate how you feel at the beginning and at the end of the Foundation Series and measure your progress. You will also learn to use a plumb line to qualitatively measure Balance while standing.

•While the instruction is serious the tone is encouraging, up beat, and inspirational. The curriculum for Foundations is predetermined but is taught informally so that the environment is relaxing. Balance consists of aligning the bones naturally and relaxing. We do all we can to make people comfortable emotionally so the body can relax. Our teachers are optimistic because we have seen so many people get better. Many times people with long-term pain are discouraged because nothing has worked. We welcome people like this because students who practice get better. It's easy to be enthusiastic because we have such a consistent track record of success with difficult cases!

Click here to read reviews of our classes by students.


Testimonials | Intro Classes | Classes | Yoga | Contact Us
Copyright © 2001-2014 Balance Center

 


 
  I am happy to report that I spent 6 comfortable hours on a pint-sized children's chair at a staff meeting to plan for the coming year. While my colleagues crossed and uncrossed legs, slumped over the table, lay on the floor, I relaxed contentedly in my chair. Thank you for helping me make this small significant step.
--S.S., preschool teacher