"Our basic philosophy is, we want to help people create lifestyles that are free from pain and stress," said Amy Erez, who, with her husband Ofer, offer a series of techniques and disciplines called Sugi Health and Fitness.
The name Sugi (with a hard 'g') was selected because it represents the cedar tree in Japanese, Amy said, and their last name, Erez, means cedar in Hebrew. But Sugi also means eternity, holiness and peace in Japanese, and those reflect the goals of the Sugi Health and Fitness methods.
"We help people to make changes in the way they think, act, move and relate emotionally, and the choices they make in their lives, so they can live higher quality lives," Amy said. "We have a variety of ways we do that. We have similar but varied backgrounds in terms of training. I work a lot more with people on the emotional level and looking at the connection of what they're experiencing physically, and what their emotional process is. If someone comes with in physical pain, I can help them recognize how their emotions, eitiher past or present, experiences of stress have helped create that physical expression. We might use a combination of spiritual counseling and hands-on energetic work, moving the energy to help them release the physical pattern."
While Amy works on the emotional aspects of pain, Ofer provides his own style of yoga, in which he emphasizes skill of movement rather than exertion. His style is a combination of yoga and the Feldenkrais method, tailored to his own theory that "progress is not dependant upon the amount of effort you put in. Fitness can be improved without the effort associated with it. There is a whole set of techniques I've developed for working with people. As a baby, you couldn't play the piano, but now you train yourself to do that. Almost any movement in life had to be learned. If it's a skill, it can be improved without putting so much effort into it. I've gotten more and more into viewing the way people move and their health, aches and pains, as a result of insufficient skill of movement."
Ofer gave the example of one of his patients, a young man with chronic low back pain, who was diagnosed with a cracked vertebrae in his lower back. Rather than try and fix the structural problem, Ofer said, he worked with the young man to help him learn to move differently. Within three sessions, he was free of pain.
"It's very powerful to look at things from a movement perspective," he said. "Improve the skill and reduce the effort."
"Movement is a big word for us," Amy agreed. "We use the title Movement Specialists."