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    Raye Kahn Movement: Rooted, Radical, and Resilient Movement for All Bodies

    By Raye Kahn–

    “One of the things I love about working with you is how I can just be myself here.”

    —client

    As a movement teacher who specializes in working with people who have spinal cord injuries and other neurological conditions, I am familiar with working with populations that might not be able to work out at a commercial gym due to inaccessibility, discomfort, and not feeling safe. This includes many of my queer clients who prefer to work with a queer instructor because it feels safer and just more … natural.

    I have been teaching people how to move since 2008. I developed my fascination with the human body while growing up playing soccer from an early age. That fascination stayed with me through college while serving as captain of the UC Davis Women’s Division I soccer team. After working with children who have Cerebral Palsy, I pivoted towards working with people who have spinal cord injuries and other neurological conditions.

    I continued with my education to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher (NCPT), and a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT). I use a combination of Pilates, functional and floor-based movement, strength training, visual and vestibular work, and breathing techniques to help my clients re-establish their mind-body connection, re-train their nervous system, and reach their movement goals.

    This often looks very different from client to client depending on their goals. One of my clients, with a cervical spinal cord injury, has a goal to sit tall on her own and hold a cup of coffee, while my other client, who has Multiple Sclerosis, set a goal to hold a one-minute bridge to help her transfer more easily in and out of her wheelchair. And by the way, she recently crushed that goal by holding a two-minute bridge! 

    One of my queer client’s goals is to feel more comfortable, at ease (and without pain), and more at home in their own body. I tell my clients that all of them—their stories, their tears, their sweat, their swear words—are always welcome in my studio. In fact, they are encouraged. Everyone is on their own healing movement journey and I am often in awe as I witness them. 

    When a client can bring their full self into my studio, that means they feel safe. When they feel safe—to move, to be themselves, to explore movement with curiosity and bravery as opposed to fear, shame, or guilt—growth happens. They learn to trust themselves again. I often remind them th

    at they are the experts of their own bodies. I’m just here to help out.

    As a certified massage therapist, I will often use bodywork intertwined with a movement session. I have found that although bodywork by itself is amazing, and intentional movement by itself is amazing, when you can combine the two, magic happens. I am currently learning two forms of bodywork through the Barral Institute. I am practicing Neural Manipulation (imagine a gentle massage to free your entrapped nerves) and Visceral Manipulation (imagine a gentle massage to free your organs), which help restore balance throughout these two systems.

    My goal is to continue to intertwine bodywork with movement to help my clients achieve their goals in the most efficient way possible. I also hope to expand my practice in the future, to continue teaching educational workshops for clients and teachers, and to always continue my own education on the human body, which never ceases to completely blow my mind.

    Fun Fact: I got married this spring (just before Pride!) and am so grateful for my wife, Mia Cooper Kahn, for all her support and love.

    I’d love to work with you on your movement journey. You can find the services I offer and connect with me at https://rayekahn.com

    Raye Kahn (B.S. Exercise Biology, UC Davis; NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist; Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher; and Certified Massage Therapist) is the Founder of Raye Kahn Movement. Previously Kahn co-founded the nonprofit No Limits Collaborative that provided outdoor recreational activities and educational workshops for people with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities. Kahn also developed and implemented UC Berkeley’s personal training for students with disabilities (formerly known as the No Limits Program), and co-developed the Absolute Endeavor program at Absolute Center in Lafayette.

    Published on August 11, 2022