Susan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Michigan State University, a Doctorate of Laws from Indiana University and a Master of Business Administration from Simmons College. Her past certifications are in mediation and project management. A retired lawyer, her legal career included non-profit administration, business and family law, public policy dispute resolution and mediation. Since 1995, she has served on the faculty of Lewis & Clark Law School, teaching dispute resolution skills to graduate students.
Susan is the former Executive Director of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America, and a graduate of an 800 hour Feldenkrais Professional Training Program at the University of Oregon. In 2014 she founded the Feldenkrais Center of Portland.
Her interest in body-mind studies spans 40+ years. After practicing hatha yoga and Transcendental Meditation for four years, she met her teacher Swami Chetanananda. Under his direction over the last 40 years, she has studied Kundalini Yoga, Tantric and Buddhist philosophical texts, mantra, meditation and hatha yoga practices.
She is a past faculty member of The Movement Center 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Program and The Wellspring School For Healing Arts, teaching Awareness Through Movement® classes. Her additional studies have included gemstone energy medicine and Bach flower essences, consistent with her highly intuitive approach to teaching.
A desire to truly assist people in their efforts to enjoy their lives, Susan provides neuromuscular reeducation, gait training and somatic healing yoga lessons to those who suffer from pain and inhibited movement. Conditions include sports injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, back injuries, insomnia and accident recovery. Group and private Feldenkrais lessons are used as a way to improve posture and movement. They are often used as an adjunct to, or instead of, massage and physical therapy.
Susan currently teaches in two locations in Portland, Oregon. She is available for individual Feldenkrais Functional Integration® sessions through the Feldenkrais Center of Portland and teaches introductory meditation classes, somatic yoga group classes, group Awareness Through Movement® lessons and individual somatic healing yoga sessions at The Movement Center.
Her interests include: gardening, cross country skiing, hiking and enjoying the little things in life!
She can be reached at:
I went to Susan to learn more about my own aging body and its movement. We are often not aware of movement and awareness patterns that can result in imbalance or injury. For example, after my first hip replacement my gait still reflected a pre-surgery pattern of limping though I could not feel it. Susan helped my body learn to walk out of that pattern and move more naturally and efficiently. Then as arthritis gradually degraded my remaining hip, she helped me find ways to move that not only were more efficient, but also reduced the chronic pain.
Two profoundly useful insights have come out of our sessions over time. First was the ability to feel the difference between restful and excessively effortful states in my joints and limbs. This helped me relax, improved my sleep, and reduced discomfort on walking tremendously. It also helped me discover more fluid, safe, and useful movement practices. Second, through gentle touch and manipulation, Susan has helped me feel how my body learns and supports itself. Often the two sides of our bodies are quite different; but they communicate and learn from each other. Susan helped me tune into that evolving process and to trust it. That enhanced awareness has helped me enjoy movement, yoga, and dance so much more!
Connie D., Yoga Teacher, 70
When I first heard about Feldenkrais I was hesitant to try it. Being a research analyst and a skeptic, I am one of those people that likes everything to have strong empirical evidence to back up its effectiveness. Because Feldenkrais is not yet in the mainstream, I found few studies to support its effectiveness because so few were studying it. Yet I decided to try it anyway because I had problems that traditional physical therapy hadn't helped me with, and I also liked the idea that it uses neuroplasticity to bring about positive changes. After working with Susan for several months, I have been delighted to find all the evidence I need to know that it works for me.
I came to Susan with ankle problems, including recurring twists/sprains, long-term inflammation, the need to wear orthotics, and the need to limit my activities. After working with Susan through functional integration sessions, I have experienced delightfully positive results. She restored my ankle's ability to flex and rotate, which I hadn't even realized were issues that were causing my ankle problems. I was able to get rid of my orthotics, and I no longer need to limit my activities as much to avoid twists and sprains. That has freed me up to be a lot more active.
I also had back pain before I started Feldenkrais. I would sometimes wake up to have shooting pain in my back. In fact, when I started seeing Susan, I was not able to lay on her table without experiencing a great deal of back pain, and we needed a lot of props to get me comfortable. Working with Susan has changed that. I never wake up with shooting back pain anymore. Also, I am able to lay on her table with few, if any, props to make my back feel comfortable. The difference is like night and day.
I am really glad I took the leap to try Feldenkrais and to work with Susan in particular. She is truly gifted and such a pleasure to work with. I am excited to continue seeing her and seeing what other things she can do to help me move better and more comfortably. She has changed my life for the better in so many ways, and I would recommend Susan to anyone experiencing pain of any kind.
Jenn M., Research Analyst, 34
Energetic relaxation. Dynamic ease. I am still looking for ways to describe my body's experience with Feldenkrais.
Susan and I began working together in June, 2017 following a mini-stroke (TIA) in mid-May which affected the left side of my body. My initial goals were to address a facial droop, regain my balance, and ultimately equalize the effort needed to move either side of my body. Feldenkrais has exceeded my high expectations.
Susan is highly skilled, articulate and compassionate. She possesses a deep understanding of anatomy, particularly the nervous system. The Feldenkrais Method was a great match for my background as Montessori educator for 20 years. It is unlike any other modality I know of. Your first functional integration session might reveal surprising results, but in my experience they will continue to deepen if you augment the session with a class called Awareness Through Movement.
What is my new Feldenkrais goal? To continue weekly ATM classes with Susan for the next nine years so that when I turn 80, a person walking behind me cannot tell my age. I'm confident this is possible. I recommend Susan Marshall's work without any reservation.
Mary H., Retired Montessori Educator, 71
I need to tell you how much Susan has changed my life. I never experience the lower back pain I used to have before my Feldenkrais lessons with her. I baked cookies all day yesterday, I volunteered at the animal shelter and it all took place with no pain at all! When I walked the dog this morning I still remember that this feels great. I have more energy and-- even better-- no pain. I just love feeling my new posture and the energy that comes from being stacked up correctly. I just want everyone who suffered as I did from these painful problems to meet her and have her fix them. I am not even mentioning my knee, because I am still in shock how much better and pain free that is. Thank you so much.
Maureen P., Biostatistician, 68
Susan has a rare ability for keenly observing movement and pathologies bodies may hold, and then fixing the problem issues with minimal fuss. It's a true gift she possesses. I can't say enough positive things about my treatment from her hands. She's a treasure. I urge anyone who has pain from illness, accidents, or just misuse, to make an appointment with Susan Marshall immediately. You will see results sooner than you expect.
Bea J., Real Estate Broker, 56
I see Susan regularly for support in dealing with disability due to MS. Her intuitive sense of what my body needs is remarkable. Each lesson is completely different, while still working toward a common goal. At the end of each session, I feel stronger, more fluid in my movements with less pain. As we all age, I can think of no more appropriate therapy than Feldenkrais. Thank you, Susan!
Laurie S., Business Consultant, 67
I found Susan and Feldenkrais when I was looking for relief from chronic back pain. I had tried chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage. They all helped for a day or two then I was back in pain. I wasn't making any progress with the underlying problem. Feldenkrais was different. Each time I came I improved more and sustained it longer and longer until my back is now no longer a problem. Once I started I learned there was much more Feldenkrais could do for me. I had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury two years prior and still had balance and movement issues. I felt like I had aged a decade from that brain injury. Now I am learning how to bring those years back off my body and move freely again. I have been seeing Susan for about two years--first weekly and now monthly. She has also helped with specific movements for the sports I like to enjoy but thought I might not be able to continue with. It's great to feel young again!.
Gloria F., Educator, 57
Susan is capable of working on so many levels to increase your health. She helped me regain core strength, balance, coordination, flexibility that I thought I had lost forever. Susan is right there at the top of the very best in her field.
Paul O., Cheesemaker Ancient Heritage Dairy
I sprained my neck in a jarring bicycle accident that left me discombobulated from head to toe. I tried several traditional approaches to physical therapy, but only with Susan’s care and the Feldenkrais Method was I able to deeply connect with my body and work through my injuries. Susan provided very safe and comfortable treatments that left me feeling completely transformed and re-integrated.
Ryan F., Software Engineer, 30
As an avid hiker, I started seeing Susan for help with my gait following foot surgery. She is a kind, patient and perceptive practitioner. Feldenkrais has been an effective method for bringing greater ease to both my hiking and my everyday activities.
Doreen F., Accountant, 59
Susan began helping me deal with the effects of rheumatoid arthritis while she was still in training to become a Feldenkrais practitioner, and she has been giving me lessons ever since. We have dealt with a multitude of issues ranging from joint pain and mobility to re-learning how to sit, stand, and walk. At every session she is able to tune into my immediate needs while keeping an eye on our big picture goals. I leave every lesson not only feeling better, but also having learned something new about my body and the power of focused awareness. She is a skilled, sensitive, and very effective healer who continues to deepen her skills and understanding. I feel very fortunate to have Susan on my wellness team.
Patty S., Editor, 67
I was determined to walk pain-free by my 65th birthday. I turned to Susan for help and met my goal. Now, four months later, walking is a joy. I have learned to move through space with ease and how to use and understand my body for maximum benefit.
Carol R., Retired Psychologist and Educator, 65
After years of battling with knee problems, Susan was the first to take a step back and evaluate my entire body. She helped me to be more aware of each movement I was doing and explained things in a way that made it easy to translate to my day to day. I left each visit with a newfound fluidity in my body that I didn't even know I was missing.
Ariana H., MSN, FNP-C, 26
I started working with Susan after a long illness that caused me to view my body as the enemy. During our time together, I was able to recover my connection with myself. Now, the chronic pain that colored my days is greatly diminished and I am able to move with ease.
Carla F., Communications Manager, 38