"I have been taking Donna’s Movement and Yoga Lab class for four years and every week"
I take away something significant that improves the quality of my life living with Parkinson’s. I don’t know how she does it, but each week she seems to zero in on exactly what I need and I leave feeling renewed. I also greatly appreciate learning about human anatomy and its role in functional movement and how it connects with what she teaches each week.
"I was entirely new to somatic movement when I signed up for Donna's class -- on Zoom no less."
"Working with her feels like learning a new language towards greater embodiment"
"Donna is an incredibly gifted healer"
"Donna brings me great clarity and ease"
" I feel like my brain and body are re-patterning and I now have tools that I can use at home to support and maintain these changes"
"Donna has helped my daughter immensely and has been a blessing to our family!"
My daughter had a stroke 20 years ago and is unable to use her arm and her leg is weak. Donna has worked with her for 5 years until recently (due to present circumstances) She is very knowledgeable, skilled, kind and compassionate. She has helped my daughter to strengthen and straighten her arm, which is spastic. She even got her to be able to do a "down dog!"
"Donna's talent and expertise are unique in my experience"
"I’ve had a really profound experience working with Donna, and its all been over video, during the pandemic, and for this I’m very grateful.
She’s been helping me reconnect with my body, learn new ways of moving with ease, and bring caring and patience toward myself. She has a deep and nuanced understanding of anatomy and the functioning of the nervous system, and a commitment toward cultivating wholeness and full embodiment with her students. Donna also has a great sense of humor, and there is joy and self-expression in our sessions. Working with her, I practice living within my body and accepting all of its sensations, which has helped with chronic pain and stiffness, and helped me feel more alive.”
"Donna is a truly gifted healer and body worker. It’s hard for me to explain in words the subtlety of what she does and the depth of her knowledge and intuition.
In just a few sessions she helped me reverse months worth of debilitating back pain and regain my mobility. I love working with Donna – she is a true gem.”
"I have been attending Donna’s classes, both in-person and via Zoom, for a couple of years.
As a physician specializing in chronic pain management, I have learned that developing the mind/body connection is the most essential tool for relieving pain and enhancing function. Donna is a master at developing, sharing, and teaching techniques to strengthen the mind/body connection. She has helped me to heal and prevent injuries. And the understanding I have gained about my body, by attending her classes, has been invaluable for both my personal health and my professional life as an educator about pain. I would recommend her classes for anyone who either suffers from chronic pain or who simply wants to better understand how their body works.”
William Cutler, Northampton MA
"I am a driving personality and when it came to exercise, had a no pain no gain mindset.
I was more stiff and confined in my movement vs fluid and graceful. Donna has been a gift to me. My first class with her I thought, “hey, this is too ‘easy’ and relaxing, yet it is HARD… why is it so hard?!?” I couldn’t wrap my head around it… The brain:body connection is fascinating. The same way our brains can ‘brainwash’ our minds to believe our each and every thought (whether those thoughts are true or not), it can do the same with our bodies. Donna has helped me break unhealthy patterns in my body; patterns I wasn’t aware of. I can now FEEL my breath throughout my entire body (i used to be a very shallow breather), and I can use my entire being to support my posture and movement. I have more fluidity and grace. Not only am I becoming a more graceful athlete (and feel more protected from injury), I am healing my mind and spirit as well.”
Stacie Giddings, Jacksonville, Florida
"I sought out Donna’s expertise because I live with chronic pain.
Her creative and thoughtful method of instruction has helped me to inhabit my body with greater ease and fluidity. Her relaxation meditations are divine and so helpful in unwinding the nervous system."
"Sometimes it is difficult to describe what a session with Donna is like; but it really doesn’t matter.
While her techniques can be very subtle, the benefits are numerous. She combines her knowledge of anatomy and her extensive training, with unlimited amounts of empathy and compassion to devise a personal program that feeds both the body and the soul. Part DO, part psychologist, part teacher, part yogi, is how I would describe just some of her skill set. I urge everyone to try an exploratory session and you will see what a gift it can be."
"Donna is a gifted teacher who truly understands the workings of the human body and translates this into practical teachings that help her students of all ages move more freely and decrease discomfort.
She combines her background in somatics, yoga, and movement in a unique, gentle movement approach that provides amazing results. After class, students have often shared that they not only feel much better physically, but they also feel calmer and more relaxed. It’s a pleasure to participate in Donna’s classes — doing something good for oneself that feels great at the same time."
"I started taking classes with Donna a number of years ago when I was suffering with neck pain.
Through her guidance, I started to understand so much about my body, the patterns of movement I held, and how to move in a much more effortless way. Long after the condition was resolved I continue to study with Donna. Her approach helps me integrate new ways of understanding my body and how to apply these principles in everyday movement. I can’t recommend her classes enough."
"I’m a runner, walker, and Pilates instructor. After a bit too much of all three, I had some nagging hip pain, especially after long (and much loved) long walks.
Wanting a fresh set of eyes and a different, yet experienced perspective, I signed up for Donna’s walking clinic. Yes, a walking clinic…bio-mechanically there is a lot to know, people. Between that and a private session to address my particular issues (including homework), I’ve been pain-free for weeks now…even after walking about 20+ miles around Montreal recently. Donna’s approach is subtle, but she really sees how your particular body works and helps you create more organized movement. That means less pain for you."
Kara Snyder, Vital Corps Wellness
"If you are looking to find ease in your body and movements, Donna Brooks is the person to see!
She masterfully guided me to a greater understanding of my body helping me notice where tension was held and where patterns of movement and breathing created disharmony. Through visualization and guided exercises she helped me gain awareness of and “re-pattern” old habits. I feel a new sense of lightness and ease that supports improved alignment, comfortable movement, and breathing."
Pam Burris RN, Amherst MA
"After taking Donna’s three hour walking clinic my walking changed dramatically.
My stride became much less of an effort, and much more fluid. I’ve been out walking in my neighborhood and now I can walk confidently through the grocery store without the aid of the cart I had been using. Thank you for helping me.”
Beverly Ann Asterly, South Hadley, MA
"I’ve been a student of Donna’s after initially taking her Walking Clinic in 2012.
Through her wonderful class offerings, I learned to unwind chronic pain and discomfort that plagued me for years. Donna has a delightful demeanor, a caring attitude, and abundant curiosity about the systems of the body. She beautifully translates anatomical and somatic concepts into accessible and enjoyable practices for her students. I highly recommend joining her classes, or having a private session, if you desire moving with ease.”
Lisa Enzer, MA / CYT
"She understands the body on subtle and complex layers and is able to identify in a client places of stuckness and mis-alignment which are often missed.
She is also able to see and correct very subtle patterns in movement, (even over zoom). Her approach is gentle and comprehensive. I have worked with many types of body workers and teachers and Donna’s impact is deeper than others. My experience in only since the pandemic, but I look forward to experiencing her hands on work”
"I have been taking Donna Brook’s Gentle Yoga class since June 2011 and am forever grateful to her for the positive changes she has brought about in me.
Through her vast experience, thorough knowledge of anatomy and her ability to observe, explain, and demonstrate, she has brought awareness of and improved my movement patterns, which have completely eliminated a history of chronic pain. My newfound balance and flexibility allow me to enjoy many more daily activities that I hadn’t attempted for years. Unlike other yoga classes I’ve taken, Donna’s approach is personal-she first listens to where the people in her class are physically, and then targets what we need to address.
She is able to quickly assess and use hands-on shaping to correct faulty movement patterns. Her warm and wonderful energy makes for easy communication and sharing, and I leave every session having learned something new and in a state of peace and appreciation. I highly recommend Donna to anyone looking for excellence in a teacher of yoga and motion.”
Catherine Manicke, Amherst, MA
"Overall your workshop has really changed my walking habits, which I now find MUCH more enjoyable.
I walk smoother with more hip swing. But the biggest thing for me is that as soon as I remember how to lead, I can feel my whole back, butt and just overall body relax, and it is all so much easier and more fluid. I was showing my kids the difference and was reverting back to my older, much more tense walking style and we all could see a big difference. Thank you!!”
Leslie Dunham, Amherst
"Instead of Original Body Wisdom, I think Donna should call her class, “Oh my God I’ve never been able to move like this before.”
She is the smartest movement person I have ever known. One class and I was hooked. I couldn’t stop coming. I’m learning an amazing amount about how to work with my feet, my back and my hip joint problems – things I didn’t learn in years of physical therapy and movement and bodywork.”
Christina Replogle, Belchertown, MA
"I came to Donna with a herniated disc. Before working with her, I was disconnected from my body most of the time.
Through our work together I am now able to experience how I move, how my muscles, bones and organs work together, and what my body is telling me throughout the day. This heightened awareness is helping me change my way of walking and sitting, and that lets me reduce my back pain and prevent another disc herniation. I’m amazed at how wonderful I feel in my body! Also, being in touch with the inner physical sensations of my body, I feel more emotionally connected as well. In working with Donna I feel more confident, more comfortable in my skin, and more at home with myself. Working with her has transformed aspects of my life I never even anticipated.”
Sara Sloan, therapist, Northampton MA
"Each time I come to class I wonder why I am doing something so simple, so much against my typical “push, push” approach to life.
But by the time I leave, I have found that entrenched pain is gone, or I’ve learned about an alternative to a way in which I’m using my body that really is far more work than I need to do, and is leading to chronic tension and pain. Donna is helping me see that life really can be more comfortable and easier than I had imagined.”
Sally Popper, Northampton MA
"Donna is rare among teachers.
She exudes a kind of calm excitement, and a non-judgmental persistence that lets everyone who works with her find his or her own way into liberating themselves from pains and frustrations. Her approach is fun. She has an open heart and a sageness about her. She obviously loves what she does, making her teaching rich and juicy. Donna has the maturity to work with people’s limitations and resistances rather than to work against them. My whole life has been enhanced from being around her.”
Rosie Pearson, writer and healer, Amherst, MA
"Since working with Donna I have found a quiet place inside myself that I never knew before.
I am not dragging my body around with me, instead I am listening to it and honoring its wisdom. The stresses of my life are still there but I am handling them with a calm and clarity I didn’t realize could be possible.”
Carol Walsh, corporate development, Greenfield, MA
"This form of bodywork is unlike any I have experienced before: yoga, tai chi, qi gong, massage, etc.
It allows release on a deep and subtle level, and gently but powerfully shifts the tension/energy in my body. Donna is knowledgeable and is able to hold space with grace. Part of why words feel inadequate is because her work is, at the core, experiential. She guides the class through deceptively simple but potent exercises that you must experience to understand. If you are looking to support your parasympathetic nervous system, this class is for you.”
College Professor, Northampton, MA
"I showed up on the first day of class with a serious headache and significant muscle tension that had been with me all day.
At the end of the hour the headache and all of the tension were completely gone and were replaced with lightness and ease. I leave each class with this feeling of lightness and ease as well as increased energy and improved mood. I appreciate all of the knowledge and wisdom Donna brings to her teaching through her words, movements, and gentle assists. My body is soaking up the lessons and gently being coaxed into an alternate way of being. I highly recommend Donna and this class.”
Hayley Spizz, Smith College, Northampton, MA
"When I first met Donna Brooks in Nov 2009 I was post thoracic back surgeries and severely misaligned from head to toe, bent over my walker at less than 5 feet tall and barely able to use the walker.
She has been a true blessing to me for her compassionately customizing a physical treatment plan for me. Between her treatment plan, an electrical stimulation muscle unit and an occasional deep tissue message from another provider I am now standing almost my true 6 feet tall, walking up to 200-300 feet with my walker and descending 22 stone steps with my arm crutch. Donna has made a drastic change in my life. I can now go outside myself and feed my birds. I am sure my progress will continue with Donna’s support and knowledge of my body and I expect to walk without my walker and at minimal with my cane. I would genuinely recommend Donna to anyone requiring physical and emotional support.”
Randi Billings, claims adjustment, Deerfeld, MA
"Since working with her my Yoga poses have become expressions of inner space, connection and flow.
I am learning and expanding into new parts of myself by listening to my body and letting it guide the way it needs to move. This is true healing and empowering yoga.”
Karoun Charkoudian, owner, Karoun Yoga
"When I signed up for Donna Brooks’ Body Wisdom workshop at the Cancer Connection, I was hoping for a gentle yoga class that would help me pamper my body after the ravages of chemotherapy and radiation.
What I got was that and more. I soon signed up for private sessions. What hooked me was the warmth of her personality, her obvious passion for helping people live better in their bodies, and her way of putting yoga and movement to the service of individuals rather than the other way around. I love the spiraling motions Donna teaches, and those, together with yoga, breathing practices, and other forms of strength building have made my body feel better. They’ve become a daily practice. I’d recommend Donna to anyone–whether they’re recovering from trauma or not–in a heartbeat. She’s fantastic.”
Janis Greve, Professor, Amherst, MA
"Donna is always patient when teaching new things and is eager for me to try new motions; it is a pleasure to work with her and I can feel the effects of her teaching soon after each lesson.
One of the most significant things I am accomplishing through working with her is recovery of hip movement after a stroke and sedentary lifestyle. The revived hip rotation is helping my walking become more balanced from right to left and more natural; the limbering up is helping my posture and back discomfort. I highly recommend her for her compassion, knowledge and ability to make physical recovery and exercise pleasant and fun.”
Dr. Francis Hill, Professor, Amherst, MA
"When I had to sit down and focus to write all the copy for my business website I relied on Donna to calmly and clearly lead me through the tangle of my thoughts into what was relevant and engaging to write.
Her humor, insight, and ability to see what makes me passionate got me through. Her ability to get me grounded in my body made the whole experience a reconnection to myself instead of just to my head.”
Irene Grant MD, President of Grant Healing Environments, Tarrytown, NY
"Donna is a rare and wonderful teacher.
She is like a master chef – she knows all her tools and ingredients so well, yet when she puts together the meal you are amazed by the flavors, creativity and appropriateness for you!”
Sylvia Pippen, nurse, musician, landscape architect
"I couldn’t sit on the floor or beach without something to lean on, or my back would be in pain.
No more! Sat through the fireworks (and we were there a half hour early) with no back pain! Hiked a steep mountain also and not sore today! I’m just amazed. I’m so excited about this. You have no idea. This has plagued me for YEARS!”
B. Pratt, Granby, MA
"After suffering a series back injury I was told by many doctors to prepare for a future of physical limitation.
Since working with Donna I have found that my back and body have improved greatly in terms of flexibility and strength. More importantly even, my attitude towards health and recovery are rapidly changing. Donna’s work with me is a joyful discipline that is helping me reach my potential.”
Dan Zimmerman, bank manager, Greenfield, MA
"I had been experiencing a numb prickly feeling in my foot with ankle weakness and tremors, and had been finding it difficult to stand for long periods of time.
I mentioned this to Donna at the beginning of a class and she tailored that day’s lesson to focus on foot strengthening and alignment. Even before the class was over, my symptoms were practically alleviated. In the following class, Donna reinforced the previous lesson and extended the focus on feet. I am constantly impressed by the depth of her knowledge, and by how she is she is able to lead a cohesive class while addressing each individual’s needs. I now have greater insight into the mechanics and structure of my feet, and an abundance of strategies to continue improving their function. I am elated!”
Judy Bowerman, Northampton
"I attended one of Donna’s walking clinics and learned a lot about how to walk with more ease and less pain.
She really impressed me with her incredible knowledge of the human body and its mechanics. I subsequently attended private sessions with Donna to prepare for a vacation that involved a lot of walking. Thanks to our work together, I walked all over Venice, hiked the walls of Dubrovnik and scaled the Acropolis pain-free. Her teaching has stayed with me, resulting in easier walking and even better sleep.”
Amy Woolf, AWCOLOR, Northampton, MA
"Donna’s unique approach has helped me fill in a gap in my effort to keep this 68 year old body healthy.
At about 60, my lower back decided to make it very clear that I should be paying much more attention to how I treat my body. Donna has been instrumental in helping me move better, and just be more aware of what I have done to set up those tweaks and twinges. This has given me the “body wisdom” that let’s me be open and relaxed. Learning this way has been wonderful.”
M.A. Swedlund, Deerfield, MA
"For years I’ve struggled with trying to improve my posture and back pain.
Finally, I’ve found something that works! The change is slow and gentle (therefore effective!) but it’s clearly happening. I’m not trying to force myself to “sit up straight” any more, but finding the best posture naturally and relaxing into it. What a difference! I refer all my friends who have problems with pain.”
Dr. Ann Pratt, Northampton MA
"I scoffed when Donna told me that my hip pain which I had for 10 years could be relieved in just a few months but she was right.
I started working with her in September, and by December had no more pain — not even when driving or walking! I can begin to feel when I am going off my alignment, and adjust my gait before any pain sets in. I still don’t really believe how working with Donna has diagnosed and is repairing the structural imbalances I have lived with for so long– I cannot thank her enough. Yay, Donna! I recommend her whole-heartedly.”
Mary Clark, Northampton, MA
"After taking several classes with Donna, I realized that she is just the person who could figure out how I can play the violin without pain.
In fact she did! I now have a new way to both sit and stand while I play. Thank you Donna!”
"I have worked with Donna to work on finding more ease with my pacing and voice projection when giving presentations.
She is clearly gifted at this kind of work – helping me to find that easeful place from within. I can be a tough client yet she continues to find creative ways to help me. Highly recommended. I had four presentations this month and I noticed a big difference and got fantastic feedback. That matters to my business.”
Val Nelson, career and business coach, Northampton MA
"Donna is the best body worker I have met.
I’m hooked – I can’t miss a class – because I learn something huge each time – something about how to have less pain, more grace- and I learn from the inside out – she is totally amazing.”
MW, Greenfield, MA
"You have such a great style and approach and make everyone feel so comfortable.
I have been practicing the walking and notice a big difference in my knee pain so now I just need to create the awareness and try to work on changing old habits of walking…”
Mary Lou Meddaugh, Creative Coaching Methods
"Donna’s “Happy Hips” class was fantastic and I’m now in the follow-up series focusing on the spine.
She has a thorough understanding of human anatomy, and teaches us simply to NOTICE and OBSERVE specific parts of your body that are involved in walking and posture. Who knew that we all have tails that we can move voluntarily?? And that the subtle movement of the tail can make a big difference! Donna is a great teacher, and the series have definitely made a positive difference for me.”
Lynn Goodhue, Williamsburg MA
"Donna is an example of her own work. She is so supple and in great shape.
I felt wonderful and taller after my session with her. My back and hips stopped hurting as they had before my session. I highly recommend her.”
Sally Boutte Lic. Ac. RN
"Donna has helped me so much with my recovery from shoulder surgery
Her understanding of the workings of the body, how it all should fit is so impressive. She brings brightness.”
Chris Quinn. Springfield, MA
"Donna’s methods are gentle, but effective
They’ve taught my body a much improved alignment. The chronic pain in my back is gone. I feel lighter and more alive. Donna has always met me where I was, and worked from there. She honors my own insights and integrates them into our work together. She has a seemingly endless understanding of the body and the ways to encourage it to rediscover its natural ease. My body and I are immensely grateful.”
Sue Powers, Amherst MA
"While traveling recently, I spent 8 1/2 hours mostly sitting and my back held up quite well.
At the end of the trip, I experienced a bit of sciatica but not enough to take any medication. This is quite a change from before I started courses with Donna and could not even do dinner and a movie on the same night without significant pain.”
"Thanks to Donna’s unique knowledge, I now inhabit my body in a more natural way.
She has coached me to move the way the body intends, and I have more energy as a result. Stepladders no longer are daunting. I can now rise from the floor with grace! And, I came to her after 20 years of a very stressful career, a total knee replacement, being overweight, and a long ago serious injury to both my legs. Quite a change, indeed.”
"After a class on balancing the nervous system, I found myself hitting golf balls like never before.
Almost PGA level! And, I found it easier to voice myself in difficult situations. I am so happy to have found a simple postural solution that is easy!”
Stacey Giddings, Northampton, MA
"Donna is a wonderful, knowledgeable, caring movement therapist who draws on many years of experience and study.
With her instruction, I went from being significantly disabled due to a back injury, to being able to return to my normal activities! Before working with her, I had tried many good physical therapists and chiropractors, as well as a physiatrist. None of them helped me to the extent that she did. I still rely on the exercises I learned from her to keep my back in good shape. She also helped me learn to walk in a way that puts less stress on my joints, and is more comfortable. I would recommend her without reservation!”
Dr. K. Weeber, MA
"I have learned so much from Donna’s classes about my own movement patters, alignment, ways to move more effortlessly and efficiently, …the list goes on.
I have a whole new understanding of how to be more integrated and pain-free in my body I can’t say enough about how profound this work is.”
Lee MacKinnon, MA
"Donna has a wealth of knowledge about the body and movement, and an enthusiasm and generosity for sharing it.
I was fortunate to work with her both individually and in her classes on some long-standing neck pain and postural issues. Her ability to see physical habits and patterns that need altering, her hands-on work, and her classes are nothing short of brilliant. She is a gift to those who suffer from chronic pain.”
Alison Curphy, MA
"Donna has a wealth of knowledge of the human body and an intuitive sense of how each individual can improve sense of wellness through small changes in posture.
I have taken several classes and the hands-on tools I have learned from Donna has greatly improved my fibromyalgia pain. I highly recommend her for anyone looking for a natural way to move with less pain, more ease.”
Christine Southward, artist and teacher
"I learned a lot about my body from Donna. She’s an inspiring and fun teacher.
I went to two class series and had some private sessions. Much of what Donna taught has stayed with me and made a long-term difference. I highly recommend any of her classes, especially if you have pain or postural issues.”
Judith Seelig, MA
"Donna is a gifted healer. She has so much wisdom and knowledge about anatomy and the body.
I’ve have taken classes with her and have worked with her privately. I always come away feeling more of my authentic, embodied self. I highly recommend Donna!!”
Bonnie Diamond, Acupuncturist
"I ran a road race recently on the hard top. Normally that would have left my hip aching for days.
But after learning about and exploring the fascial system with Donna, I was able to run using my body in a way that felt light, bouncy, and strong all at once. Best of all, I had no pain in the days to follow. I love how Donna has helped me to explore and learn about my body in ways that both satisfy my intellect while creating real changes at the level of the body.”
Susan MacNamara, Northampton MA
"Donna is the best! I learned so much from her.
Her ability to tune into individual differences among participants shines in group classes and workshops. She is a passionate, fun and thorough teacher. It is remarkable she can address so many needs.”
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