Ep 17: Finding Strength in Awareness with Rachel White Galvin

Ep 17: Finding Strength in Awareness with Rachel White Galvin

Rachel White Galvin

about Rachel

Dr. Rachel White Galvin is a freelance musician and movement maven. She has been playing viola and violin professionally for 20 years. She studied with Helen Callus at UC: Santa Barbara where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Viola Performance.

Rachel’s true passion is musician’s health and fitness. She is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Method Practitioner as well as a Level 2 CrossFit Trainer. She also holds certifications from USA Weightlifting, Foundation Training, The Brand X Method, and Functional Movement Systems. For much of her career, she struggled with playing-related repetitive stress injuries, but found no real help from the many medical professionals she consulted. In frustration, she turned to rehabilitating herself through exercise. Her experience with injury, and her passions for movement and music align in her practice of helping musicians in pain.

In this episode

This was such an interesting and subtle conversation. Rachel has a very nuanced view of movement and mindset but is able to distill her understanding down into very practical, actionable steps. We discuss:

  • Rachel’s musical background and training

  • How a long cycle of playing-related injuries led how a mindset that revolved around “the-show-must-go-on” might have contributed to her experience of chronic pain

  • How bringing awareness to pain and respecting it as a signal that something needs to change can help to create a sense of internal safety which can in turn shift the pain experience

  • Why approaching goals in an all-or-nothing way can set the stage for pain and/or injury by keeping us oriented to fear of failure

  • How we can cultivate a mindset that is more fundamentally process-oriented and use goals as a means to test our process rather than a way to prove our worth

  • How Rachel’s was intuitively drawn towards an exploration of a variety of movement modalities as a way to heal from pain and injury

  • Rachel’s experience with CrossFit and how developing strength and skill in movement helped her begin to heal

  • How you can’t really move outside your comfort zone in a way that fosters growth without first understanding and sensing what your comfort zone is and without having clear and dynamic boundaries about what is safe in any given moment

  • The Feldenkrais Method and how Feldenkrais helped Rachel cultivate an internal awareness and self-trust that she was able to take into her other pursuits, including music and CrossFit

  • The notion of “scalability” in both movement and music practice and how, once we understand the underlying principle(s) behind a movement, we can scale it to our present capacity

  • How self-trust combined with non-judgment can help us to sense when we can push ourselves beyond perceived limits and when it is more productive to back off

  • The radical notion that maybe you don’t have to learn the entire etude to get the skill

  • Why musicians are often afraid of strength training but why this fear is, in many cases, unfounded

  • The importance of progressing slowly when building strength

  • The idea that we are often afraid of what we need the most

  • Why co-ordinated strength is particularly important for musicians and the importance raining so that the small muscles, which do a lot of the work of playing, are supported

  • Training skill vs training will

  • Why kettlebells are Rachel’s gear of choice

learn more

Rachel’s website

Follow Rachel on Facebook or Instagram

Information about CrossFit

Information about Feldenkrais

Here is a video showing the Turkish Get-Up (with some helpful breathing cues!)

And here is video of Rachel doing some rad Feldenkrais-inspired, Turkish Get-Up-ish movement improv with a kettlebell

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