Kevin Cassity

Kevin Cassity is a Feldenkrais practitioner, Transforming Touch practitioner, musician, writer, and coach.

Kevin made his living for 20 years guiding river & wilderness trips in Alaska and abroad, and another 15 years teaching guitar, banjo, mandolin, etc. at his studio, Playful Arts, in south Anchorage.  
In 1981 he co-founded Down Home Guitar, a small music shop which shortly grew into Alaska's largest music store, fondly remembered by many long time Alaskans as a friendly, welcoming community center for music lessons, workshops, jams, concert series, and musical gatherings.
In 1987 he co-wrote and published The Alaska Adventure Book, a best selling travel guide.  In 1990 he was invited to captain an Alaska whitewater team in the first International Goodwill Whitewater games in North Carolina and again the following year in Costa Rica.

A destabilizing return of trauma memories in his 30s led to many years of inner exploration and healing work, which in turn led to Kevin teaching peer counseling classes, and eventually to becoming a HeartMath-certified Educator, Feldenkrais practitioner and Transformational Touch therapist.  

Kevin did his Transforming Touch® training with Dr. Stephen Terrell, a pioneer in working with nervous system dysregulation caused by early “developmental” trauma.

Kevin completed 8 years of professional Feldenkrais training in Boston, Santa Fe and Seattle, being mentored for the last four years of his training by Jeff Haller, known for his work with professional athletes in the NHL, ABL, PGA, and other pro sports leagues.

Recently Kevin has received training to help facilitate public education about, and access to, the healing potentials of psychedelic and ethneogentic medicines.


Interview with Kevin by Svia Rothstein of Open Space:

If you don't know Kevin Cassity, here is a chance to learn about his colorful and diverse life . We asked Kevin a few questions.

What is your background?

In high school I took my first guitar class and fell completely in love with the guitar and with music - especially the explosion of creative and paradigm-shifting music of the 60's … and its roots in American  and world folk music. 
In the 1980s I co-founded a tiny music shop “Down Home Guitar” which within a few years became Alaska’s largest music center and instrument shop, hosting concerts, jams, classes, workshops and other community events.  
Alaska had a homegrown band, the Dr. Schultz Band, that inspired the same kind of thrill and excitement for music in Alaska that the Beatles had inspired around the world.  I built a banjo, took lessons from Don Schultz, and was soon playing banjo and mandolin and going to festivals to jam around campfires and perform with bands onstage.
Life opened a new door for me when a friend started a river running company and invited me to come learn how to raft guide.  I loved this way of exploring rivers and wilderness and couldn't believe people would pay me to do it.
I sold my interests in Down Home Guitar  and made my living for the next 20 years guiding river and wilderness trips in Alaska, the lower 48 and around the world. 
During my guiding years I co-wrote “The Alaska Adventure Book,” a best-selling guide to adventure trips in Alaska, and I captained two Alaskan teams that participated in the first international whitewater goodwill games in the US and Costa Rica, competing with teams from the former USSR and around the world.

3 Fun Facts about yourself?

I’m a lifelong Alaskan. I’m 6’7” tall. I was born on Halloween. 
I love music, the outdoors, and children. 
Along with my Feldenkrais practice, I have a music studio where I teach guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, bass and other fretted instruments.

What brought you to Feldenkrais movement?

A running injury that didn’t heal via physical therapy led to my discovery of Feldenkrais. With individual sessions, my injury healed quickly, but more striking to me was how connected, agile, and powerful I felt in the whole of myself after a Feldenkrais practice. I was mystified that such gentle and subtle work could produce such big changes and improvements in how I moved and felt.
Wanting to understand the mystery of this for myself, I enrolled in a 4 year professional Feldenkrais training in Boston and Santa Fe, and I followed that up with a second 4 year training program in Seattle with Jeff Haller, a Feldenkrais trainer known for his work with professional athletes in the NHL, ABL, PGA and other leagues.
I soon realized that Feldenkrais was about moving in my own body with that same kind of effortlessness that I had learned over 20 years of raft and wilderness guiding. I began to sense the way in which energy spirals and flows most efficiently through the skeleton and sinew of the body. I learned to feel “ground force” and the efficient transmission of energy through the whole self.

What keeps you coming back?

The realization that movement in any endeavor from athletics to getting out of bed can be engaged with a felt sense of flow, power, efficiency, and pleasure.
I love the many paradigm shifts of Feldenkrais: 
- It doesn’t use external forms or ideas about posture or a “right way” to do things. Instead, we learn by exploration and discovery, by internal referencing, by following our “felt sense”, not unlike the way babies learn.
- Feldenkrais abandons the cultural focus on muscle as the primary source of power.  In Feldenkrais the focus on effort and strain and “no pain no gain” is seen as counterproductive to learning. 
- It discards the robotic, repetitive training regimens, and instead develops awareness, presence and pleasure - based exploration. 
- In this practice, we develop effortlessness movement and also to discover the power that comes from feeling and moving from one’s center. 
- Feldenkrais has a “process orientation” rather than a goal fixation. 

How would your close friend describe you?

Friends have described me as easygoing, gentle, kind, playful, exploratory, enthusiastic.

Explain how your various interests / skills merge in your practice as a student? As a teacher?

Since Feldenkrais has application to anything involving movement, I apply it to everything I love — music, the outdoors, all kinds of physical play, communication, relationships, helping create "the more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible" ….  
I use it to teach music. I’m planning some outdoor adventures with Feldenkrais — river trips, walking trips in Ireland and Spain. I also teach Feldenkrais as a path to making sports more pleasurable, exploratory, fun and injury free.