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Peterborough

Practice focuses on movement, balance

Suzanne Capizzano leads an Inner Stillness class, focusing on slow movements to increase body awareness, on Thursday at the Bond Wellness Center. Participants in the class are, from left,  Jo Putnam, Meg Mulligan, Tricia Cravedi, Ed Dennis and Jeanne Pickett.

Suzanne Capizzano leads an Inner Stillness class, focusing on slow movements to increase body awareness, on Thursday at the Bond Wellness Center. Participants in the class are, from left, Jo Putnam, Meg Mulligan, Tricia Cravedi, Ed Dennis and Jeanne Pickett. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

Suzanne Capizzano is trained and has worked as a physical therapy assistant. She is also a practitioner of Qigong, a Chinese practice that focuses on inner movement and awareness of the body.

Now Capizzano, a 54-year-old resident of Sharon, is combining those two interests as she develops a new business called Better Balance, which is offering programs at the Bond Wellness Center and RiverMead in Peterborough.

“Qijong is a mind/body meditation practice,” Capizzano says. “It’s all slow movements and coordinated weight shifting. It’s practice of inner movements, of being aware of how you’re moving and clearing a cluttered mind. In its Daoyin form, they are considered to be life nourishing exercises.”

Capizzano has been doing her once-a-week class at RiverMead for 16 weeks now.

“I started with two courageous people,” she recalls. “One made remarkable gains. She had come to the first class using a walker and by week six she was walking in using a cane. Everyone who knew her decided there must be something here. Now we have 12 in the class.”

The focus of the RiverMead sessions, given the age of the participants, is on balance.

“I give specific activities that can be done on a regular basis,” Capizzano says. “We do a lot of sit-to-stand exercises. People can do the activity throughout the day. They have to have a will to do it, but seniors can certainly improve the quality of their lives.”

Capizzano, who was raised in the Peterborough area, is a graduate of Mascenic High School who earned certification as a physical therapy assistant from Becker College in Worcester, Mass., in 1995. She worked at hospitals in Connecticut and Fitchburg, Mass., and more recently spent 10 years at Monadnock Community Hospital.

“When I got the job at the hospital in 2001, I decided I wanted to be very cross-trained,” Capizzano says. “I tried to study everything I could.”

She first learned Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art form that also focuses on health and meditation, through classes given by Marilyn Weir at the Masonic Lodge in West Peterborough.

She incorporated some of those lessons into a Parkinson’s support group she was leading at the hospital. She also studied Qigong with Lin Lin Choy, a teacher based in Portsmouth.

“She really helped me understand the dedication, the work and practice needed in this form,” Capizzano says about Choy. “It wasn’t an easy transition for me.”

Capizzano no longer works at the hospital, but she teaches four classes a week at the Bond Wellness Center. Each has a slightly different focus.

Gestures for Health aims to create better balance with weight shifting movements that combine elements of Qigong and physiotherapy. Move and Be Well is billed to “stimulate meridian pathways and release myofascial tensions with the Qigong form called ‘preserving health.’” Qigong Daoyin system emphasizes a focus on slow, mindful movement and Inner Stillness uses slow movements “with increasing awareness of how the head, heart and body move together.”

Capizzano’s husband, Stephen, is also involved with the new business. Stephen is an Enneagram teacher who works with both groups and individuals.

Capizzano says the Enneagram is a personality system that describes nine distinct and fundamentally different patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.

“Each of these nine patterns is based on an explicit set of perceptual filters that determine our worldview,” she says. “As you discover your personality type and the underlying basic proposition, you also will discover what motivates you, your coping strategy and keys to personal development.

Capizzano says she hopes to expand her business to work with cancer centers and clients with Alzheimers. She also takes private clients for one-to-one sessions.

“I believe Qigong can really help with the cardiovascular system, breathing and physical balance,” Capizzano says. “It’s very satisfying to see the results. To help someone’s social well being by increasing their confidence is so great for me.”

Capizzano may be contacted through her website,
www.betterbalancewithin.com.

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