Balance and Safe Falling

Contact Space To Move to bring quality programs to your group.

Improve Balance

Learn How to Fall Safely

Customize a Program

Improve Balance:

Improve your balance and refine coordination. Suzane draws upon her experience in martial arts, balance training and somatic education to develop lessons matched to your current level of skill and interest areas.

Program examples and descriptions.

  1. The Balance Lab: group series or workshop format for adults
  2. The Balance Equation:  group educational presentation
  3. Keep Your Balance!: group class series geared toward people at risk of falling.
  4. The Balance Challenge! Circuit Training Course

Also available: Group workshops customized to your needs (contact to learn more).


1. The Balance Lab

the balance lab is your place to explore the elements of balance and discover ways you can improve your sense of balance.

When you admire the mastery and elegance of a dancer, gymnast, or martial artist, you recognize a highly developed skill that all of us have practiced since childhood —  balance!

Our balance is influenced and maintained by the eyes, inner ear, and brain working together.  How they “work together” is a deep and rich terrain that engages scientists, movement artists, and somatic educators. Do you pay attention to your balance?

When you invest in your balance you invest in an improved quality of life.  What do you feel safe doing? Even a slight erosion of confidence in you balance over time, will subtly narrow the range of activities you choose to engage in. As confidence in your balance grows, you will broaden your options, move freely and enjoy a more active life.

the balance lab was developed by Suzane Van Amburgh and Joan McMillen. Suzane is a martial arts instructor who also conducts balance training at a physician’s office.  Joan is a performing musician, and lifelong hiker. Both are certified teachers of the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education.

Joan and Suzane bring structured Awareness Through Movement® lessons, fun balance challenges, benchmarks to self-assess progress, and an array of resources to help you explore and improve your own sense of balance.

Invite the balance lab to visit your group.

  • Material can be tailored to meet the needs of your group.
  • Specific exercises and class explorations are matched to the participants.
  • Balance training is beneficial to martial artists and seniors;  people who currently engage in a regular movement practice or people considering a new exercise activity.
  • Content is adaptable to different skill levels.

Format:  May be configured as a portable one-day workshop, two-day workshop or delivered as a five week series.

the balance lab is your place to explore the elements of balance and discover ways to improve your sense of balance.

2. The Balance Equation

Multiple body systems work together to maintain your balance. Your senses take in information from the environment, the brain process that information and then sends signals throughout the nervous system making constant adjustments to manage your balance. Changes in hearing, vision or leg strength commonly impact one’s skill in maintaining balance.

  • The structures of the inner ear help you sense your body’s orientation to gravity.
  • Your eyes are connected to the inner ear’s vestibular system and constantly give you visual information about where you are relative to objects in your environment.
  • Nerve receptors in your joints and tendons send information to your brain about the relative position of your various body parts. This is your proprioceptive sense.
  • Habits in how we use ourselves over time can lead to sluggish response time when we start to lose balance. Little by little over time you may experience decreased agility, adaptability, and the narrowing of your movement options. Regular balance practice, guided by a professional, keeps you on your toes and ready to adapt to the ever-changing environment. Those who practice challenging their balance within a safe arena are better prepared to prevent a fall or manage a fall without injury.

Improve your skills in balance and coordination and you will:

  • Develop the internal resources to recover stability when your balance is compromised.
  • Enjoy recreational activities more.
  • Raise quality of life.
  • Cultivate mindfulness.
  • Build your attention skills.
  • Keep your brain sharp!

Space To Move * Suzane Van Amburgh * 503-805-1910 *

“The Balance Equation” educational presentation can be formatted as a 30, 60 or 90 minute event for your group.

3. Keep your balance!

Sure footed?

Adults of all ages can take steps to improve balance and refine coordination.

  • Balance is a worthy investment.
  • Falls can be costly, emotionally and financially.
  • Better balance extends the years of an independent lifestyle.

What activities do you feel safe doing?

When you choose to practice your balance you’ll improve your confidence, minimize the risk of falling and raise the quality of life.

Screen Shot 2019-05-12 at 4.16.56 PM

Flyer example from this class series, tailored to patients of a physician’s office.


4. The Balance Challenge! Circuit Training Course

Improve your balance, safely and enjoyably, by practicing the balance challenges in this indoor circuit training course. The exercises are varied and fun. Exercises are scalable so you can practice at the level of challenge appropriate for you. Regardless of your skill level, you can improve your balance and have fun doing it!

Click to see a 12 second video: Balance Challenge activities 2015


“The balance class is relevant for all ages willing to try it. You don’t realize how your balance changes as you get older, usually not for the better. However, improvements can be made almost immediately and there are balance exercises for people of all ages and abilities. And it’s fun!”

~ Kristin Mitchell, Balance Challenge Alumna


Your Instructor and balance coach, Suzane Van Amburgh, developed the balance challenge circuit training course. Suzane is a martial arts instructor (aikido and iaido), a somatic educator and balance trainer. She conducted balance testing and balance training protocols in a clinical setting. She is the founder of the balance lab. Suzane brings fun balance challenges and an array of resources to help you explore and improve your own sense of balance.


The exercises:

The training course stations include a variety of challenges to improve coordination, proprioception, leg and core strength, how we use our eyes, eye/ hand coordination, somatosensory functioning, use of hip joints and spine.

Our balance is influenced and maintained by the eyes, inner ear, and brain working together. The brain receives signals from the somatosensory system and processes that information along with input from the structures of inner ear and the eyes. Proprioceptors in the ankles and ribs are key to one’s sense of balance and the ability to restore balance. Leg strength and joint functioning are essential factors in balance as well.


When you improve your balance you invest in an improved quality of life. What do you feel safe doing? Even a slight erosion of confidence in you balance over time, will subtly narrow the range of activities you choose to engage in. As confidence in your balance grows, you will broaden your options, move freely and enjoy a more active life.

Whether you are rehabilitating from an injury, training for top performance, or anywhere in between, you will find the right level of challenge for you. If are interested in graceful aging, neuroplasticity, fall prevention or improved decision-making, you will find the Balance Challenge Training Circuit Course fascinating and engaging.

Learn to Fall Safely

We all fall down from time to time. The next time you fall, how will you fare?

Learn how to fall without injury. Safe falling is a life skill that will serve you well throughout your lifetime. In this event participants will:

  • Learn key principles in falling successfully without injury
  • Practice progressive exercises and gain confidence in your falling technique
  • Take home gentle exercises you can practice on your own

Costs associated with falling can be high.* Ground level falls often result in pain, injury, hospitalization, rehab, time away from work, reduced confidence in physical activities, a shrinking sense of self-efficacy.

With practice, proper falling techniques can decrease the risks associated with falling. No one can guarantee you’ll never incur injury from a fall, however learning how to fall safely can significantly reduce the intensity of injury. The next time you take a tumble, you may just get up, brush your hands and continue on your way unscathed.


Suzane Van Amburgh has taught safe falling techniques and balance improvement exercises for over 25 years as an instructor of Aikido. As a 5th degree black belt and shidoin certified aikido instructor under Birankai North America, Van Amburgh brings deep knowledge of the anatomy of movement along with patience and enthusiasm for teaching beginners.

Participant feedback:

“We enjoyed the falling class very much, so thank you! We especially liked how friendly everyone was, and the careful demonstrations of various moves.”
“Suzane is a great teacher. She is calm, connects with the students, clear with instruction, and knows her topic.”
“You do not mess around. That is a wonderful thing.”
“The class gave me a different understanding of falling. It gave me tools to practice and use. It was also a good 90 min. workout. 5 out of 5 stars.”
Read a brief tale of stepping off a curb and almost falling, written by a prior participant.
Man slipping on ice

Artist unknown. Image from AARP magazine article

* “Ground-level falls (GLFs) are the leading cause of nonfatal hospitalized injuries in the US….Data collected from regional trauma registry for the years 2001 through 2009….GLFs are an increasing public health concern with significant economic and social consequences. It is estimated that >30% of older adults fall yearly, with >1 out of 5 incidents requiring acute care, costing more than $20 billion a year in the US.”

Read the full research study:


Customize a Program

Tailor a group workshop or class series to your needs.

Peruse prior course descriptions on our Eventbrite page: The Balance Challenge, Low Impact Aikido, Jo Staff Handling, Bokken for Balance, Sword Handling 101.

Contact Suzane Van Amburgh by email: spacetomoveinfo(at)

Book a phone meeting with Suzane now: