What is it?
The Feldenkrais Method® is a unique approach that utilizes gentle movement and awareness to tap into the nervous system’s innate ability to learn. While it is sought out primarily by people wanting to move out of pain or improve their movement, the Feldenkrais Method® offers a comprehensive practice to develop a more flexible mind and more functional BEHAVIOR.
The Feldenkrais Method® provides the foundation for learning how to tap into the innate and integrative capacity of the nervous system. This allows us to choose how to respond to environmental influences and to discard the responses and habits that no longer serve us. More than that, it teaches us how to nurture the mindset, movements, and lifestyle habits that we want.
Feldenkrais Practitioners® are trained to create learning scenarios instead of acquiring a fixed, repetitive technique or one size fits all protocol. The work is taught in two complementary formats that help you develop a clearer self-image so that your inner intentions and outer actions are in alignment.
THE TWO FORMATS:
#1 FUNCTIONAL INTEGRATION®
Working 1-on-1 with a teacher is the best way to address specific or long-term problems, and for enhancing your learning in group classes. The neuromuscular reorganization possible through these hands-on, personalized lessons helps you learn to move and act in easier and more efficient ways.
In my sessions with students, I often use my hands, my voice, my presence, and specific questions and constraints that help you clarify and improve your self-organization. The intention is not to “fix” or “treat” you. The focus is on creating a context for learning. Learning to shift from a “fix me” approach to a deep and meaningful learning approach is the key to healing yourself and achieving sustainable change.
Because the Feldenkrais Method makes changes where it counts — in your brain — you might be surprised by how much you learn as you release old habits and heal your pain.
#2 AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT®
Our physical experiences, lifestyle, personality, and reactions to stress contribute to learned muscular patterns that are unique to each of us. Unfortunately, sometimes our habitual ways of moving, thinking, sensing and feeling can limit our self-expression or cause discomfort and even damage. And by exploring Awareness Through Movement® classes you’ll re-discover easier movement and develop the capacity to tap into the mind-body continuum.
Awareness Through Movement® offers a context for self-directed learning and can be done in a class led by a teacher or on your own from an audio recording. They derive from a body of over 1,000 lessons developed by Dr. Feldenkrais, plus hundreds of subsequent lessons by other Feldenkrais Practitioners®. Classes generally last between 30 and 60 minutes. They are sometimes done while walking, standing, or sitting in a chair, though the majority are done while lying on one’s back, front, and/or sides. Each lesson utilizes gentle movements to retrain your brain. In time, this type of learning can help you to accurately sense yourself in motion and eliminate compulsive and dysfunctional strain.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
The Feldenkrais Method is not a quick fix. One lesson can change the way that you engage with yourself and the way that you see the world. However, it takes time to unwind old patterns and adopt new ones. The time that it takes to create sustainable change is different for each person. Just as each person’s nervous system, personal history, and learning style is different.
In short, it takes practice. Just like developing a skill, cultivating lasting change takes time and the time and attention you bring to it is linked to your results. But have no fear. We’ll work together to find easy and accessible ways for you to weave this work into your daily life. That way you can create a lifestyle of movement and curiosity.
I guarantee that if you decide to explore the Feldenkrais Method — whether in a class, at home, or with a practitioner — you will start to see many changes in your life.
SEE IT IN MOTION.
The Man Behind The Method
Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc., was a nuclear physicist, engineer, and martial artist. Moshe was way ahead of his time in realizing that the brain can change itself throughout life. He understood that in order to overcome limitation and pain and achieve breakthroughs in one’s life, it is the brain that needs to change and learn. Movement and awareness were the two main tools to accomplish these positive changes. He based his method on brain plasticity long before the term even existed.
Today, more and more of scientific research and theory is catching up and validating Moshe Feldenkrais’ understanding of the brain as a large, nonlinear, dynamic, self-organizing system. For example, in the 1980s, after completely revolutionizing the science related to infant motor development, Dr. Esther Thelen was astounded to realize that her “new” ideas about how humans learn movement had already been embodied in the Feldenkrais Method. She subsequently enrolled in a training to become a practitioner. Many other leading current experts in neuroscience are fans of the Feldenkrais Method, including Norman Doidge, Alain Berthoz, Oliver Sacks, and Michael Merzenich.
A BRIEF LOOK AT THE LIFE OF MOSHE FELDENKRAIS
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc. (1904-1984), was a distinguished scientist, physicist and engineer. Born in 1904 in Russia, he moved to Israel by himself at age fifteen. In 1930 he moved to France and completed degrees as an engineer and physicist, and worked as an assistant with Nobel Prize winner Frederic Joliot-Curie. He studied martial arts with Jigano Kano, the founder of judo, and later became a European judo champion.
1929 he suffered serious injuries to his knees that caused doctors to recommend some fairly drastic surgery. Feldenkrais rejected the surgery and instead embarked on a detailed investigation into whether he could solve his knee problems by moving them in subtly different ways. His experiment succeeded and caused to him to become curious about the potential for physical and personal improvement that lay in changing the way we coordinate and use our bodies.
Over many decades, Feldenkrais began developing and refining his method, based on an extensive study of human development as it relates to movement. Drawing on his previous background as a physicist, engineer and martial artist, he educated himself in a wide variety of other disciplines related to movement and personal development such as neurophysiology, dynamic systems theory, robotics, psychology, motor learning theory, evolution, and childhood development. By the 1950s he was teaching movement classes on a regular basis, and at one point taught Israeli Prime Minister David ben Gurion to do a headstand.
To find out more, read the Moshe Feldenkrais: A Life In Movement by Mark Reese