The Feldenkrais Method

 

 

What is the Feldenkrais Method?

 
Feldenkrais is not just pushing muscles around, but changing things in the brain itself.
— Karl Pribam, Neuroscientist
 

The Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education offers a unique and practical way to realise our potential more fully. It is an educational method focusing on learning and movement, in order to bring about improved functioning on many levels. It is one of the finest methods available to improve human movement and help people overcome pain or limitations. It helps people develop awareness and more efficient use by creating an environment for self-generated learning and discovery

Moshe Feldenkrais recognised that our sense of ourselves is shaped by our experience of our movements, or lack of them. The method he developed shows us practically and easily how the quality of our experience can be changed very quickly by learning to change the way we pay attention. In somatic education the emphasis is on sensation, on learning from inside rather than through imitation or trying to make ourselves conform to some idea of an ideal posture or way of moving.


How can the Feldenkrais Method help me?

 
Movement is life, life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.
— Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais
 

The Feldenkrais Method can offer many benefits to anyone interested in learning how to improve their quality of life. People often seek it out for help in the following areas;

  • Relief from pain, restriction, stress and tension.
  • Easier, fuller breathing and increased vitality
  • Improved posture, balance, co-ordination and flexibility.
  • Improved skills in sports, dance, martial arts, yoga, music, voice.
  • A feeling of clarity, well-being and calm.
 
  • Discovering the principles of improving any activity or life skill.
  • Maintaining health and mobility with ageing.
  • Injury prevention and rehabilitation after accident
  • Help for neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and stroke.

How do I learn it?

 

 
 
I do not intend to “teach” you, but to enable you to learn at your own rate of understanding and doing.
— Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais
 

There are two aspects of the Feldenkrais Method which complement each other. Both are designed to reorganize neuromuscular pathways and break up old habits.  In combination, these approaches are especially helpful in alleviating the unhelpful compensatory movement patterns which develop in people with chronic pain. Both Awareness Through Movement classes and Functional Integration lessons are appropriate for a wide range of people, for all ages and for all abilities.

Feldenkrais 'Awareness Through Movement' class

Awareness through Movement

'Awareness through Movement'® (A.T.M.) is considered by many to be the ultimate in somatic learning. In these group classes your nervous system is engaged in an active learning process as you are guided verbally through sequences of slow, focused, enjoyable movements. As you use minimal effort during these explorations your brain is easily able to register differences between various movement options and to pick the one that is the most efficient. With focused awareness you learn to re-arrange your habits quickly and efficiently, and changes can then happen surprisingly easily. Doing the lessons brings a feeling of well-being, calm and clarity. Each person works to their own level of ability, and the best results occur by attending regular classes. There are some 4,000 movement lessons developed by Feldenkrais and his master trainers.


Feldenkrais Functional Integration lesson

Functional Integration

In individual lessons the practitioner uses a particularly sensitive quality of touch, acquired through years of training coupled with their own direct experience and knowledge gained in through doing hundreds of A.T.M. lessons. The aim is not to stretch muscles or adjust joints but to communicate with your nervous system, initially working with pathways that are easy and familiar, then gradually introducing subtle variations which the nervous system will accept readily. You will gently discover previously unknown or long-forgotten ways of moving and being. The old, less efficient pathways are inhibited, and through novelty the nervous system's curiosity and capacity for learning is awakened. Each lesson is custom-designed in response to your own unique needs. You will be given suggestions for how to take the benefits of the lesson further on your own.


 Moshe Feldenkrais

Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?

The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984). After seriously damaging one of his knees in is 20s and declining surgery, he gradually combined his extensive studies of Judo, physics, engineering, human development, physiology and psychology to find a path out of pain for himself and others. During his time in London in the 1940 he studied the work of F.M. Alexander He is considered one of the earliest pioneers of neuroplasticity.

 


 

In this Feldenkrais video students of the method describe how it has enriched and changed their lives.

Training with a coach who was a Feldenkrais Practitioner dramatically challenged and changed the way in which the Canadian Alpine Ski Team approached their training routines, warm-up and recovery protocols.

 

 
I love the gentleness of the Feldenkrais Method and how it often takes me into a meditative state, wide awake and paying attention to what is going on in me right now.
I felt relaxed and more aware of my body. I enjoyed the subtle movements that you guided me through and loved the feeling of released tension in my joints and muscles. Later that day and the days that followed the lesson, I was able to move better.