About the Feldenkrais™ Method
Developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, the Feldenkrais Method is the art of using physical movement in a process that helps participants to learn and develop at their own pace and in their own unique way. Feldenkrais emphasizes learning through experience rather than imitation, and values awareness and observation over mechanical repetition with the goal of enabling each person to fulfill his or her physical and emotional potential.
Over the course of a lifetime, a person develops inefficient habits in the way they perform everyday movements that become internalized and unconscious. At a later stage, these habits cause a degeneration in physical functioning that leads to pain, limits our activities and influences our behavior and emotional life.
How can you reclaim and improve your abilities to function?
Dr. Feldenkrais believed that mind and body are inseparable, and found that improving physical functioning through movement influences not only one’s physical capabilities but also emotional and intellectual capabilities and the entire personality.
The body pattern of anxiety, a term coined by Dr. Feldenkrais, describes the connection between behavioral and postural habits and the somatic manifestations of anxiety. Tension and anxiety cause a chain reaction of physical reactions, such as muscle cramps, holding of the breath, elevated heart rate, and increased perspiration that, in turn, affect posture and movement.
The Feldenkrais Method helps a person break this chain by making maximum use our ability to observe, learn and change. Studying Feldenkrais means studying oneself:
– Discovering physical habits that interfere with performance
– Improving co-ordination, orientation, and balance
– Encouraging curiosity and develop learning skills
– Developing sensitivity and flexibility
– Coping with tension and anxiety
– Functioning under demanding conditions
It brings awareness to the simplest movements of daily life, uncovering opportunities for choice and change, relieving pain and lessening stress, bringing greater enjoyment to all activities.
During Feldenkrais lessons, students learn to connect movement, sensation, thought, emotions, and imagination. A uniquely noncompetitive and self-paced environment frees each participant to explore their own potential.
Feldenkrais is taught in two ways:
Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lessons are usually done in a prone position and involve slow and effortless movements. Prone positions free the nervous system from having to cope with the effects of gravity, free us from our habitual movements, and heighten our sensitivity to subtle changes.
A Functional Integration (FI) is a hands-on lesson offering greater individual attention. It is learning-based and depends on a nonverbal, sensory dialogue that develops between the teacher and the student.
Starting from a core group of 13 students that Dr. Feldenkrais trained personally, Feldenkrais teachers and centers are now found worldwide. Feldenkrais trainers and teachers have continued to develop the method. Today, the efficacy of the Feldenkrais Method has been recognized more widely including in the medical community. Feldenkrais practitioners work in pain clinics, alternative medicine centers, and health care programs. Feldenkrais has found its way into physical education and recreation programs, and into classes for students with special needs. Athletes, musicians, dancers, actors, and singers have benefited from using Feldenkrais to enhance their abilities.
Feldenkrais practioners and trainers are taught their craft in programs conducted in many countries, and national and regional guilds help ensure high standards of practice.