"Moshe Feldenkrais understood the plasticity
of the human brain and developed methods to take advantage of it to stimulate recovery from illness and injury. Neuroscientists
today are uncovering the responsible brain mechanisms, knowledge of which should make Feldenkrais practitioners even more
- Dr. Andrew Weil.
What is the Feldenkrais
Method? A movement-based somatic education that returns
humans to their optimal and resourceful capacity to learn and improve by capitalizing on the nervous system's inherent
The nervous system are not only responsible for our action but also stores
sensation, behavioral and emotional patterns. Nature and nurture have formed a matrix that defines our self-image, both to
ourselves and to the world around us. Using directed attention, movement and touch, the Method clarifies the relationships
of these patterns and their inter-relationships, thereby completing awareness of your primary Self Image.
With its emphasis on awareness, the Method guides you through a process of learning how to learn about yourself,
thereby becoming your own teacher and guide in choosing your actions in whatever you do. The uniqueness of the method is its
focus on teaching rather than fixing, process rather than outcome, learning rather than therapy, awareness rather than mechanics,
movement and function rather than posture and structure. Ultimately this enables you to recognize your habitual patterns across
the four theaters – moving, sensing, feeling and thinking -- and to discover and choose new and varied possibilities
for yourself.Who participates and how do they benefit? Many.
Dr. Feldenkrais said: ”I am not after flexible bodies, I am after flexible brains.”
While the method is valuable to people with back, neck, shoulder, and wrist pain, the method has
been applied towards athletes, performers, musicians who want to access their full potential for self-expression and performance.
Based on the inner-working of neuro-plasticity, the method lends itself to dealing with a wide range of neuromuscular conditions
– e.g. cerebral palsy, stroke, and multiple sclerosis. Seniors who desire to retain/ regain comfort and ease in their
movement also rely on this approach.
The Method is for any who wants to reconnect with their
natural ability to move, think, sense and feel. Whether you want to be more comfortable sitting at the computer, gaining fluidity
and ease in your dancing or favorite pastime, or everyday activities, these hands-on sessions (called lessons) can improve
your overall well being and performance.
What happens in a Feldenkrais
You develop an acuity to listening to yourself by increasingly
becoming aware of your sensations, movement choices, thought patterns
and emotional tone.
are two modalities to the Method.
- Public Group classes called Awareness through Movement, and
one-on-one lessons called Functional Integration.
The public classes of Awareness
Through Movement, people engage in precisely structured movement explorations
that involve thinking, sensing, moving, and imagining. Many are based
on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities. Some are based on more abstract explorations
of joint, muscle, and postural relationships. The lessons consist of comfortable,
easy movements that gradually evolve into movements of greater range
and complexity. There are hundreds of Awareness Through Movement lessons contained in the Feldenkrais
Method that vary, for all levels of movement ability, from simple in structure and physical
demand to more difficult lessons.
Awareness Through Movement lessons attempt to make one aware of his/her
habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities and to expand options
for new ways of moving while increasing sensitivity and improving efficiency.
A private Functional
Integration lesson is tailored around the specific interest of a student. They
can be in standing, sitting, lying down or any position (e.g. yoga poses, dance sequence, martial arts
katas, etc.). Movements can be very simple to progressively quite complex.
Via both modalities, you
will have the opportunity to: … learn to recognize familiar patterns about
yourself, … learn new varied possibilities, … refine your skill of discriminating / differentiating,
your sensitivity to differentiate finer differences, and … expand your repertoire
of choices in response to situational constraints
The purpose is ultimately
to create choices in action. Dr. Feldenkrais said, “When you
know what you’re doing then you can do what you want!”
They are approximately 60 minutes in length.
The resonance and memory of the sensations can reverberate for hours,
days or weeks, particularly with recurring experiences.
The Feldenkrais Method - an integration of biology, neuroscience and psychology - is a unique approach
to human learning and change, acclaimed for its ability to access the innate neuroplasticity of the brain to improve many
areas of human functioning. It offers a direct and effective means to improve posture, flexibility and coordination,
and to help those with restricted movement, chronic tension and pain, developmental and neurological problems, and everyone
wishing to live and move more comfortably.
FAQ on The Feldenkrais Method
& Mind Fitness
Neuroplasticity and The Feldenkrais
Eileen Bach-y-Rita, GCFP
Your brain loves
to learn. In fact it thrives on acquiring new skills such as playing a musical instrument, learning a new dance or a new
language. Your brain also thrives when engaged in an inner awareness activity, like meditation or a Feldenkrais®
Awareness Through Movement® lesson.
from very different fields thought the brain was capable of much more than it was given credit for, and set out to prove
it in their own ways. The first was Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc, (1904-1984), a mechanical engineer, physicist and Judo martial
artist, who taught himself how to walk again in the 1940’s, after a serious knee injury and against all odds.
Rolling With It By Lavinia Plonka
When Steven first came to see me, it was about his yoga practice.
He explained to me that he had been born with spondylolisthesis (horizontal shift of one vertebrae relative to the next).
This, he informed me, gave him lots of back pain, short hamstrings and an inability to do good forward bends. As we worked
together, we both learned about how determined his lower back was to remain in an arched curve, and how his pelvis preferred
stability to any kind of movement. More ...
The Feldenkrais Method with
Yoga and Tai Chi By
Josef DellaGrotte, Ph.D.
practice that was developed well over three thousand years ago and formally organized into a methodological discipline is
based on finding pathways that connect and integrate body, mind, and spirit. Taoist yoga, now known as Tai Chi qi gong,
came from India to China, had a similar intention, and its own special application. Both utilized and cultivated a process
of body movement awareness.
took functional movement actions of life, human and animal, and turned them into structural postures (asanas) that are then
held in stillness and concentrative attention to cultivate a meditative awareness state. The greater purpose was to create
a somato-spiritual process which would serve the cultivation of higher levels of consciousness and mastery in the service
of awakening. This later came to include higher levels of healing, health and wellness by enhancing energy flow (prana).
The Art of Learning By Chris Griffin
arts could be described, as Webster does, “as any of the several arts of combat and self-defense that are widely practiced
as a sport.” Once you’re on the training floor, it becomes clear, through the depth and scope of the training,
that the term “art” is truly warranted. Participants are constantly studying and experimenting with their movement.
They develop, by necessity, a holistic approach to human movement - if that other hand or foot is forgotten, one’s
technique is clearly less effective and you may receive an unpleasant reminder.
By developing an awareness and sensitivity to the subtleties of one’s own and one’s
partner’s movement, the martial artist learns to move with greater efficiency and effectiveness. And as one’s
form is honed, a graceful and maybe an awesome quality emerges. More ...
The How, the When, and the Where
By Alan Questel
Creativity is not limited to artists and performers, it can be developed
by all of us in our everyday lives. How, when, and where do we get to explore this creativity? What do we mean when we talk
about creativity? Are you a creative person? Do you know people who are creative?
What stands out when someone is being creative, is their ability to generate and
see choices. When someone uses a Chinese parasol as a light fixture, we think, “Oh, how creative!” In the movie,
“The Gods Must Be Crazy,” a Coke bottle was used in all kinds of creative ways, except for drinking Coca-Cola.
We can see the ease of creativity in children, as adults our creativity does not come so easily. More ...
Why Limit Yourself? By Katrin
As a Guild Certified Feldenkrais
Practitionercm for almost 20 years, I’ve worked with many people in my practice who have been active,
even athletic, all their lives. People who, at some point, discovered that activities they always took for granted had become
difficult or impossible, sometimes seemingly overnight: playing sports, getting up and down from the floor easily, walking
on uneven surfaces, going up and down stairs, etc. How does this happen? How do we go from 7-year-olds who can gracefully
cartwheel across the lawn, to 70-year-olds who can’t comfortably sit on the floor? More...
Dancing With Awareness: An
Interview with Rich Goldsand, GCFP By
Nicole Manus NM: How would you describe the Feldenkrais Method® to a dancer in a single sentence? RG: The Feldenkrais Method helps dancers to coordinate
their movements so that they are moving in a more efficient and less painful way. NM: This is a class that is offered through the dance department but you have students who come
from many different disciplines across the university. Who takes Feldenkrais® classes and why? More...
Support for Creative Expression: The
Feldenkrais Method with Actors By Bob Feldman
How can you
creatively transfer the support of the floor to support while performing? When you stand after an ATM you might feel, for
example, a sense of grounding as you experience your weight going downwards into the floor. This stability is an excellent
base for a performer. When I encourage actors to use their imagination, they can feel that support behind them. The contact
points now press against the air, the empty space. The space becomes tangible as they can feel it press back. More ...
For Musicians - The Magic Piccolo.By John Tarr, GCFT
The language of music is very physical; we speak constantly in terms of things like breathing, gesture and
weight. Musical gesture, like physical gesture, can be initiated from anywhere we can imagine: from our breath, from our spine,
from our feet, sitz bones, pelvis, or belly. While it is of course legitimate to generate musical ideas intellectually, the
valuable thing about the Feldenkrais Method is that it helps us discover many more options for initiating or refining a gesture,
a direction for the phrase, or an emphasis. By using the Feldenkrais Method to explore how we go about making music, we can
begin to notice what our habits are—perhaps we tend to make a certain quality of sound which we don’t vary much,
or we have a limited range of emotional affects we are comfortable with. Once we are aware of what we are doing, we can begin
to sense a whole new range of possibili- ties for creating and shaping sound through movement. More ...