The Feldenkrais Method(R) is a method of self learning. It was developed by Moshe Feldenkrias. He was a scientist, martial artist, and athlete. He was someone who enjoyed movement. When he was forced to limit his movement secondary to a knee injury he began to develop his method of self learning that helped him out of his knee pain and disability. Later he found a way to educate other people to begin this journey of self discovery for themselves. This is The Feldenkrais Method. It can be experienced in a group lesson called Awareness Through Movement(R) or a private, one-on-one lesson called Functional Integration(R). These lessons are delivered by a Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner(R).
An Awareness Through Movement lesson is delivered in a group class setting by a practitioner who describes gently progressive movement experiments to the group through verbal instruction. The practitioner does not model the movements. This allows the students to use their own interpretations of the movements and spend their attention sensing the movements rather than visually searching for a movement and comparing against a model seen with the eyes. The students are recommended to proceed slowly, gently, in a position of comfort and ease, with smooth easy breath, in a small motion, and to pay attention to some aspect of the movement. This allows the students to make comparisons in a felt sense. The imagination is also used if a movement is uncomfortable or painful. This is when the brain can find new connections to different ways of doing things. When we go fast and forcefully we tend to drop right into the old ways of doing things and don’t learn as much. When we move fast our muscles may get stronger but not in a new way. The new connections created in the brain by going slowly with attention are what provide the new avenue of doing that can yield greater improvements.
Functional Integration is a one-on-one lesson much like Awareness Through Movement but with a practitioner who is directing the lesson to only one person and that person’s specific way of moving. The practitioner will also include some physical assistance with movements to allow the student to sense themselves in movement with less or no effort. This allows the brain to gather information about the sense of the movement without being biased by the old ways of moving. In this way there is a “quieting” of the excessive “noise” in the system. The movements then become more clear and allow new improved connections to form in the brain. Then strengthening can take place naturally without excessive effort. This is how the brain begins to grow connections for efficient use of the body for the nicest feeling movement. Efficient movement actually feels a lot better than less coordinated movement.
Either of these methods can be used to decrease pain, improve movement, prevent injury, recover from athletic performance, add expression to action, and improve efficiency of movement. In this way the whole system of the body can begin to find ease in many different actions even when strength is required. Building strength in this way actually is a lot easier.
“Make the impossible, possible; the possible, easy; and the easy elegant.” Moshe Feldenkrais D.Sc.