Where did the name come from?
The Feldenkrais Method was developed through over 40 years of research by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. He was a scientist and an athlete, as well as one of the first Europeans to earn a black belt in Judo. Seeking to overcome a long standing injury he combined his rigorous scientific approach to the study of movement in order to explore how we learn and how to improve our lives.
Is it strenuous?
No. Both Awareness Through Movement® lessons, which are taught in a group setting, and Functional Integration® lessons, which are taught one on one are gentle explorations of movement that can be done by anyone from the super fit to those with limitations.
How does it work?,
The movements are not physically demanding, they are designed to reconfigure, retrain or reorganize the fine tuning that creates the movement patterns. Some habitual patterns go back to childhood even birth, some due to injuries or trauma – maybe causing problems in your life. The Feldenkrais teacher guides your attention, either verbally, or through gentle touch. You begin to learn more functional habits that your nervous system then incorporates, improving range of movement, breathing and quality of life. Because everyone learns at their own pace, the changes are often gradual, but most people are delighted by how much improvement they feel even after one lesson.
What do we do?
An Awareness Through Movement class can take place lying, sitting or standing, although most often they are done lying down. You may be on your back, side, or stomach depending on the movement sequence being explored. The teacher gives clear, verbal directions. There is little to no demonstration. Your quality of movement is based on your experience of yourself, not some outside model. The teacher is there to guide you toward a greater awareness of HOW you do things. You will not lose weight doing these movements, but you will move more gracefully and feel tons lighter! In a Functional Integration lesson, the student may either sit or lie on a low table, fully clothed, while the teacher guides the student’s awareness of movement through touch. The lesson is often silent, although some verbal direction may take place. The touch is gentle and non-invasive. In both experiences, the teacher creates a safe and nurturing environment for maximum learning.
I have a lot of pain, and severe movement limitations, can I still study the Feldenkrais Method?
Absolutely. The wonderful thing about the Feldenkrais Method is that it is about exploring learning strategies. If you have difficulty with one side, you can focus you learning experience on the other side, a strategy often used with people who are recovering from a stroke. If you can’t lie down, you can sit. And even if nothing moves, you can work with your imagination, creating new neural links that can improve your quality of life.
I feel great and perform at my peak. What can the Feldenkrais Method offer me?
There is always room for improvement. You can learn to do what you already do well, more easily, with less effort, so there is energy left over to go even further. Many of Feldenkrais’ biggest adherents are professionals who strive to be their best – Yehudi Menuhin, Martina Navratilova, Whoopi Goldberg are just a few. Weight lifters find the weights seem lighter, tennis players, golfers find their swing more effortless, runners go further and performing artists feel they can dance or play the night away.
Can anyone teach The Feldenkrais Method?
In order to become a certified teacher, you must graduate from a Guild accredited training. The training takes 800 – 1000 hours spread over 3 – 4 years. The Feldenkrais Method can only be taught by Guild Certified Teachers.
Where can I learn more?
Barbara Jones has been a Guild registered Feldenkrais Practioner since 1994. She has worked and trained with some of the top Feldenkrais Trainers focusing on accident trauma, children mobility challenges and sports injuries. She is happy to answer any of your questions via Comments or you can book an appointment with her. The Feldenkrais Guild of North America has a very informative website:: feldenkrais.com
“What I’m after isn’t flexible bodies but flexible brains.” — Moshe Feldenkrais