What is Feldenkrais?
The Feldenkrais Method® is an holistic approach to learning named after its originator, Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), an engineer and physicist as well as a Judo teacher.
By moving slowly, in gentle repetitive sequences, neuromuscular pathways are re-educated, strengthened or recovered.
Anyone interested in moving with greater efficiency, ease and comfort can benefit from lessons. They help with every day, athletic and artistic movements. The benefits can include pain reduction, a more extensive self-awareness and greater precision in performance (sport, music, dance, yoga, meditation).
This lasting change in your ability develops through improved awareness of what you are doing and the quality with which you do what you do.
Feldenkrais initially developed Functional Integration® as a way of overcoming his own knee problems and re-learning how to walk without pain. In order to teach the method effectively to his own students and to the general public, his second application of the method evolved called Awareness through Movement®.
What happens in a lesson?
Lessons are places of discovery for the participants. The work is non-invasive and focussed on how you function. Often the learning is surprising, joyful and calming. Sometimes it can be frustrating, confusing and challenging. The method provides an environment for us to experience ourselves in all of these situations and to learn to function optimally in the direction of our potential.
You don’t get treated for a problem when you come for a Feldenkrais lesson, rather you become the centre of your own deep learning process discovering how to work more carefully, respectfully and efficiently with yourself.
Who comes for lessons and why?
There are many reasons to come to a group lesson or a workshop; curiosity, pain, stress, a reduction in your basic functioning (e.g. after a stroke) or to improve some element related to what you specifically want to do; ride your bicycle, balance on a slack line, sit in front of a computer, dance tango, play fiddle, stand at the sink, feel more comfortable during pregnancy, connect to your newborn child, reach your shoelaces, practice downward dog…
A typical Feldenkrais lesson provides space, time and attention so that your nervous system can change, rather than just ‘fixing’, ‘adjusting’ or ‘manipulating’ you back ‘into shape’. In Neuroscience, this process is known as neuroplasticity; the brain’s extraordinary ability to constantly develop more efficient connections and networks of neurons that lead to improved movement, cognition and function. No matter how old we seem on the outside, we can constantly encourage our brains to think, learn and perceive in new ways.
How will i improve?
Learning to sense and feel ourselves is a process. We also improve our ability to track our sensations and the thoughts that may accompany them. It is entirely possibly not to notice anything during the first lessons; it is also possible to pay attention to details you had never thought of before and in doing so, increase your range of available movement (for a child labelled with Cerebral Palsy, this is enormously important), improve your flexibility and coordination (yoga teachers discover a completely new approach to their teaching ) and rediscover your own potential to take action effortlessly, pleasurably and with grace.