“Each of us speaks moves, thinks and feels in a different way, each according to the image of themselves that they have built up over the years. In order to change our mode of action, we must change the image of ourselves that we carry within us."
— Moshe Feldenkrais, from "Zen and the Art of Making a Living
What is the Feldenkrais Method?
The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), a scientist and physicist who was considered to be one of the pioneers in Somatic Education. This Method evolved out of Feldenkrais' own needto restore the function in his arthritic knees. Influenced by Eastern philosophy, martials arts and child development, Moshe Feldenkrais was able to develop hundreds of unique exercises which tapped into the brain’s influence on movement and learning. These movements were not designed to build strength but rather to retrain one’s self-use or organization. Paradoxically, learning to move more efficiently and with less effort helps improve one’s overall strength as it creates better symmetry and more balanced muscle tone in one's body.
Feldenkrais realized that moving with unnecessary muscular effort was like noise to the brain which made it difficult for the brain to discern the most efficient movement patterns. In a typical Feldenkrais lesson, slow gentle movements are emphasized so that the student can learn to recognize habitual patterns of movement that may be interfering with the individual's everyday living experiences. Unlike most fitness programs which tend to focus on body parts and tend to be goal oriented, Feldenkrais is about using the whole self in any movement and the process of learning good use is far more important than actually performing the action. Feldenkrais is essentially about learning how to learn and can be applied to all aspects of one’s life.
There are two ways to learn this method
Awareness Through Movement Group Classes
The group lessons are known as Awareness Through Movement® (ATM) lessons. In a typical ATM class one would find a group of individuals lying on mats on the floor performing movements reminiscent of one’s childhood such as creeping, crawling and rolling. The movement patterns are used as a tool to create awareness in the student as to HOW they use themselves. The teacher verbally guides the student to do small movements slowly and with attention. For more information about ongoing classes and workshops click here.
Functional Integration Individual Lessons
During an individual lesson (Functional Integration), the student lies on a low table with a firm surface. In this situation the teacher is giving direction through touch. The movement patterns are similar to the ones taught in the group lessons but they are tailored to the individual’s specific needs. By the end of the lesson the student typically feels more relaxed, lighter and maybe a little taller.
The effects of doing Feldenkrais are wide ranging which include a reduction in pain, greater freedom in walking, sitting or standing, a sense of comfort and ease, and feeling less anxiety or tension.
The length of a typical Functional Integration session is one hour. The cost of one session is $70. Packages are available. For more information about pricing and packages click here.