What is the Feldenkrais Method?


 

Demonstration of Feldenkrais Method with Cynthia Allen
Demonstration of Feldenkrais Method with Cynthia Allen and Pam

If you’re brand new to the Feldenkrais Method® and would like to learn more, we’re here to, hopefully, answer some of your questions and introduce you to a new way of thinking about health.

 

Q: What is the Feldenkrais Method?

A: The Feldenkrais Method, put simply, is a way to improve physical and mental health by being more aware of movements and exercises that improve flexibility, coordination, and range of motion. It’s considered a system for self-improvement and somatic education that uses movement and awareness to harness power from within.

As discussed in one of our videos, the Feldenkrais Method is an “embodied process of learning through movement with awareness leading to improvement of the self-image, coordination, and action.” It’s a powerful statement and an even more powerful approach.

 

Q: Who is Feldenkrais?

A: The Feldenkrais Method is named after Moshe Pinhas Feldenkrais, who developed his method throughout his life, first publishing a book on it in 1949. By 1955 he had set up a permanent office for his Awareness through Movement® classes in Tel Aviv and was giving Functional Integration® classes from his home. Several books and numerous classes followed as his method began picking up steam. At the time of his death on July 1, 1984, he was leading a large teacher/practitioner training in Amherst, Massachusetts with 235 students.

If you’d like to learn more about Moshe Feldenkrais, check out this video interview with Jerry Karzen, a Feldenkrais student and friend.

 

Q: What is somatic education?

A: It’s easiest to first look at the word somatic. Somatic simply means that it relates to the body. Somatic education is an umbrella for a wide variety of methodologies that help us engage in life-long learning through our felt sense and natural desire to continue to evolve as a human being.

Today, the Feldenkrais Method has become one of the largest approaches under the somatic education umbrella, but its roots go back a long way. Dr. Martha Eddy has published a book on this subject and in this video excerpt, you can learn more about the development of somatic education.

At Future Life Now, we have a short definition for somatic education – to live through the learning body.

 

Q: What is Awareness Through Movement?

A:  A Feldenkrais® group class is referred to as Awareness Through Movement. While it’s often compared to yoga or Tai Chi, with gentle movements that require focus, Awareness Through Movement is also quite different from either yoga or Tai Chi. In Awareness Through Movement, there is no posture or final movement to master. There is no stable series of exercises or asanas. Instead, the emphasis is placed on novel movement sequences that stimulate the brain to upgrade its movement habits. The effects can be quite remarkable in terms of coordination, strength, flexibility, and an integration between body and mind.

Another way in which Awareness Through Movement classes diverge from other practices is that they have everyday applications and are often tied to functional movement, like walking, lifting, and posture.

 

Q: How does the Feldenkrais Method work?

A: Through your awareness of your body as you move, your brain creates new neural pathways that can optimize movement patterns and function. This is referred to as neuroplasticity, which is simply the brain’s ability to reorganize itself.

 

Q: What can the Feldenkrais Method do for me?

A: This question is possibly the hardest to answer because there is no one answer that covers every person. The method is definitely used to help some people manage pain, others have chronic conditions they’d like to work on, people report that they’re looking to enhance their life and be more in touch with themselves, still others are seeking a way to feel more energized and alive. Athletes and musicians also use it to improve performance. There are almost as many ways the Feldenkrais Method can help as there are people practicing it.

 

Q: How can I learn the Feldenkrais Method with you?

A: One of our favorite questions! We firmly believe that through Future Life Now you can learn to move better, feel better, and live better. Join our mailing list at support@futurelifenow.com to learn more about our newest summits, virtual conferences, and to follow our blog.


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