What is the Feldenkrais Method?
The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, (1904-1984), physicist, engineer, martial artist, educator, and researcher. The Method is based in a sophisticated understanding of the way people organize potentials for movement and skill, for consciousness and thought, and for making effective relationships with the world in which we live. In innovative and precise ways, the Method taps the innate intelligence of the human nervous system to produce higher levels of function. While employing what is common to all human beings, it also uses the opportunities afforded by individual learning styles. The Method takes its place among the most advanced schools of thought and practice that address the development and enhancement of ability and the capacity for change. Grounded in awareness and learning, it incorporates an unparalleled understanding of the development and the mechanics of human movement. The Feldenkrais Method offers a uniquely intriguing and powerful way of working with people.
The Feldenkrais Method has two formats: Awareness through Movement® and Functional Integration®:
Awareness Through Movement Lessons
These lessons are verbally directed movement sequences that are designed to revive our sensory acuity and to improve ease and grace in movement. The lessons have a profound positive effect on our ability to act with precision, power, and spontaneity. They improve our very ability to learn. Engaging the whole person, the nervous system, the musculature, and the skeleton in harmonious and focused movement, the lessons become easy, pleasurable and fun to do.
In our classes and public workshops, Awareness Through Movement is done by participants as means for attaining personal benefit - be it to deal with injury or pain, to improve physical skill, or to come to a deeper understanding of themselves in relationship to their past and present life.
In the Feldenkrais Teacher Training Program, Awareness through Movement is used extensively. In learning how to improve your own physical organization, you will be learning many of the essentials for working with others.
Permission to teach Awareness Through Movement to the public is granted to the students in the Feldenkrais Training program at the end of the second year of training. Students become fully authorized upon graduation.
Functional Integration Lessons
FUNCTIONAL INTEGRATION is the one-to-one form of our work. It is the art and craft of combining specific and precise instructive touch with verbal cues to effectively organize another person's learning. FUNCTIONAL INTEGRATION engages the sensitivity and power of the human brain to organize sensory stimuli in new ways, thus bringing about improvements in self-awareness, patterns of movement, and possibilities for self-expression. The skills required to perform Functional Integration will be taught over the entire four-year course of the Training Program.
The Feldenkrais Method has equally to do with ease and creativity in self-expression as is does with improvement in motor function and the development of skills.
- The Method is effective in the education and reorganization of neurological patterns for those requiring rehabilitation from injury or other difficulty. See the article on our website by Charles Fox for an interesting account of this area. (Just click on "Readings" in the navigation bar on the left of this page for a selection of articles on the Method.)
- It is equally useful and effective in addressing issues of efficiency in the habit patterns of ordinary daily life - walking, standing, and breathing.
- It is a proven means of improving skill, the safe application of power and general efficiency in the physical components of movement - even for those who rely on these components at the highest levels in athletics, dance and music.
- As an "education of the self" in awareness, creativity, and spontaneity in self-expression, it benefits those who seek improvement in their ability to be genuine and self-possessed in their art and in their lives.
See the article/interview by Moshé Feldenkrais: Image, Movement, and Actor: Restoration of Potentiality and the interview with Paul Rubin: THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD®; and Music …. and Musicians both of which appear on the"Readings and Articles" page of this website.
People who study the Feldenkrais Method include those concerned with highly developed performance skills such as:
- dancers and teachers of dance
- actors and teachers of the theater arts
- athletes - amateur and professional sports people
- musicians and music teachers
- people who teach or practice Yoga, the Alexander Technique, various Massage Therapies, physical therapy, Pilates and other practices devoted to optimal conditioning and performance.
In a growing trend, many people take the teacher training programs for personal benefit without professional aspirations. We find that these students get maximum personal benefit by dedicating themselves to all the educational processes of the training including the hands on work. Besides, nearly all find that they end up practicing at least a little bit because doing the work is fascinating, satisfying, and fun.