What Is The Feldenkrais Method?

Feldenkrais is a method of neuromuscular re-education developed by Russian-Israeli scientist Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. Through gentle movement exercises, the Feldenkrais Method allows one to discover and seamlessly adopt new and improved ways of moving and being. These exercises can help relieve pain and tension and lead to higher standards of achievement in sports, dancing, martial arts and other physical disciplines. But it does not end with the physical, there are also numerous psychological benefits. The Feldenkrais Method helps students feel better emotionally, reduce stress and anxiety and find more joy in day-to-day life. Or as Moshe said “Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.”

Gentle easy movements within a person’s comfort zone and non-corrective attitude open a possibility of safely exploring, discovering and adopting new ways of moving, feeling and being. Student and teacher participate together in an exploration that results in natural and effortless improvement.

How Does The Feldenkrais Method Work?

The Feldenkrais Method focuses on creating conditions where a person can learn to move more easily, get rid of muscle pain and avoid strain and injuries. While consciously focusing on aspects of movement, the learning process in Feldenkrais is largely unconscious.

What’s wrong with learning consciously? We can’t keep track of all parameters of movement at once, let alone change them consciously while in action, and conscious self-correction requires a lot of repetition for change to happen.

Fortunately there is an alternative, but it’s so obvious that it’s often overlooked: Let the brain and nervous system do the learning for us. That is how we learned to move in the first place. After all, nobody teaches babies to move. They figure it out on their own and without conscious self-correction, but through exploration and discovery.

The beauty of the Feldenkrais Method is that it creates conditions where such exploration and discovery can take place and lets the brain and nervous system do the rest. This eliminates the need for conscious self-correction and tedious repetition, replacing it with a process than can be both beneficial and enjoyable.

Origins of The Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli physicist and engineer, and an active athlete and martial artist. Finding himself unable to walk when an old knee injury flared up, Feldenkrais wouldn’t accept his doctor’s recommendation for surgery.

Feldenkrais began to explore the way he used his knees, initially with small, gentle movements because anything more was painful. He turned his analytical mind to the question of how we function as human beings, educating himself in anatomy, neurology and related subjects, bringing his experience with judo and other forms of movement to bear as well.

He taught himself to walk again — without pain. He also developed a revolutionary understanding of how human beings learn and function that
became the basis for the Feldenkrais Method. He first articulated this understanding in the book “Body and Mature Behavior”, and later through other writing and teaching. His book, “Awareness Through Movement”, provides a good introduction to his thinking. To learn more please check Resources section.