The Feldenkrais Method takes its name from the originator, the scientist Dr Moshe Feldenkrais (1904 – 1984), and is influenced by his expertise in physics, engineering and judo. It draws together both the science and the art of human movement. It is unique in that it is based on sound mechanical and neurological principles and yet is easily accessible through simple practical lessons. It is a somatically-based approach to education and self inquiry and is process orientated rather than goal orientated. The method primarily works on a skeletal neuromuscular level. What Feldenkrais realised and then put into practice with dramatic effect was that if you could find the natural organic way to move by sensing and directing your skeleton and joints, then to a large extent any muscular problems would look after themselves.
Most people are aware that pain can affect the way they move, what people are not so aware of is that the converse is equally true – the way we habitually move can also result in pain. He called this ‘the elusive obvious’, which is also the title of one of his many books on the subject. Put simply, we can work as much as we like on a muscle which is causing us pain, but if we do not correct the underlying movement and thinking pattern, the pain will come back.
Most of us display habitual movements which may impact our health and wellbeing. The way we present (communicate) with the world is made up of a series of techniques we learn as children, which are then honed and adapted by our parents and cultural dictates, and then adopted as sub-conscious habits. We rarely question if our movement is effective, organic or promotes our own personal well-being.
The Feldenkrais Method is offered as both group classes (awareness through movement) and individual lessons (functional integration). Classes in awareness through movement begin lying on a floor, taking away the challenge of balance, or in sitting. The movements are gentle and slow at first, allowing attention to be given to the ‘how’ of doing an action. The lessons are not strenuous, or competitive so that each participant can learn at their own pace. They are designed to find greater ease, comfort and efficiency in everyday movements.