The Feldenkrais method was first developed by Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984). Engineer and physicist, first European black-belt in Judo, student of Gurdjieff ‘ work, Moshe Feldenkrais was one of the foremost pioneers in somatic education. Among other contributions, he clarified the role of self image in behavior. Moshe Feldenkrais applied the rigor of his scientific training to the study of awareness and movement.
The Feldenkrais pedagogy includes a profound understanding and application of many principles:
- the physical organization of the moving body in relation to gravity;
- the self-regulated process of the nervous system;
- the unseparated integrity of the person as a sensorial, emotional and intellectual being.
For the practitioner and teacher of the Feldenkrais Method, movement is a language. The quality of movement reflects the state of organization of the nervous system and the inner image of the person. Relating through movement is an exceptionally powerful approach for learning. Guiding movement through words or through touch is the practitioner’s mean of communication. Through movement, the person can experience functional integration: moving as a whole, without dissociating or separating mental and physical aspects nor body parts.
To maximize learning and maturation of the nervous system the Feldenkrais Method promotes the following ideas:
- reducing effort and speed;
- increasing sensitivity;
- finding options within the range of comfort and ease;
- exploring unhabitual movements;
- relying on oneself instead of imitating a model;
- following a gradated progression towards complexity;
- maintaining a global vision of the body and of the whole person in movement.
Finally, the Feldenkrais Method is also a strategic approach where the interest is not so much in the “why” of things but in the “how”.
“You cannot do what you want if you do not know what you are doing”(Moshe Feldenkrais)
Collective courses in “Awareness through movement®”
The Feldenkrais Method offers two modalities of teaching. Working with groups, the teacher suggests sequences of slow movement done lying on the floor. Each student is thereby involved in a personal process of “guided discovery”.
Individual lessons of “Functional Integration”®
Working with a student privately, a Feldenkrais practitioner communicates not only with his words, but most of all through his hands. The student can then experience directly the quality of movement, thus taking advantage of the personal and professional evolution of his teacher in the sensori-motor domain.
Domains of application of the Feldenkrais Method
Practitioners apply the Feldenkrais Method in many fields. Very few professional trainings open up such a wide range of possibilities. By being competent and skillful in movement and learning, one can work in many areas: therapy, training of artists, performance, rehabilitation, sports, gerontology, pain management, athletics, prevention of injuries, communication, education and etc. Clients may include infants and children, elders, people with severe handicaps, as well as top performers in business, sports and arts.