What is Feldenkrais?
Developed by Moshe Feldenkrais Dsc (1904-84), engineer, physicist, Judo master and polymath, The Feldenkrais Method® is beginning to find its place as one of the most effective methods in the field of movement and somatic learning. It is already well established in Germany, Israel and the US and has become best known in areas of the dance, music and performing worlds in the UK, although its extraordinary possibilities are starting to be recognised far more widely now. Often described as a neuromuscular re-training, it enables you to re-organise movement deep in the nervous system with the potential to improve your abilities – and indeed your life – at many levels.
The method works by enabling you to become more aware of how you personally (uniquely even) do things. For example: imagine you see a friend coming down the road, you will probably recognise them from the way they walk long before you can see their face: everyone’s walk is unique – like their handwriting. Interlace your fingers. And then try interlacing them the other way, with the other thumb on top. How does it feel? We all have our own way of doing things that feels familiar that feels ‘right’: that we can say feels somehow ‘like me’ – even if we aren’t clear exactly what that is. Some of these patterns and habits will serve us well and some will not. Some will limit and frustrate us in what we want to do and some may eventually cause discomfort, distress, injury or pain.
Based on sound neurological principles, the classes and individual hands-on sessions help the participant or client become aware of their patterns and open up new possibilities so they can do what they want in life more easily, comfortably, pleasurably.
This method is for anyone in any walk of life and at any level of movement skill.
Classes (‘Awareness through Movement’)
Moshe Feldenkrais created thousands of clear, accessible classes carefully crafted to enable the participant to explore their own particular habits and patterns and develop more choices. The classes last about an hour during which the teacher leads the class verbally through carefully crafted sequences of movements, inviting the participant to feel how they personally do what is asked; to explore and become aware of how the different parts of themselves are – or could be – involved in the movement; to notice and begin to let go of unnecessary effort or tension and as a result open up some new, more efficient, easier possibilities.
The classes usually involve small movements in lying or sitting but there is a great range including more challenging, bigger or more dynamic movements as well. All of it is done gently and gradually and you are encouraged to learn at your own rate.
Please wear loose clothes you can move in and bring layers to be sure you can stay warm.
Individual Hands-on Sessions (‘Functional Integration’)
The aim and underlying structure of these sessions is essentially the same as in the classes, but the practitioner uses gentle touch instead of verbal nstruction to guide the client (or student) and is able to respond specifically to their individual patterns and enable them to explore any particular needs or interests. The sessions last about an hour and usually (although not always) involve sitting or lying on a low wide ‘table’;. Please wear loose clothes you can move in and bring layers to be sure you can stay warm.
Workshops (‘Awareness Through Movement’)
My workshops usually pick a theme for the day/weekend to explore through a series of lessons eg ‘walking with ease’, ‘freeing the hip joints’, ‘pushing and pulling,’ ‘the architecture of strength’, ‘squatting’ ‘breathing and moving’, ‘getting up and down from the floor’, ‘refinding our childhood agility’, ‘ lengthening the hamstrings – without stretching!’. The advantage of the workshops is a longer time to approach a theme more deeply or in different ways, build on improvements that come about in each lesson and help fill in more of the picture relating to that theme. Often significant change can be felt by the end of the day. I also put together workshops specifically for actors or runners/sports people.
‘When you know what you do, you can do what you want’
” A teacher is never a giver of truth; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself. I am not teaching you anything. I just help you to explore yourself”
Find a teacher, classes, workshops and information at Feldenkrais Guild UK
Professional Practitioner Trainings:
1) Feldenkrais International Training Centre In Sussex
2) The London Professional FeldenkraisTraining (and Scott Clark’s website)
Some other UK Feldenkrais websites/blogs of interest:
www.nicefeldenkrais.co.uk (Shelagh O’Neill in Penzance who also does week courses in Devon, Cornwall and Spain!)
www.vocaldynamix.com (Maggy Burrowes has a great blog and a speciality in Feldenkrais for voice)
www.lifeworks4.me.uk (Nikhila Ludlow in Devon and elswhere, also posts interestingly on facebook and elsewhere)
CDs, books and DVDs can be discovered, browsed and ordered from the US at: www.feldenkraisresources.com
UK Feldenkrais Guild videos about the Feldenkrais Method:
1) one-to-one hands-on lessons (Functional Integration)
2) group classes (Awareness Through Movement)
3) another take on Awareness Through Movement
4) the violinist
Other videos explaining the method
‘How Does The Feldenkrais Method Help People?
Free on-line downloadable lessons
1) full length (50-60 mins) lessons recorded during live classes
2) short (10-30mins) specially recorded lessons by UK Guild
My own free audio lessons
1) ‘Hips and Round Kicks‘ a short lesson for martial artists
2) ‘Bones do It Better’ a short lesson on exploring skeletal connectivity and the ground to create movement
3) ‘A Sense of Safety’
(more to come!)
The most comprehensive list of Feldnkrais-related research is probably the one compiled by The Australian Guild (click on the name)
Another very good source for research is the IFF website
1) A good list of feldenkrais research and articles sortable in different ways
2) The new Research Journal including great articles on how to do a case study (and lots of examples) science for beginners, the debate around research models and what its for (see especially Jim Stephens and Carl Ginsberg for differing views)
Later in the year I hope to include a smaller list here.
I am adding a link to a nutritionist, Alison McIntosh here. I have to admit that this is my sister, but she is here because what she does is provide excellent research as well advice and that’s really invaluable. There are many ways that an understanding of nutrition is relevant for healthy functioning of the nervous, skeletal and muscular systems in addition to well-being. She is also very person-centred and has an interest in the developing world of functional medicine.