Movement limitations usually mean restricted activity and less enjoyment and we often make accommodations in what we need and want to do, or work harder than we need to. The Feldenkrais Method of Movement Education teaches us how to pay attention to ourselves so that we can expand our movement options and move more easily through life.
Benefits of the Feldenkrais Method
• For those seeking to maintain healthy movement in mid-life and beyond, or manage aches and pains, the Feldenkrais Method encourages “moving younger” with increased flexibility, improved posture and balance,lessened pain and tension, and increased ease.
• For those with restricted movements due to illness, injury or poor movement habits, the Method offers an avenue to returned function and pleasure.
• For artists, musicians, and athletes, the Feldenkrais Method is an effective avenue to improve skills and maintain abilities as they grow older.
Because kinesthetic awareness applies to movement in a variety of situations, this work complements movement approaches such as yoga or tai chi and many other forms of therapy.
Awareness Through Movement® Classes
Verbal instructions guide a group of students through ingenious combinations of movements done with attention and within a comfortable range. Lessons are designed to increase students’ awareness of how they move – and where they don’t move.
For most classes, students lie on a mat or blanket on the floor. Occasionally, they sit, stand or walk. By paying attention to a variety of movements in different positions, students may discover unrecognized habits that interfere with the comfort and enjoyment in their daily activities. With verbal guidance, students explore options to move differently, discover more efficient ways to sit, stand and move, using their skeletons for support.
For some students, regular attendance at weekly classes becomes part of their health-promoting lifestyle. Others complement classes with one or more individual sessions as they experience particular challenges or seek to improve ability in some area.
In individualized lessons, called Functional Integration®, precise, non-intrusive touch, as well as verbal instruction, guides movement. This format allows a student recovering from a major illness or injury, or dealing with a more complicated situation, to make more focused progress than might be possible in a class.
Usually the student lies on a table designed for this work, fully clothed except for shoes and any restrictive item such as a belt. Lessons often involve other positions, such as sitting, standing, or walking. Sometimes a lesson may incorporate a musical instrument or aspects of an activity which the student wants to improve.
Some students begin with individual work and join a class after some initial progress is made. Others use a series of individual lessons to make the progress they desire.
A consultation with Marg is the first step to determining the best approach for you.
Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984)
Moshe Feldenkrais, a distinguished martial artist, physicist and engineer, was born in what is now part of the Ukraine. As a young man, he worked as a laborer, and learned Jujitsu and self-defense in Palestine. He studied mechanical and electrical engineering in Paris, and earned a D. Sc. Degree from the Sorbonne. He also worked closely with Nobel Prize Laureate Frederic Joliot-Curie at the Curie Institute.
Feldenkrais was among the first Westerners to earn a black belt in judo. Escaping Paris as the Germans invaded, he worked for the British Admiralty doing anti-submarine research, and teaching judo and self-defense in his spare time.
After an old soccer injury to his knee made walking difficult, Feldenkrais began a thorough personal exploration of the relationships between movement and healing, sensing, thinking and learning. Eventually, he not only regained his ability to walk, but developed the method that now bears his name. In about 1954, he moved to Tel Aviv and began teaching an initial group of 12 students.
Feldenkrais continued to write and teach in Israel and Europe and completed a teacher-training program in San Francisco, CA 1975-78. He began teaching in Amherst, MA in 1980 but became ill in 1981 and died in 1984.