It revolves around a unique approach to learning through movement, based on Neurological, Physical, and Bio-Mechanical principles. These principles, accompanied by a deep understanding of what makes us – as human beings – develop and learn, is what makes the Feldenkrais Method a revolutionary technique that merges both the physical, and the psychological needs of individuals.
As we go through this world, each of us develops our own unique habits when it comes to the way we move. These habits are acquired through life experience, and our own individual self-image. Some of these habits may be good, but there are others that can limit us – causing our bodies pain and physical damage, without us even being conscious of it happening.
By increasing our potential to move, we can free ourselves of damaging habits, and choose our movements in a way that best suits our day-to-day activities. People who have been treated using the Feldenkrais Method notice an almost immediate change in their everyday lives. From straightforward things like improved posture, and easier breathing, to broader, overall sensations such as feeling more comfortable in their own skin, a feeling of lightness, and a general improvement to their emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Dr. Feldenkrais believed that our body and our spirit are integral to each other, and should be treated as a whole, and therefore, improving our movement is an essential tool in improving our psyche. What made Dr. Feldenkrais’ approach so unique, was his applied practical approach to teaching – which emphasized the learning process itself, rather than the final intended results.
The Feldenkrais Method is effective as both a treatment of existing physical ailments, and as a preventative measure to assure long term health and well-being. The method has gained worldwide acclaim, and is in demand in clinics, medical centers, commercial gyms, rehabilitation centers, schools, and private institutions that promote health and well-being.
The Method utilizes our mind’s miraculous dexterity and ability to learn new patterns, and recognizes the eternal bond between our natural development as human beings and the direct connection this development has with our nervous system. It’s those fundamentals, which make up the core of the method, which is taught in two different ways, that connected and complimentary to each other: The individual sessions – Functional Integration®, and group sessions – Awareness Through Movement®.
The Feldenkrais Practitioner will use a hands-on method on the client, which is pain free, while he or she is fully clothed and laying comfortably on a special bed. The precise movements that the practitioner applies will have a direct effect on the clients muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems.
The F.I. Session is especially tailored to the client’s specific needs. It focuses on improving the client’s ability to function on a daily basis, while emphasizing self-empowerment and flexibility – both physically and emotionally. These sessions also improve the client’s posture without excessive muscle strain, treat chronic pain conditions, neurological disorders, and motor development disorders in children.
The Feldenkrais Method doesn’t “repair” your body. Rather, you are taught how to listen to your body’s specific innter workings, and change your movement an thought patterns freely. The guiding principle of the method is to strengthen what is already in good working order, so that the body is not averse to the change, but rather goes along with it freely. It’s an incredibly functional method to improve your body as a whole, and allow you to tap into your body’s natural ability to move simply and efficiently, thereby eliminating unnecessary strain.
These are group lessons, that are built to improve our body’s ability to move. The practitioner gives verbal instructions to the group, guiding them through gentle and enjoyable motions. The guided attention of each individual lesson utilizes precise and pleasant movement, to take the students on a “journey” through a particular pattern of action of movement. Each lesson begins with a “reference movement”, and ends with that same movement. Because of this comparison, the immense change and improvement is apparent to the student immediately
Dr. Feldenkrais developed Awareness Through Movement as a means to re-involve our nervous system in the type of learning that we all experience naturally as babies, but abandon with time. The effects of these lessons on the student are deep and immediate, giving the student a greater sense of spontaneity, and a general sense of relief. A.T.M. Teaches us to function using minimal effort for maximum vitality and efficiency in our day-to-day movements. This of course, is the polar opposite of a regular exercise class – in which our movements are dictated and mechanical.
A typical lesson usually begins with neutralizing gravity’s impact on the body as much as possible. This is usual done by laying down on the floor, though lessons are taught using a variety of positions, including sitting in chairs or standing. Our nervous system’s reaction to the gravity field is a habit, and this habit must be neutralized in order for our bodies to assimilate new ways of moving.
The structure of the lessons creates an organic learning process where old habits can easily be replaced with new skills, and a new sense of awareness. Though each class focuses on a different reference movements, in essence – each class is based on the same principles: that by simple, pleasant actions, and the right type of instruction, our bodies and our general sense of well-being can be improved in ways we never thought possible.