The Feldenkrais Method: Neuroplasticity and Possibility
What is the Feldenkrais Method?
The Feldenkrais Method is a novel method of movement education that uses directed attention to improve human functioning.
In other words: creating a richer connection between the body and the brain.
Devised by Moshe Feldenkrais, a Ukrainian-born Israeli scientist, the Feldenkrais Method emphasizes gentle, deliberate movements done with awareness, with a focus on moving with the whole self and seeking to refine the quality of every movement.
In this way, we can engage the nervous system and help facilitate a context for learning—one in which the brain is invited to make distinctions and become aware of habitual patterns that are causing pain or holding us back.
These old habitual patterns can then be overwritten by newer ones that serve us better.
In this context for learning, the nervous system is given a chance to organize itself more optimally, by distributing movement more appropriately through the musculoskeletal system and reducing unnecessary muscular contraction.
As a result, the big “prime mover” muscles are allowed take over more of the work and the skeleton is able to more adequately support the body against gravity.
This is the power of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to rewire itself, in action!
Benefits of the Feldenkrais Method can include:
- improved body awareness, flexibility, and coordination
- less pain and stress
- faster recovery from injury
- and a greater sense of ease in movement.
What does the Feldenkrais Method look like in practice?
The Feldenkrais Method has two main strategies to create this context for learning and improving human functioning.
The first, Awareness Through Movement (ATM), involves verbally guided movements done slowly and with careful attention in a classroom setting.
The second strategy is called Functional Integration (FI). This is a form of one-on-one instruction involving subtle, hands-on movement done by a skilled practitioner.
What can you expect to experience after a Feldenkrais ATM or FI lesson?
Many people report feeling lighter, taller, “longer,” and more relaxed. Sometimes, pain is reduced or disappears. Some sense a more solid connection to the ground in standing and walking. Some people may also find that their breathing has become fuller and easier, and that they have more energy.
Curious to expand your world of movement possibility?
I offer in-person intuitive movement coaching sessions based on Feldenkrais Functional Integration at my studio in Leeds (Northampton), MA, and online intuitive movement coaching based on Awareness Through Movement via Skype.