“Feldenkrais represents a revolution in human health. Through this method we can learn to improve…not only physically but also emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.” – Smithsonian Magazine
The Feldenkrais Method® focuses on utilizing the potential of the brain and the nervous system to learn new patterns of movement while at the same time releasing old patterns that may be causing dysfunction, pain or discomfort.
It is named after the physicist, mechanical engineer and Judo expert, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc.( 1904-1984), who developed the method as a means of recovery after being told his knees were so damaged after a lifetime of injuries that he would likely never walk again. Decades before neuroplasticity was even a word, Moshe understood that human beings are capable of learning and changing throughout their lives. He applied a principle of physics, “The Law of Just Noticeable Difference” to the human body to learn how to walk and fully function despite his past injuries. This principle is why the Feldenkrais method, unlike other forms of exercise, asks you to do less rather than more. The systematic movements that are the basis of this method are designed to give our brains the information it needs in order to develop new pathways that allow us to become more flexible, pain free and to have many more options for what we can do with our bodies and our lives.
The Two Formats
There are two formats of the Feldenkrais Method®. Individual lessons are referred to as Functional Integration®, while group lessons are called Awareness Through Movement®.
“Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration have helped me tremendously in recovery both physically and emotionally after a severe automobile accident.” – Tom Casciero, Certified Movement Analyst
This one-on-one learning process is the most direct way of experiencing The Feldenkrais Method. With highly trained hands, I communicate this learning using a gentle and respectful touch. Functional Integration is for anyone who needs to give attention to particular discomforts or challenges.
In these sessions, I will physically guide your body through a series of movements that will help us both discover the ways in which your habitual patterns of movement have created limitations in your daily functioning as well as where you may be unconsciously holding tension . Slowly and gently you will learn new ways of moving. You remain fully clothed and your comfort and learning will guide the process. There may be conversation, especially in the beginning as I start to understand what you want and need to learn.
Although many are brought to an FI session because of a level of pain or discomfort that has impacted their quality of life, there’s no need to wait for pain to occur before opening yourself and your body up to new ways of moving and being in the world around you. If you would like to talk further about how Functional Integration may help you or someone you know, please contact me.
Awareness Through Movement®
In Awareness Through Movement (ATM) the Feldenkrais instructor leads you through a series of subtle exercises which create new movement skills. Unlike yoga or Pilates, you don’t need to feel energized to come to an Awareness Through Movement class. In fact the more tired you are when you walk in the door, the more benefit you’ll gain from the lesson. All you need to do is get through the studio door. Mats are already provided.
The class will begin with you lying on your back, being asked to turn your mind away from the stress of your daily life to the simple act of becoming aware with the contact your body is making with the floor. The mantra of each lesson is to do each movement without creating unnecessary effort in your musculature and thereby giving your nervous and skeletal systems a chance to take over the movement and leave you with a feeling of lightness and ease, no matter how heavy and tired you may have felt at the beginning of the lesson.
Still not sure if Awareness Through Movement is for you? Take a moment and turn your head to the right and then to the left. Did your neck move effortlessly and without pain in both directions or did you feel it turned more easily in one direction than the other? If so, then ATM lessons can certainly help you!