The goal of Feldenkrais® is to recreate connections between the brain and body. This method increases awareness and provides more creative options for thought and action. This method is for anyone interested in rediscovering the power of thought and movement through a learning process that promotes coefficient mind-body function.
The Feldenkrais Method® is a movement education practice created by engineer, physicist, inventor, martial artist, and student of human development, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984). His method draws on scientific breakthroughs in biomechanics, neuroplasticity, and stress reduction. This method is quite revolutionary because it uses corporal movement to trigger the brain to make new neural connections - which is how the brain develops and evolves. It is the brain and nervous system that determines the health of onesʼ posture, the ease and comfort of movement, and the extent of one’s flexibility and coordination.
The process by which all physical learning takes place, from walking and talking to playing an instrument or driving a car, is called sensory motor learning. Sensory motor learning is the natural intuitive way we learn any task or habit and improve upon it. The human brain, designed to find the most efficient and comfortable way to organize the body for locomotion, posture, and balance, can create somatic defense mechanisms that act as efficient patterns during times of stress and are not optimal for long term. The Feldenkrais method re-teaches the brain how to appropriately recategorize the body, to quiet the body of its stress triggers - ultimately allowing the nervous system to respond differently, for optimal movement and health.
The Feldenkrais Method® engages the systems of the entire person through a process of simple positions to help the brain do its job of choosing the most efficient pattern, rather than relying solely on habituation. The more panoptic the scope of movement the better one’s brain can choose the path of most ease and the greater control one has with how they operate their body. This type of process produces change of one’s self image which impacts how a person moves, feels, and relates to the world. The lessons are designed to access the motor centers of the brain and provide the information needed for new body-mind connections to form. The person will then begin to improve as these new connections are made; be that healing or recovering, enhancing a skill, or improving within a disability.
There are two types of practices in which the Feldenkrais method is accomplished. Group lessons are performed in a class setting where the practitioner gives verbal instructions which guide the participants through slow and gentle movements. This practice is known as Awareness Through Movement® Lessons.The other approach is called Functional Integration® Lessons; here, the practitioner works with the student individually on a Feldenkrais table using their hands to provide the new information kinesthetically. The student is fully clothed and the lessons are gentle and noninvasive.