'YOU ARE THE SUM OF YOUR PATHS'

For a more detailed description of the philosophy and science around the method and a description of the man who developed it . 

The Feldenkrais Method

How does it work?

About Moshe Feldenkrais

THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD

 

 

 

Although The Feldenkrais Method is often viewed as a purely body-based system which offers a means to improve many aspects of personal functioning  - from sitting and walking more comfortably to performing specialist skills more efficiently - it also uses movement as a way of addressing non-useful habits in the nervous system. This can improve interpersonal relations, memory, learning issues, neuroses, anxieties, neurological issues and provide a profound clarification of being.

It can be experienced in two ways: In a group class called  'AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT' and as a one to one called a 'FUNCTIONAL INTEGRATION LESSON '.  For more click on classes and lessons.

 

Top

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Discovering what you really want is not an easy task. Making the correct changes to ensure fulfillment once you have refined these desires is even more difficult. What successful change actually means, in human biological terms, is that a new neural pathway has been created or rediscovered which is more useful than the one it replaces. 'More useful' means it allows you to function in a way that efficiently satisfies your internal drives where previously pain, discomfort or frustration were experienced. These pathways govern the way we move, think, feel and respond. What is remarkable about us humans is our ability to create and change these connections to the level that we do. You could say we are the sum of our paths. However as we grow we override these efficient pathways to survive external conditioning or physical and emotional trauma. The resulting conflicts create what we commonly term 'habits' and, in the psychological realm, 'neuroses'. That is an action we feel compelled to do again and again - sometimes without being aware - that causes us pain and frustration without satisfying the intended outcome.

One of the miracles of the human nervous system is that  IT WILL ALWAYS REPLACE AN INEFFICIENT PATHWAY WITH A MORE USEFUL AND INTELLIGENT ONE IF GIVEN THE CHOICE. It is these choices which a Feldenkrais practitioner is trained to guide you through.  The reason the method primarily works with movement, is that it is the most efficient, and least intrusive way to connect directly with the nervous system. Life and movement are practically the same thing. It is impossible to move your little finger without the whole nervous system adjusting around it. Thoughts and feelings are more personal and elusive and are best approached indirectly through the muscular responses governing them.  It is this understanding which means that by improving movement our entire sense of our self, and place in the world, improves.

 

For fun try this. The below photos from a spread in 'PICTURE POST ' from the 50's show a baby experimenting with its movements in order to find out what is most pleasant and useful. As it does so millions of neural pathways are created.

Try to imagine copying the infant's moves. 

 


 
 
 

Unless you have had training you would probably find it difficult. However the fact that the baby can do what most adults are unable to do would not stop many well-meaning grown ups and experts interfering in its functional development to reach goals deemed successful, correct or healthy. This infant could not only teach us something about movement, but also how to have fun while learning. Interrupting its autonomous neural development will create strained movement,  which could lead not only to structural damage later in life, but also create feelings of frustration, dependence, anxiety and loss of self. In extreme cases whole phases of development may be missed out leading to severe learning disabilities.  The Feldenkrais practitioner can take you back to the place where functioning was impaired and help you experience this phase. This may sound overwhelming, but actually it is easy and pleasant and the adjustments take place without you knowing anything about it.   This refines your self image and enables you to function more maturely. Below is a clip of a colleague guiding a child through such developmental learning.    


To find out the different ways you can experience the method click on classes and lessons

Top

ABOUT MOSHE FELDENKRAIS

Moshé Feldenkrais was an engineer, physicist, inventor, martial artist and student of human development.  He was born in 1904 in what is now the Ukrainian Republic but emigrated to Palestine as a young man, at a time when it was undergoing massive changes. In response to the political environment around him, and out of his own curiosity, the precocious Moshe created his own 'martial art' applying what he understood about physics and mechanics to his own functioning. In the 1930's, on achieving his doctorate, he moved to Paris to work in the Joliot Curie laboratory. While there he came into contact with Jigoro Kano, the Japanese martial artist who developed Judo, who was so impressed with the system Feldenkrais had created that he entrusted to him the task of spreading Judo around Europe. He became founder of the Ju Jitsu Club of Paris as well as one of the first Europeans to earn a black belt in Judo. His two books on judo are still sought after. At the beginning of the second World War Feldenkrais fled to Britain where he worked on Anti-submarine research for the Admiralty. It was then that he began to develop his Method. A knee injury, and uncertain prospects from surgery, pushed Feldenkrais into what became a life-long exploration of the relationship between movement and consciousness. His method was as much a movement discipline as one man intellectual movement. He drew from a dazzling variety of sources and studied, among other things, anatomy, physiology, child development and psychology. His experience of both learning and teaching Judo also led him to a number of Eastern awareness practices and other somatic approaches. He would try out his ideas on various professors in the Admiralty, and using painstaking empirical observation, he started to formulate a model of human function and awareness which so turned the thinking of the time on it's head that at times he questioned his own sanity - a common experience for many pioneers.

During the 1950's he finally left his career in physics to pursue the much less certain path of creating his own discipline. He had returned to what was by then the state of Israel, to Tel Aviv. At first he worked by himself, teaching group classes and working with individuals with every imaginable difficulty. As his reputation grew, he trained his first group of assistants. In the late seventies he began teaching in America, where he trained another, larger group, and began one more training programme; this was completed by his assistants as his health deteriorated. He died in 1984. Today the Feldenkrais Method has spread across the world, with nearly 500 practitioners. It is delivered in institutions as diverse as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Israeli National Service. It was Moshe's dream that everyone should be able to learn Feldenkrais as part of their education and was convinced that by doing so the world would be a far more satisfying and respectful place. 

Top