Last week, I introduced myself in a Facebook group. I had to say what I did for a living but I deliberately did not explain what it was. A couple of people had to look it up which prompted me to write a blog about this.
When I tell people that I am a Feldenkrais® practitioner, they tend to screw their eyes up and ask “What is it? I’ve never heard of it before.” When I mention that it is about movement and the brain, they usually say “Oh, you mean like Pilates or Yoga or Tai Chi.” Well, it is not really like any of those practices although there may be some movements which resemble some of the poses or positions.
The Feldenkrais® Method and Moving Well
The Feldenkrais Method® is about learning to move well, really well. It is about being sensitive to your body and having the ability to choose effortless movement over struggle. It is about awareness and mental flexibility. It is not about striving to work harder to achieve a goal but letting go of restrictive thoughts. This can open up more options in your movement and behaviour.
Let me give you an example. One of my clients is a very sporty person – he runs, plays tennis and practises Yoga. But despite everything he tried, he still had lower back pain, a problem in his right hip and tightness in his neck and chest. These issues were impacting not only on the enjoyment of his sporting activities but also beginning to impede on his daily life. He felt depressed, stressed and a little helpless with his situation. His cranial osteopath suggested that he see a Feldenkrais® practitioner.
Without going into a full case study, I’ll summarise our work together in the last year. By making him aware of how his whole body is connected and showing him the possibilities of easier and more powerful movement, not through conventional strengthening and stretching but through rethinking the way he moves and uses himself, he is in a much better place now and is able to resume all activities as before. His depression is also now much improved and he has a more positive outlook on life.
Restrictions We Place on Ourselves
A lot of people come to the Feldenkrais Method® because they have come to a crisis of some sort in their life. Quite often, it is physical and sometimes, it is mental. We unknowingly put restrictions on ourselves and then try to work really hard to combat or eliminate the issues caused by these restrictive patterns of movement or thought. I will talk more about this in a future blog and about poor use of the body and habits of moving.
The Science and Philosophy Behind the Feldenkrais Method®
The Feldenkrais Method® was created by Dr Moshe Feldenkrais who gave up his promising career in science and engineering to develop his unique form of mind-body work. He drew from his expertise not only from his profession but also from his experience of martial arts, psychology, philosophy and study of child development. The work can be experienced on a one-to-one basis or in group sessions.
This short video will give you more insight into the origins and thinking behind the work:
The Practical Applications of the Feldenkrais Method®
The Feldenkrais Method® is a way of thinking and moving. As such, it can be applied to any activity to improve and enhance it. Some Yoga and Pilates teachers, physiotherapists and physical therapists are using principles and strategies of the Feldenkrais Method® to complement their own work very successfully.
I would love for this F-word to be more in the public consciousness without the need for having to explain what it is that I do!
To find out how the Feldenkrais Method® can help you, click here.
For weekly classes in South East London, click here.
For individual lessons in Essex and South East London, click here.
And for monthly workshops in Essex, click here.