What is Feldenkrais?

The Method

The Feldenkrais Method is easiest understood when experienced rather than explained with words but here is my take on it.

It brings into play our brain’s plasticity ( the ability of our brain to change) via movement and awareness to enhance our self-awareness, and improve the way we move and feel at any stage of our lives.

This neatly designed movement system was developed by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904-1984), an engineer and physicist and the founder of the first Judo Club in France.

“We act in accordance to our self-image.” M.F.

The Feldenkrais Method is essentially a learning method, a neuro-motor training that helps overcome habitual movement patterns that can cause recurring pain, injuries and posture imbalances. Learning about our tendencies can unlock possibilities and bring back freedom of movement and choice, expanding how we think, sense, feel and move. The method offers a way of learning by discovery, the same way babies learn, which is the most organic and long-lasting way to sustain improvement and changes.

By understanding how we move and act, we draw in our brain a fuller picture of our self-image. And completing that self-image, helps us uncover interferences and limitations in our movements. Thus Feldenkrais provides new ways to organise our body, efficiency and adaptability in our daily activities, such as walking, sitting, balancing, running, gardening, dancing, playing tennis, cycling, practising Martial Arts, yoga, Pilates etc…

” Habits are when we decide how to act before we are aware that we have a choice ” M.F.

The Feldenkrais Method® offers two types of lessons: a group lesson called Awareness Through Movement® (ATM) and an individual, hands-on lesson called Functional Integration® (FI).

Awareness Through Movement® (ATM)

An ATM lasts about 45 minutes and take place in lying, sitting or standing. The teacher guides you with verbal instructions to explore easy, varied, unusual and sometimes unexpected movement sequences. The lesson investigates a specific function. Each new movement is repeated gently and investigated with attention and self-care sparking curiosity, new sensations and self-awareness. The class starts with easy, simple movements and gradually evolves into more complex sequence of movement. The teacher doesn’t demonstrate so your interpretation and execution of the movement is part of your learning. There are many attentive rest period during the class which are crucial elements of the class when your nervous system absorbs, clarifies and upgrades itself.

After a lesson, participants often feel more grounded, at ease with their breath, have a sense of wellbeing. 

“Make the impossible possible, the possible easy, the easy elegant.” M.F.

Functional Integration® (FI)

FI are the hands-on individual lessons. The session takes places in comfortable everyday clothing, either sitting or lying on a wide and low padded table. Using non-invasive, caring and supportive touch, the teacher encourages and guides you into new ways of organising and moving your body. Functional Integrations are a genuine conversation between you and the teacher creating a safe learning environment. Those lessons are particularly helpful for specific and reoccurring issues. It is important to note that these sessions are not treatments or therapy sessions, and do not replace any professional medical healthcare.

Who is it for ?

Through its gentle, effortless and slow principles, the method is accessible to individuals from all walks of life; athletes, seniors, carers, performers, health practitioners, actors, musicians, office workers, children. It is also a fantastic tool to access physical limitations caused by injury and neurological disorders.  

The method is about working with you.

You can also find more information and practitioners in your area on The Feldenkrais UK Guild website.