What is Feldenkrais?
The Feldenkrais Method® is an educational system that uses movement to teach self-awareness and improve function. Here is an explanation of the Method from the Feldenkrais Guild of North America:
The Feldenkrais Method of somatic education uses gentle movement and directed attention to help people learn new and more effective ways of living the life they want. You can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement. Since how you move is how you move through life, these improvements will often enhance your thinking, emotional regulation, and problem solving capabilities.
The Feldenkrais Method is based on principles of physics, biomechanics, and an empirical understanding of learning and human development. Moshe Feldenkrais, the creator of the method, said, “We move according to our perceived self-image.” By expanding your perception and increasing awareness, you will become more aware of your habits and tensions and develop new ways of moving. By increasing sensitivity, the Feldenkrais Method assists you to live your life more fully, efficiently, and comfortably.
There are two ways to experience a Feldenkrais lesson: Functional Integration® and Awareness Through Movement® (ATM).
Private Sessions: Functional Integration
Functional Integration (FI) lessons are private, hands-on sessions, custom tailored to the needs of the individual student. Typically, the student lies on a table or sits on a chair, and is led through an exploration of movement through skilled manipulation. The touch is gentle and non-invasive. By helping you recognize habits and discover more comfortable patterns of movement, the lessons promote increased ease and grace and a lessening of unnecessary tension. This fully clothed process is gentle and safe. Lessons last between 45-60 minutes.
Group Classes: Awareness Through Movement
Awareness Through Movement® (ATM): ATM lessons are explorations of movement verbally directed by a teacher, usually in a group class. The lessons may be done lying down, standing, or sitting, but most often are done on a mat on the floor in a variety of positions. Each lesson explores a sequence of movements related to such fundamental functions as rolling, reaching, folding, bending and twisting, to name a few. The teacher guides the students' attention to sensation to help them develop better body awareness and discover easier, more expansive ways of moving, which can then be carried over into everyday life.