So, what exactly happens in a Feldenkrais session?
People ask this frequently, so I thought I’d give some idea in the next couple of blogs. Two blogs because there are two different ways of experiencing the Feldenkrais Method®, either hands on, one to one, known as Functional Integration or else in a group class, known as Awareness Through Movement. The principles are exactly the same either way. This time I’ll talk about Awareness Through Movement.
When teaching these Group Sessions, I talk through a series of movements that are variations on a particular theme. One time we might focus on the spine, another time on the shoulders, or any other part of the body. Sometimes several lessons will look at different aspects of a theme and be run together as a one-off workshop or as a short “term”.
Many Group sessions take place lying on the floor on mats, but sometimes they start in a sitting position or even kneeling or standing. We start by “scanning” our body and our breathing, taking time to notice how our bodies naturally arrange themselves. This enables us to make comparisons at the end of the session. Then the “physical riddle” begins.
We start by making a specific movement, then experiment with a series of other movements that may initially appear to be unrelated. I’ll suggest all these movements by describing them rather than demonstrating them. This allows me to keep an eye on how everyone is moving, enabling the lesson to adapt around the participant’s needs. There are also no set goals with these lessons. Instead the aim is to discover the easiest way to make a movement rather than to force yourself into a particular position.
I’ll suggest repeating movements several times, this is in order to notice more details each time. Movements are slow and small in order to notice exactly what is going on. Your brain and nervous system can then make intelligent choices about the easiest and therefore most functional way of moving. After a series of Feldenkrais lessons, you will find that your posture and movements are quite different.
Currently, I’m running “Feldenkrais Summer Camp” in Bath with a different sports or activity related theme each week; no prior knowledge or expertise in any sport is required, but some of the movements relate to that particular sport and may also be used in daily life.