What is Feldenkrais?
The Feldenkrais Method is a simple and effective way of learning how to move with ease. Its aim is to facilitate playful and painless body-mind learning. It is gentle and non-invasive and you always go at your own pace. The learner is gently guided to discover better ways of doing things; “better” because easier and therefore more enjoyable. By becoming more aware of your movements, you will be able to explore alternative ways of moving, so that easier neurological and muscular paths may be found.
The Method is named after physicist, engineer and judo expert Dr Moshe Feldenkrais. Interestingly, recent interest in mindfulness and neuroplasticity confirms many of the principles that he developed some years ago.
Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?
Moshe Feldenkrais DSc was a distinguished scientist and engineer. His career included work at the Curie Institute in Paris in the 1930's. He was also a respected Judo instructor, and was a founder of the Ju Jitsu Club in Paris and one of the first Europeans to receive a black belt in Judo. Escaping from France in 1940, he undertook research in Scotland with the British Admiralty.
At 38, Feldenkrais faced the possibility of permanent disability, due to an old soccer injury to his knee. He set out to cure himself, as the outcome of available surgery was uncertain. He began intense research and experimentation in a wide variety of related disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, psychology, child development, movement science, evolution, a number of Eastern awareness practices and other somatic approaches. Combining these approaches with his expertise in engineering and martial arts, he was able to teach himself how to walk without pain.
In the process of his recovery, Feldenkrais developed his method based on the simple yet complex idea that awareness improves action. He continuously experimented and refined his method, using the brain and nervous system to work with the whole body and mind in order to achieve lasting changes. He worked with large groups and with individuals, including those with profound neurological conditions and musicians, dancers and athletes who wished to expand their capabilities.
During his lifetime, he personally trained many Feldenkrais Practitioners. Professional training continues throughout the world and there are now thousands of Feldenkrais Practitioners throughout Europe, the Americas and Australasia.