Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Feldenkrais method®?
The Feldenkrais Method is a form of somatic education that uses gentle movements and directed attention to improve human function. When our actions are coordinated and well distributed throughout all the joints and muscles in our body, we experience smooth, efficient, pain-free mobility.
Who benefits from the Feldenkrais Method®?
Since the Feldenkrais Method is a form of learning, everyone can benefit. People with pain can learn to distribute the work of moving to other parts of their body and decrease the stress on the painful part. Athletes, dancers, musicians, and actors can learn to move effortlessly and with precision. Older adults can regain the ability to move with less strain and discomfort. Children and adults with neurological injuries can learn new ways of moving and functioning in daily life.
How does the Feldenkrais Method differ from massage or chiropractic treatments?
The client does not participate in the treatment when receiving a massage or chiropractic treatment. The client actively participates in a Feldenkrais lesson by being asked to compare differences. This questioning (does your right shoulder feel heavier or lighter?) stimulates the brain’s curiosity and desire to learn new things. As the brain learns new things, it changes. This is what is called neuroplasticity. This concept of the brain being flexible appears to be a new one but in actuality, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais discovered this property of the brain while retraining himself to walk after a serious knee injury in the 1940’s. His work is about changing the brain by using focused attention on deliberate movements. The brain develops new sensory-motor connections which lead to new movement patterns. These new patterns can help someone move without pain or become more efficient in their activity.
How are Feldenkrais Practitioners trained?
All Feldenkrais practitioners complete 740-800 hours of training which includes lectures, videos, and discussion of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’ work. This usually takes between 3 to 4 years. During the first 2 years, trainees receive and are instructed in giving Awareness Through Movement lessons. After passing a practicum, the student is certified to teach ATM lessons. After an additional 2 years and extensive hands-on training in the art of Functional integration lessons, the student can become a fully certified Feldenkrais Practitioner. Feldenkrais Practitioners are encouraged to take advanced trainings to maintain and enhance their skills.
What are the differences between Feldenkrais practice and Yoga practice?
In traditional Yoga, we take up poses in an effort to align bone structures, and breathe 3-5 breathes to stretch certain muscles while toning others. Yoga encourages awareness of body alignments and various muscle actions, the embodiment of mind, and a focused meditative state.
In Feldenkrais, we look for well-coordinated pathways in movements that allow ease and comfort in our bodies. During these lessons, we explore a variety of movement ranges, sequences, shapes, and timings, as well as breathing patterns. By moving slowly and gently, and focusing our attention on these movements, we allow our nervous system enough time to integrate this new information into a movement pattern. Therefore we eliminate unnecessary muscular holding, and as a result, pain is relieved and a sense of ease prevails in our movement.
In brief, both practices emphasize bodily awareness and breathing patterns. Yoga focuses more on bone alignments, muscle stretch, and achieving a meditative state, while Feldenkrais seeks ease, coordination and availability of choices