About Feldenkrais

The Method & The Man

The Feldenkrais Method® was developed by Moshé Feldenkrais and is a remarkable approach to human movement, learning and development. The method is based on sound principles of physics, neurology, and physiology. It explores the biological and cultural aspects of movement,  posture and learning, and how our habits can constrain or grow our potential.

Through our personal history (our upbringing, culture, injuries, illness, etc.) we each adopt patterns of physical and psychological behavior. These patterns are deeply embedded in our nervous system and often limit our experience of life to that which is familiar—sometimes creating unnecessary physical, and psychological limitations.

Feldenkrais is taught in two complimentary formats:

Awareness Through Movement® lessons (taught in classes) verbally guide you through movement and learning. This is fantastic because it calls upon your verbal faculty for learning. For many people this alone helps to remember and recall various movements that ‘feel good’.

Functional Integration® (private lessons) tend more towards the touch-to-movement end of learning. This is also an incredible way to learn as you begin to expand your ability to sense yourself more directly. Since we are limiting the necessity for the verbal faculty to get involved, you may find that you learn at a deeper, subconscious level.

About Moshé Feldenkrais

Moshe-Portrait3Moshé Feldenkrais, D.Sc., was a nuclear physicist, engineer, and martial artist. Moshé was way ahead of his time in realizing that the brain can change itself throughout life. He understood that in order to overcome limitation and pain and achieve breakthroughs in one’s life, it is the brain that needs to change and learn. Movement and awareness were the two main tools to accomplish these positive changes. He based his method on brain plasticity long before the term even existed.

Today, more and more of scientific research and theory is catching up and validating Moshé Feldenkrais’ understanding of the brain as a large, nonlinear, dynamic, self-organizing system. For example in the 1980s, after completely revolutionizing the science related to infant motor development, Dr. Esther Thelen was astounded to realize that her “new” ideas about how humans learn movement had already been embodied in the Feldenkrais Method. She subsequently enrolled in a training to become a practitioner. Many other leading current experts in neuroscience are fans of the Feldenkrais Method, including Norman Doidge, Alain Berthoz, Oliver Sacks, and Michael Merzenich.

A Brief Look At The Life Of Moshé Feldenkrais

Birth-of-an-ATM_0-547x1030Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc. (1904-1984), was a distinguished scientist, physicist and engineer. Born in 1904 in Russia, he moved to Israel by himself at age fifteen. In 1930 he moved to France and completed degrees as an engineer and physicist, and worked as an assistant with Nobel Prize winner Frederic Joliot-Curie. He studied martial arts with Jigano Kano, the founder of judo, and later became a European judo champion.

In 1929 he suffered serious injuries to his knees that caused doctors to recommend some fairly drastic surgery. Feldenkrais rejected the surgery and instead embarked on a detailed investigation into whether he could solve his knee problems by moving them in subtly different ways. His experiment succeeded and caused to him to become curious about the potential for physical and personal improvement that lay in changing the way we coordinate and use our bodies.

Over many decades Feldenkrais began developing and refining his method, based on an extensive study of human development as it relates to movement. Drawing on his previous background as a physicist, engineer and martial artist, he educated himself in a wide variety of other disciplines related to movement and personal development such as neurophysiology, dynamic systems theory, robotics, psychology, motor learning theory, evolution, and childhood development. By the 1950s he was teaching movement classes on a regular basis, and at one point taught Israeli Prime Minister David ben Gurion to do a headstand.

Books in English by Moshe Feldenkrais:

  • The Potent Self. Berkeley, CA: Frog Press/Somatic Resources, 1985, 2000.
  • The Master Moves. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications, 1984.
  • The Elusive Obvious. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications, 1981.
  • Body Awareness as Healing Therapy: The Case of Nora. Berkeley, CA: Frog Press/Somatic Resources, 1977, 1994.
  • Awareness Through Movement: Health Exercises for Personal Growth. New York: Harper Collins, 1972.
  • Higher Judo: Groundwork. New York: Frederick Warne & Co., 1952.
  • Body and Mature Behavior: A Study in Anxiety, Sex, Gravitation and Learning. Berkeley, CA: Frog Press/Somatic Resources, 1950, 1980, 2005.
  • Judo: The Art of Defense and Attack. New York: Frederick Warne & Co.,1944, 1967. Out of Print