"WHAT I'M AFTER ISN'T FLEXIBLE BODIES, BUT FLEXIBLE BRAINS." – MOSHE FELDENKRAIS
The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education® (pronounced fel-den-krice) uses experiential learning through sensations and perception to awaken your self-awareness and open up choices about how you move, think, and feel. Instead of "fixing a problem", Feldenkrais looks at how you are doing something. By exploring a tiny piece of a movement, you can discover a curious and playful way of approaching the larger question of what is going on in your body.
Everyone has habits that get in their way, in movement or any other part of life. We spend too long at a computer and then walk away not knowing that our shoulders are still up around our ears. We hold our breath at times when taking a deep breath could work wonders. Instead of getting frustrated by difficult situations, Feldenkrais gives us the opportunity to take a step back, become curious, and ask, "What could I change?"
Read "Trying the Feldenkrais Method for Chronic Pain" from the New York Times' personal health columnist, Jane Brody, about how Feldenkrais helped her back and hip pain.
Why does Feldenkrais work?
Feldenkrais works through neuroplasticity, the concept that your brain is changeable and that you can actively create new neurological pathways though attention to movement. Your brain carries neurological pathways of your movement, and the strongest pathways are the movements you use the most, while the weakest are movements you rarely use. By intentionally changing the way you do a movement, you create or strengthen a pathway.
Here are some resources on neuroplasticity:
- Norman Doidge, MD, author of "The Brain That Changes Itself" and "The Brain's Way of Healing".
- Dr. Oliver Sacks, author of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", "Musicophilia", a TED Talk, and much more.
- V.S. Ramachandran, author of "Phantoms in the Brain" and "The Tell-Tale Brain", and two TED Talks.
You can hear Rachel talk more about her work in the link below:
The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984). After seriously damaging one of his knees in is 20s and declining surgery, he gradually combined his extensive studies of Judo, physics, engineering, human development, and psychology to find a path out of pain for himself and others. He is considered one of the earliest pioneers of neuroplasticity.
You can read the International Feldenkrais Federation's full biography here.