Good question isn’t it? Feldenkrais is much better experienced in person than described on paper, but if you’ve never been to a class or had a one-to-one session here is some idea of what to expect, courtesy of the Feldenkrais Institute of New York:
Feldenkrais is a way to re-educate the body’s movement patterns using subtle but powerful combinations of movements to access and change the years of habits that comprise our normal posture and way of using ourselves. Group classes are called Awareness through Movement classes and are generally mat based lying on the floor, although some classes take place in sitting, standing and walking. The movements in the classes help students to discover easier and more efficient ways of moving, which can indirectly provide increased strength or range of movement without having worked to build muscles or to stretch them.
Attention to internal experience is a large part of the method and as such there are similarities to some martial arts but without a set external form that is practised. The Feldenkrais method can change deep-seated movement habits and as such can improve balance, performance in sports or quality of movement in dance. Feldenkrais can provide relief from muscular pain or tension and is particularly helpful in preventing recurring injuries caused by our habitual ways of moving.
The method can be applied at many levels, from rehabilition for stroke victims to fine tuning movement for professional musicians and is particularly useful for sports people, dancers, musicians and actors. Classes normally focus on a specific theme such as connection with the ground or spinal rotation and there is a huge variety in topics. The movements are exploratory, varied and often playful with the overall class creating a sense of relaxation and ease as well as leading to improved posture and movement. In the words of the founder of the method, Dr Moshe Feldenkrais, the method is about “making the impossible possible, the possible easy and the easy elegant”.
If you’ve got this far and would like some further background reading another place to look is the Feldenkrais Guild UK:
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