would you describe the Feldenkrais Method? What is it (briefly)?
Feldenkrais Method® is a unique approach to improve overall human
function through movement. Now, that's not going to mean much to most
people. It’s a little like trying to explain gravity or electricity,
everybody's eyes glaze over two sentences into it, but if you point
out their effects, one can begin to develop a notion what it is about.
The Method is being used with athletes, musicians, dancers, martial
artists to improve performance, with children to overcome developmental
difficulties, with seniors to regain the mobility, flexibility and
confidence necessary to live an independent life, with patients suffering
from chronic pain, to MS, to cerebral palsy, to TMJ etc. to provide
relief from their symptoms, and with the general public to restore
the joy and vitality that comes with free and effortless movement.
method is unique in that it doesn't attempt to cure or heal people
but to show them how to learn their way out of limitations and to provide
them with the means to continue evolving themselves through a lifetime
of continued and pleasurable learning—so we can all become our
own best teacher! In that sense the Feldenkrais Method belongs in the
field of scientific inquiry concerned with how to make life more enjoyable,
more satisfying, and more meaningful. It’s a methodical investigation
of how to make the best use of our endowment as human beings. And I’m
not giving away any professional secrets when I tell you that one of
the things we found in the course of this investigation is that most
of the physical and mental limitations that we consider permanent,
solid and irreversible, in fact open up to change quite readily, once
we learn how to do it. The range of conditions that can be improved
through learning and through more developed skills in using ourselves
is vast and the Feldenkrais Method explores the best conditions under
which human beings change, evolve and learn. And it turns out these
are not the conditions that most of us usually set for ourselves when
we're trying to change or learn.
Q: If we asked a student who had just
completed a weekend Feldenkrais seminar to briefly describe what they
got out of the class that they didn't expect, what would they say?
question, because a lot of what happens in a Feldenkrais workshop fits
in the category “new or unexpected experiences.” Participants literally
discover new sensations, new feelings. They find that the most mundane
actions like walking, turning, getting out of a chair can be imbued
with an exhilarating sense of ease and pleasure; that’s why you usually
see people with a smile on their faces at the end of a workshop. One
can think of it as the tantra of everyday activities, people spend
time and money in order to make their sex lives more enjoyable ...
why not do the same with walking—it’s something we do much more frequently.
unexpected benefit is that people discover that they are actually much
more efficient and much faster learners than they ever knew, they often
start pursuing new interests or begin actually doing things they've
always wanted to do, but never attempted.
Q: How can the workshops benefit massage
practitioners in their profession?
a number of ways. First, every inefficient posture, every unnecessary
effort is going to affect the quality of your work. It’s going to make
your handling less precise, it's going to create “noise” in your interaction
with your client. In the long run it’s going to interfere with your
ability to work at all, because all the unnecessary effort doesn’t
just dissipate into thin air, it goes right into your joints, into
your muscles, your tendons, your ligaments and one day they’re just
going to go: enough! That's especially true for those who do Swedish
and deep tissue massage. Apart
from that, it will renew your motivation for your work and it will
broaden your perspective on working with the body in motion.
Q: How does
someone become a Feldenkrais practitioner?
become a Feldenkrais Practitioner you have to complete a 4-year training
program with 40 training days per year. In other words, if you consider
running for president, I’d suggest taking the training instead, because
by the time your term ends, you would have completed a very rewarding
experience and just be about to begin a new and fascinating career
—and you would feel younger and more vital than when you started,
something that none of our previous presidents could claim. Joking
aside, the four years are likely to be the most intellectually stimulating
and personally transformative period in a student's life.
weaves functional anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics, evolutionary
theory, and psychology into an intense process of movement exploration,
a deepening of sensory awareness and increase in muscular efficiency.
For many students the training provides not only the opportunity to
learn a profession and to get to know themselves, but to begin to create
the selves they want. For more detailed information I would refer you
to our web site: www.feldenkraisinstitute.org
interview was conducted by Lisa Nichols.