The Feldenkrais Method

Developing movement through an organic learning ability

What is the Feldenkrais Method?

  • The Feldenkrais Method assumes that human beings have transformational potential and that all people, regardless of their age or condition, have the ability to learn.

  • The Feldenkrais Method is an educational system that develops a functional awareness of the self in the environment and utilizes the fact that the body is the primary vehicle for learning.

  • The Feldenkrais Method is an approach to working with people which expands their repertoire of movements, enhances awareness, improves function and enables people to express themselves more fully.

  • The Feldenkrais Method is a sensory motor learning system. It is a self-discovery process using functional movement exercises and self awareness with relaxed attention. Its aim is to help an individual to perform with minimal effort and maximum efficiency. The Feldenkrais Method, by helping the nervous system to reprogram its functioning, facilitates one to overcome many of the problems arising from injuries, faulty habits, bottlenecks in training, structural problems and brain functioning.

  • The Feldenkrais Method aims to develop movement through an organic learning ability of the nervous system (like the way infants learned to hold up our head, crawl, and walk). The emphasis is on the learning process, "how" the body programs a movement; not the how far, how fast, or how hard. People are asked only to perform what they can do comfortably. Participants are actively encouraged to move only in their comfort zone.

© International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive, Michael Wolgensinger

Two Modalities

The Feldenkrais Method is expressed and learned through 2 modalities of learning :

  1. Awareness Through Movement (ATM), a guided movement lesson; and

  2. Functional Integration (FI), a hands-on session with a practitioner.

What is "Awareness Through Movement"?

Awareness Through Movement consists of verbally directed movement sequences presented primarily to groups. There are several hundred hours of Awareness Through Movement lessons. A lesson generally lasts from thirty to sixty minutes. Each lesson is usually organized around a particular function.

In Awareness Through Movement lessons, people engage in precisely structured movement explorations that involve thinking, sensing, moving, and imagining. Many are based on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities. Some are based on more abstract explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships. The lessons consist of comfortable, easy movements that gradually evolve into movements of greater range and complexity.

What is "Functional Integration"?

Functional Integration is a hands-on form of tactile, kinesthetic communication. The Feldenkrais Method practitioner communicates to the student how he/she organizes his/her body and hints, through gentle touching and movement, how to move in more expanded functional motor patterns.

The Functional Integration lesson should relate to a desire, intention, or need of the student. The learning process is carried out without the use of any invasive or forceful procedure. Through rapport and respect for the student’s abilities, qualities, and integrity, the practitioner/teacher creates an environment in which the student can learn comfortably.