Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), was an inquisitive thinker and an ingenious innovator whose life's work and understanding of human ability continues to be utilised by thousands of Feldenkrais Practitioners world wide.
He developed his unique method from the 1940s onwards. There are still a large number of practitioners and Trainers who took part in his famed workshops and Teacher Trainings in Israel, London and the USA. The Trainings today are closely based on those he taught in San Fransico from 1975-1977 and in Amherst 1980-1981.
Moshe Feldenkrais had a never-ending thirst for knowledge. His early life experience entailed a very real need for developing survival skills, which led to an interest in martial arts, especially Ji Jutsi and Judo. This and his experience as an emigrant, an academic in the fields of electronics, physics, mathematics and engineering, as well as his interest in childhood development all led to the gradual honig and refining of his ideas.
Rooted in a deep trust in every human beings' potential for intelligence and life-long learning, the centrepeice of his method revolves around his understanding that all human processes of thinking, feeling, sensing and acting invole some form of physical movement. His genius was to recognise thta he could use movement itself in order to engange, connect and refine the cohesion of these systems.
The Feldenkrais Method
The method Feldenkrais developed from this understanding helps people to experience their physical, cognitive, emotional and social abilities in order to live a fuller life. Every aspect of that life is reflected in individual movement patterns.
Feldenkrais classes use this potential in order to facilitate the development of new neurological pathways and offer the possibility of insight and change to musculoskeletal organization and self-use.
Through verbal guidance and touch, skilled Feldenkrais teachers can open doors to new levels of awareness for habits of sensing, thinking, feeling... and thus moving in certain ways.
Awareness Through Movement
Hence the name Moshe Feldenkrais chose for his group lessons, guided by verbal instruction: Awareness Through Movement. This "awareness" entails the ability to notice where one has been living in habitual, learned patterns of thought and action.
Becoming aware of unconcious embodiment of expectations, beliefs and socialisation and their effect on enactment in every sense simultaneously allows insight into previously unconsidered options.
The unusual movement experiments of a Feldenkrais class coupled with sensory cues, which draw your attention to previously unnoticed aspects of yourself, lead to a more awake, lively and creative state of mind.
The individualized, hands-on application of the Feldenkrais Method is named Functional Integration. Current international standards stipulate that Feldenkrais Practitioers who offer Functional Integration must have graduated from a four-year accredited Feldenkrais Professional Training Program (FPTP).
Moshe Feldenkrais associated "function" with the ability to perform an activity to our satisfaction. Most of us stop our learning process in the skills of life as soon as things are "good enough" and thus don't use the full potential of our possibilities. Accidents, illness, changes in the circumstances of life or environment further set us back. The idea of Functional Integration is to resume, continue and enhance these learning processes and come closer to living our unavowed dreams.