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Fundamental Feldenkrais

Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration

Gentle, natural learning:

The basis of the Feldenkrais Method, developed by physicist and martial artist Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, is profound learning in the body and the nervous system. This occurs naturally as you work with your attention, following movement in your body.  In Awareness Through Movement classes, you explore movement actively, via verbally guided movement sequences.  In private Functional Integration lessons, your exploration is more passive and individually oriented.  In both cases, your brain understands at a deep level that freedom from the limitations of your habits is in sight. Your mind and body move into a state of relaxed alertness, a natural partnership that will gently reestablish internal connections you had as a child. Movement is easier, more intelligent, balanced, and more pleasurable!  Thoughts and feelings get lighter, more flexible and creative, because learning is fun again. It isn’t surprising that so many people refer to Feldenkrais as life-changing. 
So how is Feldenkrais is different from other modalities?
·  Yoga:  The Feldenkrais Method is focused on mindful movement, improved function and the dynamic re-organization of each person’s system. Students discover the most efficient and comfortable pathways to explore action in each moment. Ten people will do a movement in 10 individual ways that are appropriate for each person. There is no ideal form and no positions are held statically.
·  T’ai Chi:  Feldenkrais movements progress incrementally, step by step. The steps of a lesson are additive and often based on childhood development. Lessons may explore a function or movement task, like getting up and down from the floor, sitting or turning.  Each person performs Feldenkrais movements differently, according to their capacity and physical condition; i.e., there is no form, no right way to do a movement, except attentively and without strain or pain.
·  Pilates:  Feldenkrais is oriented to efficient, easy, reversible movement, improving balance, physical coordination and organization. Developing these qualities is a pathway to building strength in the body, but as a fringe benefit rather than a primary goal.   Feldenkrais is portable -- your body is the only Feldenkrais equipment you need, so you can do it at home, in the office, or even when you travel.

How is Feldenkrais different from physical therapy?
The Feldenkrais Method centers on helping students study their existing movement patterns and re-learn an improved  transmission of movement throughout their whole body, minimizing unnecessary muscular contraction and tension.  Examining movement in all parts of the body and its effect on all other parts supports the development of stable, comfortable and efficient action and movement.  Physical therapy targets specific muscles or muscle groups that are isolated from the rest of the body for repair and/or strengthening.  Feldenkrais usually comes after PT in the continuum of healing, and sometimes replaces it.

How is Feldenkrais different from chiropractic?  
Feldenkrais lessons do not adjust or manipulate bones per se.  Instead, lessons present new movement patterns and possibilities to your nervous system that safely help you regulate your own movement choices—consciously and subconsciously.  Chiropractic manipulates bones directly; but because muscles pull bones out of alignment, if new movement patterns aren’t presented, your muscles return to their old patterns, despite numerous skeletal adjustments—and the sequence of events causing misalignment continues over and over again.  

Orthotics yes or no?
Most Feldenkrais people tend not to be in favor of using orthotics. We believe instead that the body, when given the chance and support to readjust and move intelligently, will create a natural, long-term change in its own structure.  If an orthotic is deemed necessary for a very short period, it should be as thin as possible, perhaps the thickness of a business card. A small message to the nervous system is all that is required. This wisdom has borne fruit for decades, yielding happy feet and hips and improved balance in the entire body, for people all over the world.