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The Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais Method is a experiential learning process based on attention to oneself.  There are two modalities, Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration.  In ATM (Awareness Through Movement) the practitioner guides the class through a series of movements which seem nonsensical but by the end of the lesson makes sense.  The class usually starts lying on your back and noticing you contact with the floor.  The practitioner will guide this process by asking things like "how do your heels contact the floor?",  is one foot rolled out more than the other foot?",  "how much space is there behind your ankle?".   Once this inventory of contact is complete the practitioner will suggest a movement such as "slowly roll your left foot outward a few times" and then rest.  He/she may then ask you to roll the right foot outward and notice which foot is easier to roll.  After each new movement introduced you will be asked to rest and "scan" your contact with the floor again to notice any changes in the contact.  Eventually the movement of rolling the feet will be a complex set of movements that will bring you to sitting then standing.  There are over 1500 ATM lessons which Moshe Feldenkrais developed. 

Functional Integration or FI is a one on one situation where the practitioner works with the client "hands on".  In other words the practitioner moves you.  The idea here is similar to ATM except there is no set movement sequence.  The practitioner is working with you in an attempt to find where you move easily and where the quality of movement changes.  Through slow easy movements the nervous system begins to let go of habitual movement patterns by allowing muscle groups to rest and an increase of mobility is realized.  Again the movements in FI eventually are brought into standing where we spend 60-70% of our time in gravity. 

The basic idea in Feldenkrais is to learn to be aware of ourselves so that we can not only avoid injury but learn how to move from a point of neutrality so that every movement is reversible with the least amount of effort. 

"Make the impossible possible,  the possible easy and the easy elegant" Moshe Feldenkrais.


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