What is Feldenkrais?

What is Feldenkrais?

To access what is in terms of how we can move, instead of being locked into habits that limit us. Here’s one example that you can do right now  – would you please stand up:

A small demonstration

Step 1: Stand with your weight on your left leg, and look to the left. How far can you look? Measure it by finding a point on the wall, and remember that point.

Step 2: Now stand with your weight on your right leg, look to the left. You can now look further behind you, right? Remember the new point on the wall.

Step 3: Now here’s the kicker: do step 2 again, but while still looking behind you, shift your weight from your right leg back to your left. You expected now to be looking at the first point on the wall, right? But instead of reducing your ability to twist, this action allowed you to look even further! How strange! What happened?

The first time you looked left, your neuromotor system perceived a limit to how far you could go. Your brain thought your body’s structure prevented you from twisting further, but actually it was your function. Some of your muscles were holding parts of your skeleton in place, blocking the full range of the twist with their habitual contraction.

When you stood on your right leg, the re-alignment of your skeleton stimulated your nervous system to send ‘release’ signals to some of those holding muscles. The so-called ‘structural blocks’ now disappeared; different bone-joints could now fold more easily; the twist became easier.

Then when you shifted your weight back to your left leg, your brain used that new perception of what is, that new possibility for your bones to cooperate and move smoothly, allowing you to twist even further!

It’s a process fundamentally different from massage or stretching. The change takes place in the brain – how it perceives the self and controls the muscles.

Not a martial art
Not yoga
Not meditation
Not massage

What can Feldenkrais do for you?

Release chronic tension in the body by teaching it how to move in a more exact way.

Improve capability and exactitude in any activity: acting, singing, playing a musical instrument, sports, martial arts etc.

Improve posture.

Reduce the effort of your movement but increase the power.

Take away aches and pains. Address all pains and stiffness that do not have a medical cause but are movement related such as sciatica, back pain, pains related to injury trauma etc. Recover from injury, stroke paralysis, etc.

Every human body has the capacity to move with the grace and power of a cat. But many in our modern society have lost that ability. Many of our bodies have become more stiff and wooden than flexible and lithe. Feldenkrais Method© is a gentle, scientifically exact, practical way to rediscover our innate litheness and power. It utilizes the power and flexibility of the skeletal structure itself, teaching your muscles how better to manipulate that structure.

The sensory-motor feedback loop: fixing attention on the exact sensation of how various body parts participate in specific, gentle movements allows the sensory nerves to send a richer, more complete kinesthetic picture of the movement to the brain. Based on this new information the brain relaxes some muscles while increasing the activity of others. The bones of your skeleton become both more independent and more interdependent. The result: you feel lighter, more open; your voice is more resonant; you walk taller and more fluidly.

I used to feel that the human body was an imperfect adaptation to verticality, that we never really made it to fully upright. I couldn’t find a way to stand up really well. Through Feldenkrais Method I discovered that it was not my bone structure that was the problem but the way my muscles were holding those bones in a constant constricted position. Once this was freed I could find a new, more functional way of moving.

Novica Sovtich, high school professor: “My spine is much more flexible; I have never felt better in my life”

Nena Šušnjar, JAT employee: “After only a few sessions my hunchback was greatly reduced”

Kosta Jeftich, pianist: “I can feel my body in an entirely new way, and my sound has increased tremendously in richness and color”

Alan Fraser, Feldenkrais Practitioner

Among the senior generation of Feldenkrais practitioners, Alan Fraser graduated from the Hawaii Feldenkrais Professional Training Program in 1992. He has given seminars in Feldenkrais Method in Hamilton, Montreal, Washington, London, Cambridge, Paris, Trossingen (Germany), Thessaloniki and elsewhere.

His other profession, that of classical pianist and pedagogue, has given him special insight into the application of Feldenkrais in the performing arts. This has led to his Feldenkrais for Pianists and Instrumentalists Seminars where participants experience groupAwareness Through Movement classes followed by work at their instrument where the principles of Feldenkrais are applied in practice. Here in his work with pianists he draws on exercises taken from his book, The Craft of Piano Playing, where his new understanding of piano technique in the light of Feldenkrais is presented in detail.

In addition to his unique and long-standing work with pianists, Alan Fraser works extensively with actors, violinists, flautists, singers and dancers, as well as with athletes and people disabled by discus hernia, stroke, birth paralysis, scoliosis and other movement/structure problems.

He teaches both Feldenkrais and piano at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, and has a flourishing Feldenkrais practice in Novi Sad and Belgrade. He is the only Feldenkrais practitioner throughout the former Yugoslavia.

Alan Fraser offers courses in Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration® in Serbia & Montenegro, and in Germany, France and Great Britain.

The Feldenkrais Guild Home Page

Ralph Strauch, Feldenkrais Practitioner – excellent introductory articles on the Feldenkrais Method

The Hawaii Feldenkrais Professional Training with Jerry Karzen

One Comment

  1. chris russell
    Posted 14 August 2017 at 10:15 | Permalink

    Is playing a stringed instrument i.e. bowing or strumming, best learned with your dominant hand?

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