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“What I’m after is not flexible bodies, but flexible brains . . . what I’m really after is restoring people to their human dignity.” - Moshe Feldenkrais
I'd already begun to focus my practice on teaching people through meticulous body and movement awareness when I first did a Feldenkrais lesson. Considering my objective knowledge about the body combined with the subjective changes I felt during those lessons, I immediately understood how deeply important this method of movement could be to affecting change throughout the nervous system. Since then I've learned much more about the potential of positive effects through Feldenkrais.
I am a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner.
Feldenkrais is a path to gaining awareness through movement. The gentle, slow movements bring to light longstanding and usually imperceptible habits. They allow for deep neuromuscular re-education so that the brain can let go of those habits and learn easier ways of moving. These movements, though they often result in decreased pain and improved function, are merely the vehicle for gaining overall awareness in any aspect of life that may become relevant for the person performing them.
Awareness Through Movement (ATM): These are guided lessons, traditionally done for multiple people in one room as a class. Every ATM lesson is different, and is an opportunity to learn something about yourself- how you move and otherwise. Even the same lesson may provide something different from one time to the next, because you are never the same from one day to the next. As long as you remain curious and are kind to yourself, there is no limit to the potential for learning within each movement of each ATM. One specific movement lesson can evoke different levels of change and different types/areas of change for each person in the room. This creates a space where there is no judgment, no right or wrong, no good or bad, only attention to what is, and noticing differences that can occur when this space is allowed.
Functional Integration (FI): A hands-on lesson, to some degree like a person doing an ATM lesson for you. Feldenkrais practitioners provide an gentle, supportive, informed touch. They do not want to push into any movement or fix anything. Any movement reflects the practitioner asking a question: What does my intention of moving this body part in this particular way create in the nervous system of the human in front of me? Based on what we can sense from attempting to move that part, we know where to begin to move next. It should, at the very least, be very comfortable and relaxing. But the intent is much deeper. An FI is two nervous systems informing one another, allowing each other to be open to learning something new and accepting one another for who they are and what they need in that moment in time.
A quote from Feldenkrais.com:
"The Feldenkrais teacher’s touch reflects to the student how they currently organize their body and actions. They suggest, through gentle touch and movement, expanded possibilities for new movement patterns which are more comfortable, efficient, and useful. Functional Integration lessons are flexible in their approach, determined by the student’s needs. The student may lie comfortably on a table designed specifically for the work, or do some of the lesson sitting or standing. As needed, the teacher may also use various props to support the student’s comfort, to make certain movements easier, or to clarify a movement.
Each Functional Integration lesson relates 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 teacher creates an environment in which the student can learn in safety and comfort. The lesson is developed, specifically for the student, custom-tailored to the unique circumstances of that particular person, at that particular moment. The student learns how to reorganize their actions in new and more effective ways through the experience of comfort, enjoyment, and ease of movement"