Inside The Feldenkrais Method

Ilia Jones  |  Posted: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

For over 60 years, there has been a unique program that has been revolutionizing movement and mindfulness.  While there are thousands of people around the world practicing this method, it’s still new to many. The Feldenkrais Method uses an innovative approach to physical awareness that can drastically improve functional movement. 

What is The Feldenkrais Method? 

Nick Strauss-Klein, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, describes the method as “a system of movement and awareness education, focusing on learning to move well”. The method was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais and is based on principles of physics, biomechanics, and an empirical understanding of learning and human development. 

“This method allows you to change the nervous system,” says Nick. “We focus on somatic concerns throughout the body”.  He goes on to describe the practice as “a system of movement and awareness education, so we draw a distinction between education and learning versus a group athletic or fitness environment.” 

The Feldenkrais Method, as described by Nick, is about learning how to move well by becoming more sensitive to your body and gaining the skill of moving with less effort. So, what’s the benefit to developing skills of easier movement?

The Benefits of the Feldenkrais Method

This method goes beyond physical abilities. The method uses our experiences with movement and our own curiosities to build better behaviors. 

Nick describes the benefits of Feldenkrais, noting the nervous system. “We have experience, we sense that experience, and our nervous system responds. Eventually, we use neuro-motor learning to select the best response. The Method is all about using your own experience to learn new behaviors that will benefit your physical and mental habits.” 

The MindBody Connection

The Feldenkrais Method is described as organic learning that uses movement to allow students to develop more self-knowledge about their physical and mental habits. The method recognizes that the mind and body are connected as one.

“The way that we think about change is not limited to the body.” says Nick, “the changes that people experience while practicing the Feldenkrais Method go beyond the body.” 

In order to develop better physical habits, we have to also become aware of the habits that our mind and awareness have developed over time and experience. This understanding helps us to move with ease. 

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is experienced by as many as 50 million adults in the US. The Feldenkrais Method helps to counter and even completely eliminate chronic pain, as reported in the New York Times, by integrating the connections between the body and the mind. 

“The biggest reason people are motivated to try this method is often pain.” “I would say that in a given one-hour class, most people will experience a significant reduction in pain and a very nice sense of ease and coordination in their movements afterward.”

This connection allows us as humans to develop habitual movements that don’t contribute to the sensations of chronic pain. By practicing the gentle exploratory movements that make up a Feldenkrais class, participants are able to discover those movement habits that are contributing to their chronic pain and learn how to move in different, more effortless ways to avoid that pain. 

If you’re curious about The Feldenkrais Method, join us for a workshop!