The Feldenkrais Method Learning PrinciplesI find it rather difficult to explain how the Feldenkrais method works. I have my ways of explaining the pricinciples behind it but am always happy when I find someone who can explain it well and clearly. I found this Ted-X video on Youtube by Professor Dorit Aharonov that does a good job at explaining the principles behind the method of learning behind the Feldenkrais method. She lays out 4 principles that she illustrates by an example. The 4 principles are the following: 1. Start within your comfort zone and make it even more comfortable. 2. Not too easy, not too hard: Pick an interesting challenge within reach. 3. Move away from your desired place, and come back to it from different angles. 4. Play with it, connect it to other things you know, make it your own.
The lower part of our spine is strong, but as it bears all the weight, it is also mechanically vulnerable. Having all of our weight carried high gives us a great deal of agility but causes mechanical stress on the lower back and spine. People have found many ingenious techniques to deal with the problem of back pain.
To relieve the lower back pain that he was cursed with, man has utilized all types of tools and methods, he invented massage, bone setting and acupuncture to name but a few. However , more often than not the actual functional and mechanical “cause” of the problem is not dealt with and mainly the results of these are investigated and “treated”.
Every technique I know that proposes to treat lower back pain in a serious way gives some attention to the root cause of the problem, however, not enough in my opinion. The problem with all these techniques that do not go far enough in looking at the “root cause” of the problem is that they do not give a permanent solution.
Re-establishing functional balance is what the Feldenkrais Method aims at. It aims at extending the repertoire of movements so that the person now has a choice and can go about living everyday life in “movement diversity” and not always repeat mechanically the same painful movements that end up being harmful to the spine and inflicting great pain.
Throughout childhood we tend to be more flexible, but as adults we restrict ourselves a lot and become fixed in our ways. We have made choices and use a very small palette of movements to go about life. As babies we had an “infinite” movement potential and virtually an limitless number of movements to chose from, and by experimenting we came to chose a certain way of moving over others and finally honed it down to a limited vocabulary.
The habits we develop in our movements and the repetitive nature of those movements that are very often not optimal is in large part responsible for most of our aches and pains. Low back pain and bone and joint pain may be a result of life threatening diseases, but once that has been discounted the actual cause of the pain more often than not is bad use of self.
Inefficient movement seems to be the norm, we can through awareness learn to make our movements more functional and more efficient. The Feldenkrais method deals with this by offering alternatives. This change is brought about by playfully exploring different movement possibilities and doing fun and challenging moves with ones body.
The group lessons that are taught by a Feldenkrais practitioner are called Awareness Through Movement lessons. These lessons or ATMs are practiced mainly on a soft carpet on the floor. If you do enough of these you will begin to expand your own body awareness and movement repertoire.
There are trained Feldenkrais practitioners all over the world and in every state in the U.S. If you do not have one you can find a practitioner near you, you can find recorded lessons online in MP3 format that you can download and do.
The Feldenkrais Method
The Feldenkrais method was found by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. What is very interesting about this method is the fact that it is aimed at changing ones “bad” habits and replacing them with more functional ones. This is achieved through bringing ones conscious awareness to the way we move. He developed a series of moevements that are called Awareness Through Movement. These series of movements or lessons are practiced in groups on a soft carpet on the floor. The class is guided through a series of movements by a Feldenkrais practitioner. Each person is invited to explore these movements and “learn” about their own bodies. They are like exploreres exploring an unknown country and mapping it out. This “map” that they are creating will then be integrated over time and have an effect on the way they move and go about life. You can learn more about this method from this website What Is Feldenkrais you can also go to this Facebook page to learn more, What Is Feldenkrais. Wikipedia is a good place to get infromation also. You can access that Here.