The FM was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), a man ahead of his time, when he tore the cruciate ligaments in his left knee while playing soccer in the 1930s. His knee was very unstable and he had to teach himself how to move without further damage. With his background in martial arts, his Diploma of Mechanical Engineering and his Doctorate in Physics, gained in Paris, he experimented with very small, slow non-habitual movements and gradually found easier, more efficient ways to move and ease his knee pain. He was able to move well within the limitations of the damage to his knee, working on himself or having lessons from the Practitioners he had trained, until he died in 1984. He established that functioning well depends on our internal understanding of ourselves and our actions. The FM cultivates a uniquely human capacity for self improvement, through the conscious exploration of natural human movement.
Many people think this is one of the most exciting educational and therapeutic methods developed in our time. It is thoroughly researched and has a sound neurophysiological basis.
‘Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’ Method will be of great benefit to all of humanity. From my own experience, I know the remarkable results achieved.’
David Ben- Gurion, First Prime Minister of Israel
‘Make the impossible-possible, the possible-easy, the easy-elegant’
Moshe Feldenkrais 1904-1984
People who can benefit are those recovering from injury or strokes, everyone involved in precise movement skills, such as musicians, dancers, actors, athletes and those who use repetitive actions all day, such as computer workers or machine operators.
You will experience improvements in posture, breathing, flexibility, and awareness. Tension in muscles that we are using unnecessarily will release and all our musculature will be balanced which means our skeleton will be in its’ best alignment, moving easily and efficiently. What is more important is that we will learn to know from within ourselves when we are in our own optimal alignment. Pain relief is a welcome side effect of all this realignment.
Thinking can become clearer as the nervous system is not so cluttered with unnecessary movement and thought patterns. Many people find it easier to make decisions and focus their attention on what they really want to do with their lives.
Balance and co-ordination also improve so that we recover ourselves easily when we fall, or we fall without damaging ourselves. I saved myself from two broken wrists when I fell at tennis. I was about to hit the ground when my legs took over and ran me up to standing again. I burst out laughing as I was in my sixties then!
Awareness through Movement® classes (ATM)
Students are guided to re-experience simple non-habitual movement sequences. Awareness is focussed on breathing, co-ordination and self image. We challenge old habits about “trying harder” by emphasising the quality of movement and sensing graceful, small, slow and efficient movements without pain. Each lesson is different and builds natural flexibility and balance at the students’ own pace.
Lessons are done in all the many positions we can use in real life, so that we develop a more accurate self image and this transfers into our daily life. All students work within their own comfort range and rest when they need to. “Less effort, more gain” could be our motto, not “no pain, no gain”! There is no pressure to “achieve” but to arouse our curiosity about how we behave and explore ourselves from the inside out, not the outside in! At the end of a lesson, students often sense the support of their well aligned skeletons and how much more freely they can move.
Some people come to the Method as a form of self discovery, to learn more about themselves and to enhance their general wellbeing. (The FM does lower high blood pressure)
Functional Integration® lessons (FI)
These are for people with specific needs. The student lies fully clothed on a low padded table and is subtly guided to sense a wider variety of neuromuscular responses and encouraged to notice habitual movement patterns. Newly felt options are then integrated with everyday functions. Not manipulation, not treatment, this is a process which involves the participant in self correction. You will notice that you are moving more easily through Life!
FIs are also done in many different positions in order to give the nervous system (NS) an experience it can take into the functional movements of everyday life such as bending, reaching, coming from lying to sitting to standing, walking, getting in and out of your car, reversing it (students often say they have to adjust their rear vision mirror after a lesson) running, jumping, swimming, sitting at a computer, using your voice well, getting down on the floor with your children or grandchildren, hanging the washing out etc. Our body image is not always accurate so the clearer your NS is from all perspectives of posture and movement, the more accurate your body image will be and the easier your life becomes.
Tom taking an Awareness through Movement® lesson
Madeleine giving a Functional Integration®
These classes are open to everyone. You don’t necessarily have to have a particular problem to attend them as you will benefit in other ways. We can all learn to be more effective and improve the quality of our lives.
The only requirement is to be able to get up and down from the floor (with help if necessary)
1. Better Bones and Balance
This workshop is designed for people who have poor balance and/or osteoporosis. These Awareness through Movement® lessons help you to sense the support of your skeleton so that force may be transmitted optimally though your bones to strengthen them. When your balance and co-ordination improve, you are less likely to fall and with the flexibility you gain in the lessons, if you do fall you are less likely to do any damage.
2. Empowering your Pelvic Floor (PF) muscles
If you have some incontinence or you want to prevent that problem, these Awareness through Movement® lessons are for you. You will learn about the 3 holes,
the 2 sides, the 4 quadrants and the importance of breathing efficiently in these lessons. You will be amazed at the way you develop more awareness of the subtlety of muscles we take for granted and you will be able to control them more successfully for the rest of your life.
3. Sing with your whole Body
These Awareness through Movement® lessons are for those who would like to improve the use of their voice for any purpose. Actors, Singers, Teachers or those who would simply like to have more fun and confidence with their voices will enjoy lessons that address the use of the jaw and breathing in non-habitual ways as well as some simple voice techniques that will give you more clarity and power, but with less effort.
4. Lie down and run faster!
This series of Awareness through Movement® lessons is for athletes, sportspeople and dancers, but is useful for those who jog or walk for exercise. We take your body out of gravity and learn some non-habitual movements involved in running, walking and dancing. These lessons change inefficient habits into efficient ones and increase your enjoyment of these activities, preventing and healing repetitive strain injuries.
5. Gently Relieve Chronic Pain by yourself.
Gentle Awareness through Movement® lessons to explore different ways to release habitually contracted muscles, thereby allowing the circulation to improve, waste products to be removed and pain to be relieved. By gently giving your nervous system more choices we can come in under the radar and allow the nervous system to feel that we are not provoking pain with these small movements so it’s safe to begin to move normally again. Very effective!
6. Stand on your own two feet
Our feet have to support us over a lifetime, so we need to give them some attention.
The Awareness through Movement® lessons will help us to connect our feet to the rest of our skeleton and allow that skeleton to adapt to what ever surface we walk on.
7. Desk exercises for those sitting at Computers all day!
These Awareness through Movement® lessons are important for those who work in sitting (eg. computer operators or truck drivers) Most of them are done in sitting and increase your awareness of the support of your skeleton in sitting and ways to counter your habitual movements to prevent RSI injuries. They can also be used for elderly people who can’t get down onto the floor.
8. Put Back Pain behind you!
These Awareness through Movement® lessons are for people with back pain to learn how to change their pain provoking patterns. Protective movement patterns develop after injury and are necessary at first to splint the injured part, however if they persist they do further damage and pull us more out of alignment. We need to allow the nervous system to experience gentle non-threatening ways of moving, then we have a chance of regaining normal movement and relieving pain.
Everyone can benefit from these Workshops.
To hold these Workshops you will need a preferably carpeted room or Hall large enough for everyone to lie down (approx. 2sq.m each). If no carpet, you will need mats to lie on. Participants should wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring a towel.
Madeleine also has a series of simple chair lessons available which are very suitable for people in Hostels or Nursing Homes.
For further information contact Madeleine Edgar via phone or email.
FELDENKRAIS WORKSHOP LIST
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ReMIND your Body using the Feldenkrais Method daily