This page describes the classes and one-to-one work I do as somatic therapist. Read also a general background to The Feldenkrais Method®. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about my work, or just to discuss whether Feldenkrais could be the right thing for you. For info about upcoming classes, pricing and booking click here.
The Feldenkrais Method®
Awareness Through Movement® (ATM®) Classes
The watchphrase of an ATM® class is “reduce effort”. Ideally we need to use an optimal minimum of effort in our movement. Using more than this leads to strain, discomfort, anger and, very often, anxiety.
Moving with ease whilst exploring movement possibilities leads to thinking differently about yourself.
Dr. Feldenkrais has said: Movement without awareness is just work. Moving with awareness gives your nervous system time to adapt itself without pressure from the outside, emphasising the deep personal enjoyment involved in discovering new ways of doing.
If we apply too much effort when learning something new, our nervous system often registers only the effort, not the thing learned. For many of us, this is exactly what has happened when were driven, or being driven by the wrong kind of motivation.
Dr Feldenkrais’s basic tenet suggests that by doing less of the bruising physical work whilst learning movements, we both achieve more and enjoy a greater sense of achievement. It is the exact opposite of the idea that suffering is the key to achievement. For Feldenkrais suffering is the key to…..well, suffering!.
Good learning happens when the atmosphere in which we learn is made the least pressurised possible. The practitioner’s job is to hold the learning space through the use of calm, clean language – thus allowing participants to journey deep into their active understanding of themselves where they are as a prelude to gentle and sustainable extension of their abilities.
ATM® are based on a kind of practical philosophy of learning by doing. Classes have a cumulative effect, producing a greater sense of sustainable effectiveness in your moving and often your thinking. As the special quality of calm, non-pressurised mindful moving becomes familiar, it is as if your nervous system finds a simple sense of ‘home’.
It has played a huge part in improving my well being both physically and mentally. If I’d had a bad day or I had something weighing on my mind, or whirring around in my head a Feldenkrais ATM class always helped to put things into perspective.The tone of Alan’s voice helped to put one at ease, also there were moments of humour which are important for learning.
(E.N. Lavenham, Suffolk)
At one point I really felt like baby, experimenting baby movement , finding my way. It took some effort to put aside all I know about how to move and also to look at what holds me back , what makes me feel awkward .
Once I managed to put aside some of the “learnt” patters – the movement was natural and pleasant. My body felt happy for days after.
(A.K. Norwich. Yoga teacher)
Functional Integration® (FI®) Lessons
Due to Covid19 restrictions, I am not giving FI lessons. However one-to-one online sessions are available, tailored to your needs and concerns . These sessions are based on a detailed specific conversation between us specifically centred around the restrictions you are currently experiencing in your moving. Cost: £20
The aim of Functional Integration® is to explore, in a more intensive and personalised way, the issues and challenges you might face in your physical being.
I recommend that you start with a sequence of five lessons, with anything up to a week between them. This gives your nervous system time to adjust to the pace and deep focus of the techniques I use.
In ordinary times, I practice from my studio in Edinburgh and from the Penny Jones Pilates Studio in Ipswich. However during COVID 19 this has had to change. I hope to resume face-to-face service as soon as I can.
You will be fully clothed, and might lie on a low, wide and comfortable table, or you might be seated, standing, kneeling or lying on the floor.
I will guide your body using gentle, non-invasive manipulations of your skeleton. I am focusing my thinking on the ways in which your nervous system might be preventing the free communication of forces through your frame. The decisions I make are based on what I find, and what your body allows me to do as your sense of freedom expands. In this way lessons are a ‘conversation’ between the two of us and are responsive to you in the place that you find yourself.
It takes a one or two lessons for your nervous system to recognise and use what is happening during and after a lesson. After this the natural learning processes of being human take over. The effects are subtle and pervasive.
My shoulder issue (brachial neuritis) made a dramatic recovery after one session. Nothing else had affected it in this way before and the painful sensation I had been suffering from for four years mostly disappeared. A weight literally fell from my shoulders
(J.S. Manningree, Essex. Professional musician)
The sessions helped me see how I used my body more clearly – and how it could move differently. The way the sessions changed things such as the position of my arms and shoulders was surprising. I think I had always rolled my shoulders forward – and my GP was very clear that my frozen shoulder was likely to recur as a result.
The session changed that habit rapidly without lots of exercises. … the change has remained for the last few years so I assume it is permanent.The sessions also helped me get back to running after a series of injuries – again very quickly.
(B.L. Ipswich. Hobby runner)
Alan came with his table and gently manipulated my body into positions it had forgotten it could achieve (the first being lying on the table.) It wasn’t all passive. There was much visualisation and after a while some active moves on my part. Limbs that had felt too heavy to lift for some years would rise up with little effort.
Feldenkrais reinforced my belief that the brain is plastic enough to find new pathways to regain at least some of what was lost.
(L.F., Stutton. Writer and Audio Describer. Living with stroke.)
I should also say that it is possible that after the first couple of sessions, the reaction may be less than comfortable. This of course wears off after time and is due to a ‘general protection mode’ within the nervous system that very often regards anything ‘new’ as a threat.
Professional membership and development
I am a member of the UK Feldenkrais Guild, the UK’s only professional association for Feldenkrais practitioners. I completed my training in 2001, in Berlin under the direction of the late Dr Mark Reese.
As a member of the Guild, I am committed to a personal programme of Continuous Professional Development, updating my practice by attending regular advanced training workshops and learning from professionals in other related fields.
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Knowing more about Feldenkrais
More about The Feldenkrais Method® here
For more information about The Feldenkrais Method® in the UK, and to find a practitioner near you: www.feldenkrais.co.uk
In terms of your personal (re)search – google “Feldenkrais and……” filling in the issue/challenge/question you might be seeking to address.