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®
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 unnecessary effort when learning something new, our nervous system tags the thing learned as work, thus robbing us of the pleasure of that new something we have learned. Many of us have been affected by the old-fashioned way of thinking that told us, only hard work gets results. In the modern world, we are realising that effective and long-lasting learning is underpinned by just the right amount of effort.
Dr Feldenkrais suggests that in doing less of the bruising physical work whilst learning movements we both achieve more and enjoy a greater sense of achievement. The thing that we learn to do effectively and satisfyingly – whatever it might be – contributes to an enhanced appreciation of our abilities, to our sense of self.
It is the exact opposite of the idea that suffering is the key to achievement. For Dr 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 Feldenkrais® practitioner’s job is to hold a learning space through the use of calm, clean language and clear instructions. Participants are permitted to journey deep into their active understanding of themselves where they are, as a prelude to gentle and sustainable extension of their abilities.
Feldenkrais® celebrates where you find yourself now as the beginning of a journey during which you become confident of your own ability to make changes. Changes which arise during and following this process of deep recognition are life-affirming and long-lasting.
Awareness Through Movement® (ATM®)
The watchphrase of an ATM® class is “reduce your effort”. Ideally we need to use an optimal minimum of effort in our movement. Using more than this leads to strain, discomfort, pain, anger and, in the extreme case, fear and/or anxiety.
A major element of a an ATM® class is periods of complete resting in between movement sequences. Returning the body to a state of calm stillness in which changes can be noticed is crucial to a learning process that can produce long-lasting sustainable development.
ATM® is based on a 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 and 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 helps 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” patterns – the movement was natural and pleasant. My body felt happy for days after.
(A.K. Norwich. Yoga teacher)
Functional Integration® (FI®) Lessons
The aim of Functional Integration® is to explore in a more intensive and personalised way the issues and challenges you might face in your moving.
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.
My practice is based at my studio in Edinburgh, and at the movement studio of Lawford House Pool in Manningtree in Essex.
I can also do home visits, based on how easy it is for me to get to you, and how much space you have available. If you are interested in a home visit, we will need to work out the logistics of this in our initial discussions – including additional reasonable costs to cover my travel expenses.
You will be fully and comfortably clothed, and might lie on a low, wide and easily accessible 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 focus my thinking on the ways in which your nervous system might be preventing the free communication of forces and movement intention 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 one or two lessons for your nervous system to recognise and use what is happening during and after a lesson. Thereafter, the natural learning processes of being a learning creature take over. You begin to recognise the style and quality of the movements we make together, and the development of a new understanding begins to take hold. The effects are subtle and pervasive as you begin to be able to spot the difference that makes the difference. You become more consciously expert at being yourself.
My shoulder issue (brachial neuritis) made a dramatic recovery. 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.)
For more information please use the contact form here
or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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.