WHAT'S THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD®? 
So you have what you have: your body, your brain and nervous system.
Now HOW do you use them for translate your intentions into action?  
 
The Feldenkrais Method® definitely focuses on "the how." 
 
The Feldenkrais Method® examines our process of translating our intentions into action.  And this is interesting because movement make up our actions.  Through the Feldenkrais Method® we develop a keener ability to sense ourselves, and our system actually becomes more intelligent - more discerning - and so we develop a more refined internal guidance from this richer ability to perceive sensorial information that will enable us to find new and perhaps optimal ways of using ourselves (our human material) to suit varying daily circumstances.  These new "strategies" in daily action may help us improve in our favourite activities and even help us overcome what we previously viewed as "problems".  
 
Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais believed that human improvement is infinite. His method of sensory-motor education has helped many regain lost functions and helped many to develop their processes of learning for continual improvement of their motor skills regardless of age. Dr. Feldenkrais understood the power of our ability to learn as human beings.  It was with long apprenticeship that we learned to roll, crawl, sit, stand and walk, while other animals are born with the neurological wiring to stand up and run within hours after their birth.  This shows that  our nervous system has the capacity to reshape and evolve throughout life from new experiences, a phenomenon widely known as NEUROPLASTICITY.    
 
It is the job of a Feldenkrais practitioner to create an environment where the person can learn something new. 
 
The method is taught in two ways:          Awareness Through Movment (ATM) lessons
 
Functional Integration (FI) lessons
 
  • With the Feldenkrais Method® we learn to improve your way of moving, with more efficiency, ease and pleasure. 
  • We remould the way we think, sense, and feel to facilitate easier movement and also more options of movement.  We sense new details that will inform the way we carry out movements, movements being ingredients of action.
  • It is a method of sensory-motor education. The emphasis on learning is the key to the method.  We form and develop our own process of learning and refine the use of our HUMAN MATERIAL. 
 
 
 
 
 
From Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais himself
 
“What I’m after isn’t flexible bodies, but flexible brains. What I’m after is to restore each person to their human dignity. ” 
 
“Unless you know what you are doing,
you don’t have any choice.
If you don’t have a choice, if you can’t do the same thing at least two different ways,
you are a machine.
If you can differentiate the movement,
if you have an alternative way of doing something,
you restore human dignity to what it could be.”
 
"Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself."  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Entering the atelier
The method, for me, is like going into your atelier, or workshop.  You go in whenever you want and you just keep shaping and reshaping your project - tweaking it here and adding something here.  It is and has the potential to be constantly changing - never finished, yet, in a way, always complete. In the Feldenkrais Method ®, the project is our process of translating our intentions into action.  (Our use of self.)
 
We are physical when we are alive.  We are always in motion: breathing, getting food, sitting and standing, turning our heads to take in our environment.   Think about the ways you could sit yourself on a chair.  If you just watch a few people "organize themselves" to sit on a chair, the variations you will witness can make you appreciate the fact that we have many possibilities available to us!  
 
What if we could sense ourselves differently?  What if we thought about ourselves differently?  Could it open up for a broader repertoire of ways to move - to take action - in life?  How would inhabiting yourself and directing yourself in a different manner affect your overall spirit, your mood, the way you feel?  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apprenticeship
You only need to remind yourself of the broad variety of skills and expertise existent in our society to appreciate our immense capacities as a species.  Our skills become quite specialized.  Amongst us are scientists, dancers, musicians, singers, athletes, manual labourers, mothers, fathers, chefs, economists, etc. and all these skills and abilities were learned.  As babies, we had to go through intense apprenticeship as babies to be able to roll, crawl, sit, stand and eventually walk upright!  We gained knowledge through trial and error, resting in between, and then allowed our curiosity to guide us to new discoveries.  Somehow in our early teen years we lose this spirit of learning, and the Feldenkrais Method aims to reignite this trend of self-learning to promote continual personal development and growth.  
 
Perhaps it is an idea to forget talent and focus on enjoying a journey of learning and advancement!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Problems
You absolutely don't need a problem in order to have a Feldenkrais session.  Absolutely not.  The method focuses on improvement and betterment regardless of where you are in life with the question "What is possible for me now?"  Sure, we are to an extent defined by our genetic inheritance, but what we can do with our human material, well, there is a lot of play with that!  You can buy the most expensive, best quality produce, but it doesn't become a fine meal without knowing how to combine it together!  
 
What if pain, strain, and discomfort were all a result of inefficient or faulty use of ourselves? How could we participate more fully in our actions so we may distribute the effort more evenly and appropriately through our structure so we can be more effective and also expend less effort.  
 
WHAT IF THE PROBLEM ARISES FROM A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF OURSELVES?BY TAKING THE TIME TO SENSE OURSELVES WITHOUT A STRONG INTENTION OF ACCOMPLISHING ANYTHING, COULD THAT HELP US MOVE INTO COMFORT AND POWER?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Why is it sensory-motor education 
It is sensory-motor education because we are training ourselves to have a more refined quality of attention to the sensations we receive from within and outside ourselves in order to discover more efficient ways of moving.  
 
We simply have not been educated to sit, much less comfortably and effectively for varying situations.  At school we've been taught how to read starting from the ABCs, then words, and then grammar.  We're taught math, etc., but were we ever taught how to sit?  How do you organize your pelvis in a way that could support your head and your field of vision through your spine?  Were we ever taught to differentiate our shoulders from our ribcage so that we may be more dexterous and also gain better stability in our feet?  One could read about it, but that is different from the understanding you gather through your senses through experiencing all those ideas and theories first-hand through sensation.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"I don't know how."
The realization that you simply don't know how to do something can actually be liberating, as it opens up the possibility for you to gain new capacity and discover yet more of you.  Sitting in a chair comfortably, using your skeleton efficiently to bear your weight so it can free up your breathing could come across as strange, trivial, and pointless.  However, it is the implications of this possibility that begin to arouse wonder (at least for me).  
 
Who would you be with this ease and comfort?  
How would you feel organized effortlessly so?  
How will it affect the actions you take from here onwards?
How would you take in the world around you and respond to it? 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Right and Wrong, and Acture
What I love about Dr. Feldenkrais' way of thinking was that he didn't think in terms of right and wrong, correct and incorrect posture.  He spoke about "acture." Posture implies something static, while acture is the dynamic posture you have within your actions.  
 
You slouch deep into your armchair and really let yourself be the couch potato while watching your favourite tv-show after a long day's work.  You even prop your feet up to add that extra amount of indulgence.  Is that poor posture if you know how to move out of this posture without any pain or discomfort, and you know many other ways of sitting?  
 
Throughout daily life we find ourselves in different circumstances, and what might be appropriate in one setting might not be suitable for another.  The idea of acture allows us to stay open for our nervous system to be flexible and fluid to attend to the circumstances of the moment without holding onto fixed ideas of what good posture should be.  
 
Feldenkrais is like cooking
So you have the most lusciously ripe produce and premium-quality ingredients on the table.  
Do you automatically have a world-class meal?  
Doesn't that depend on the craft with which you combine, pair, and orchestrate the potential of your ingredients?  Is there new potential borne from the coordination of all these separate elements into one integrated whole?  Can one begin a process of learning to become a skilled chef whose simple "spaghetti aglio e olio" can be spectacularly memorable?  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  

Paul Pui Wo Lee 

Certified Feldenkrais® teacher

Movement/self-use consultant

   -based in Malmö, Sweden

 

paulpwlee@gmail.com | +46 707647376

 

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