The Feldenkrais Method, and the true measure of flexibility…..
It’s Feldenkrais Awareness Week, and a special time to celebrate this remarkable man and the Method that he created.
Moshe Feldenkrais never intentionally set out to develop this unique method of learning through self education. Instead, it slowly and gradually developed from his own personal experience and frustration from trying to heal from a recurrent knee injury. Every time he thought his knee was healed, he would inadvertently re-injure it, often just by stepping off of a curb and landing wrong.
After consulting with several physicians, he was advised to have his knee surgically repaired, with about a 50% chance of full recovery. He decided the odds were not good enough for him to go under the surgeon’s knife, and he chose a different path. That path was the road to self education and self healing, through movement.
His method is based on the scientific principle of neuroplasticity, which means that our nervous system is inherently malleable and flexible. This flexibility means that we (specifically our brains), are capable of changing and learning new patterns during the course of our entire lifetime. These new patterns are not limited to just physical patterns, but include thinking, sensing and feeling as well as moving.
One major philosophy of Feldenkrais is that the measure of flexibility does not lie with the flexibility of one’s muscles or joints. The true measure of one’s flexibility lies within the core of every living being’s existence: their nervous system. The ability to adapt to our ever changing environment, to interrupt habitual patterns that are not serving us well, to understand human nature, and the ability to recover from trauma is more than the true measure of flexibility. It is what brings us to the full measure of our human dignity.
I feel incredibly honored and humbled, to be a Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner and to carry on his legacy and the gift of his remarkable Method. Thank you, Moshe! Happy Feldenkrais Awareness Week!
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP