A Unique Form of Movement Therapy: Feldenkrais!

There is a unique form of movement therapy that is the best kept secret known to mankind. This movement method can help you move better, feel better, get rid of pain, stress, anxiety, etc. It can even help you reverse the aging process and engage in activities you never thought you could do before. You can even learn how to stand on your head. The list goes on and on. This unique method is called Feldenkrais, and here  are a few reasons why Feldenkrais is unique from other methods.

Move from your skeleton.

In Feldenkrais, we focus on moving from our skeleton rather than pushing from our muscles. Because, our skeleton is what supports us, and our bones and joints are what propel us through space. Our brain and our nervous system is the command center that puts it all together for us. Our muscles simply shorten (contract) or lengthen (relax) according to what the system requires it to do.

Quality rather than quantity.

We are more interested in the quality of our movement rather than the quantity, velocity, or repetitions. When we change the way we approach movement, our nervous system is more able to interrupt movement patterns that are interfering with our ability to thrive.

Slow is better, and less is more.

We move slowly–very, very slowly. It allows for a way of “listening” to the movement pattern as well as the effect it is having on our body, and the feelings and sensations we experience as we move.

No pain, much gain.

We make ourselves comfortable. I know, it sounds self-indulgent and contradictory to the common mantra of “no pain, no gain.” However, if we are experiencing any kind of discomfort, our nervous system isn’t able to work it’s magic and integrate the many wonderful new changes it is experiencing.

It’s all about awareness.

In a nutshell, we are training our awareness. Our awareness of our selves, our movement patterns, our environment, and our relationships. Here is a lovely quote by Moshe Feldenkrais himself, the master of movement which summarizes it quite well.

“Through awareness we can learn to move with a surprising lightness and freedom at any age, and improve our quality of life. Not only physically, but emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.”        -Moshe Feldenkrais

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a beautiful thing. Thank you, Moshe, for restoring to each of us our human dignity, and providing us with the path to live up to our full potential.

Springtime in the Rockies, and Feldenkrais for One and All

Ahhhh, springtime in the Rockies! It’s a beautiful time of year, and one that I love dearly. Springtime anywhere is always special, but here in the Rocky Mountains, you just never know what to expect. And you have to be ready for anything.

It’s important to be prepared for any kind of weather or event that might surface, and it is also important to be flexible. The Feldenkrais Method can help you find the flexibility you need. Not just for the weather, but for every situation that comes up in life.

I had the distinct honor and privilege to spend a beautiful springtime afternoon last week in my favorite place in all of Colorado, Estes Park. I had been invited to teach a Feldenkrais class at their remarkable library for their Wellness Program. Of course, I accepted. I love Estes Park, and never miss an opportunity to go there. And I surely never pass up a chance to teach a Feldenkrais class and spread the word about this life-altering method. Besides, what a wonderful way to honor the upcoming birthday of the man behind the method, Moshe Feldenkrais himself.

So I happily packed up my teaching materials, and began the 70 mile drive north from Denver to Estes Park. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what the room would be like, how many people to expect (if any), or what the participants wanted from a Feldenkrais lesson. Assuming people did show up. Nor did I know what to expect from the weather. Like I said, springtime in the Rockies is quite unpredictable. It can turn from a bright, sunny day to a blizzard in a matter of hours. Yikes!

But, it’s okay. I am a Feldenkrais practitioner and have been for a long time. I am flexible, and I can handle almost any curve ball that gets tossed my way. Even if no one shows up for a class I have planned and drove 70 miles to teach. Not that it mattered, because at least the librarians would be there.

Well, people did show up. Quite a few of them, in fact. I shared a wonderful standing lesson with them titled “Unlocked Knees” or “Let Your Knees Be Your Teacher.” As always, I learned a lot from that teaching experience, and I had a great time. I was even invited to come back. That’s when you know things went well.

As I said my farewells and packed up my car to drive the 70 miles back “down the hill” to go home, it began to snow. Big, fat, soft, fluffy flakes. I stood outside for a few minutes just to enjoy the lovely weather, the sensations of the snow falling on my face, and the satisfaction of enjoying a job well done in my favorite Colorado town. I love Feldenkrais, I love Estes Park, and I love springtime in the Rockies!