Monthly Archives: August 2018

How does The Feldenkrais Method help us in learning how to improve the quality and range of our physical movement?

We all have a pattern of moving in everyday life that becomes part of our physical bodies and this is what creates our ongoing self-image, our own personal “stories”. Some of these stories have been added unconsciously and some consciously, added on from our life experiences. These can be an accumulation of events, activities or emotions but is all part of a continuing evolution that started when we evolved into standing upright because of desire and necessity, these are the internal and external factors that shaped our bodies. This evolution is still going on as we adapt to work and living conditions, shape ourselves around furniture, screen watching, driving and sitting. There is also “learned parental behaviour” because when we were young, we learnt to walk and talk by imitating others around us – commonly our parents. We adopt those physical and mental attitudes because of constant exposure to these influences and that can lead onto our mental attitude to ourselves, to preferred physical activities and achievement which in turn again helps to shape our physical bodies, our self-image and self-expectation. This is our earliest form of neuromuscular training and this becomes part of our entire lives. When it comes to learning a different form of moving, our movement history adapts our approach: if you have a trained dancer learning yoga, they will produce a different adaptation to – say – a swimmer or a climber. So is impossible for everyone to be the same when we join a class and come to lie down on the mat. We also have another “history” which accompanies us when we try out a new way of moving and that is our injury history. This may have come about through accident or as a sports injury but they all have an influence of which we may not be aware. This influence may be a tightness on one side or an imbalance in the pelvis or simply a nervous reaction which restricts the range of movement because there is a memory of pain in one part of the body. All these elements feed back to the brain, shaping our personal self-image that is then fed back through the nervous system.

When we experience a Feldenkrais session, we are making a functional change to the way we move and to how we think we can move, creating a new neuromuscular pattern to aid in recovering from injury, old and unhelpful movement habits and strengthening our ability to prevent long term damage to the joints and skeletal structure.