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  Maureen McHugh, Feldenkrais Practitioner         "Know Thyself"                  703-751-2111

    A long time ago Socrates advised men and women to "Know thyself." The Feldenkrais Method is part of the great tradition of searching for knowledge-of-self.

    When Feldenkrais began to develop his Method, he was in his late twenties and early thirties and living in Paris. He was a scholarship student at the Sorbonne in electrical engineering. The university also gave him a space to use as a judo studio. By teaching judo, he earned his living expenses.

    Feldenkrais began by working with individuals, at first his judo students and later also other people. He called this individual work "Functional Integration." This phrase can feel cold and unclear today; in the context of his life at that time, it reflects his immersion in the worlds of science and the martial arts. By "Functional Integration" he meant becoming more adept at using the whole of yourself in every action.

    As Feldenkrais gained more experience, he wanted to share his work with more than one person at a time; so, he started to teach groups. He felt the need for a new name. He called the group classes "Lessons in Awareness through Movement." (This was was almost immediately shortened to "ATM.") The new name reflects, I believe, a deepening in his own understanding of the source of the effectiveness of his Method.

    Beneath the pain that a person can feel, beneath the movement that a person can feel, beneath the reactions to everything that a person can feel, there is, in each person, a core. The Great Traditions, and especially the Indian, tell us that this core is consciousness. It is "pure awareness."

    By connecting with this great power, you can do many things.

    The Feldenkrais Method can be a vehicle for you to progress along the road of consciousness.

    You can use this vehicle for whatever is important to you. Certainly, by means of this vehicle you can reduce pain and  improve performance, etc. And, in addition, you can touch much larger things -- the whole mystery of being alive and being "a person" opens up by the seemingly simple approach of noticing "how I am" and "how I do things."

    Pain can be the doorway that leads you into a very large and ever-expanding space: self-discovery and self-knowledge await you.