What is the Feldenkrais Method?

Pronounciation: Feldenkrais rhymes with “rice.”

When you take a Feldenkrais class, you move. And yet you move in a different way than, most likely, you are used to moving.

Feldenkrais as a young man

The Feldenkrais Method is named after its founder, Moshe Feldenkrais. He was born into a Jewish family in the Ukraine in 1904 and died in Israel in 1984. In between he lived a vigorous life. His first name is pronounced as though it were French: Moshé. His last name rhymes with rice.

Throughout his life Feldenkrais was interested in the experience of strength, or fitness for life. He learned early on that muscular strength is not sufficient in itself. There is something much deeper that has to be developed. He arrived at the understanding that what is needed is awareness.

Feldenkrais as a mature man

Feldenkrais expressed what he meant by awareness, among other places, in this statement given while teaching a large class:

“You see, it is not important if you do well, or not well. It is important, if you pay attention. It makes all the difference when you pay attention. That means, it improves and by way of this, a person can distinguish better. But, if he begins to do an action and does not check, the movement can continue a hundred times and stay the same. So, the attention, the checking, is more important than the movement. The movement is just a means to teach the person to feel, to distinguish, and to check because this is what makes the difference.” (1)

Some details

  • Although the Feldenkrais Method is good for everyone, most people who come to us are in pain. Commonly, pain is treated by a medical specialist, who is covered by insurance. Feldenkrais, however, is not medicine but a training system, and it is not covered by insurance. If you have a flexible medical spending account, though, paperwork will be provided, and you will most likely be reimbursed.
  • Feldenkrais professionals are identified as teachers or Practitioners. The people who use the service are students or clients.
  • There are two ways to participate: Individual Sessions, historically called lessons in Functional Integration (FI) and Group Classes, historically called classes in Awareness through Movement (ATM).
  • Who can benefit from Feldenkrais? The Feldenkrais Method is good for everyone. But you will get the most benefit when you feel that you enjoy attentive movement, are fascinated by how the body works, are willing to work patiently, and are interested in the relationship between body, mind, emotion and spirit.

Note 1: Professional Reference: AY 293, 5