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For all ages

Feldenkrais-Not just for adults

By: Rinat Levin-Chervin

The feldenkrais method is a unique form of learning through fun, pleasure, curiosity and play – a method which entails both educational achievements and social advantages.

What is the Feldenkrais method?

The Feldenkrais method is, first and foremost, a way of thinking which provides optimal conditions for learning and re-educating. It guides the student to instant information processing, while performing action, and feeling.

Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais researched and developed his method, which is based on scientific rules and laws, and influenced from basic principles in martial arts and self defense. He was the first Israeli to have a black belt in Judo.

The Feldenkrais method emphasizes the strong relation between the natural development of the human being and the nervous system, and their connection to the skeleton and the muscles. It is on this foundation, that the lessons are based.

Participating in group lessons stimulates learning, listening to your body, sensing and motion. It is meant to increase the awareness to your body and to the way you move.

This way, internal processes are initiated. Such processes that enable change and substantial improvement in the body’s posture, coordination, orientation and breathing. One is able to reach a deeper understanding of the body parts, the range of the movement of his joints, his center and the different relations between the body systems. One can notice the existing possible movements as well as newly learned possibilities. This way, the student is able to distinguish between his/her efficient motion habits, which serve him well, and those habits which are damaging, limiting, undermining and frustrating him, and which may some day cause pain, inconvenience and degeneration of the body.

You can prevent future disorders

In the Feldenkrais lessons, the ability of the student (infant, child, youth, adult) is being improved. The process allows us to preserve and spontaneously maintain the good habits, while changing those habits which require change. This way, future disorders can be prevented and the student returns to normal ability and functioning.

Discover your reactions and everyday habits

Most babies and children have flexible, well formed organized bodies. Their manner of motion is easy and pleasant, and they enjoy moving while playing etc. This is why they do not suffer from chronic pain or posture disorders.

A  well formed organized body enables normal movement and functioning, efficiently and painlessly.

 The older a person gets, the more he/she tends to adopt his/her own unique ways of motion and posture. These habits are usually in accordance with one’s body structure, heredity, surrounding, life story and experience, occupation, character and body self image. For example: sitting in a classroom while watching the board, listening and writing, standing, walking, running, swimming, jumping, riding bicycle, bending, lifting objects, carrying a school bag, getting up etc.

Postural and behavioral disorders can be observed already during adolescence: Youth who walk bent or sit all bent in class, or carry school bags in an unbalanced way that is harmful mostly to the back, shoulders and neck.

Body and soul

From my work experience, I can testify that these various disorders may cause a deterioration in the overall functioning and ability of a student. This is expressed in pain, discomfort, inability to concentrate, fatigue and stress. This deterioration in the functioning of the student at school and outside school, will in some cases cause deterioration in (his/her) academic achievement, listening capability, perception and analytical capability during and after class. The student’s thinking and will power will be damaged.

Gradually, this may cause a student to interfer his friends and teachers, show intolerance to others, lack self confidence, show inability to solve problems and make decisions, lack maturity, become dependent on others and look for easy, adventurous and stimulating engagements such as drug addiction, theft, mischief, violence etc. Such a person, upon finishing high school, will not be properly ready, mentally and physically, towards life – e.g. military service – and his/her contribution to society will be limited throughout his/her life.

The ingenuity in the way of learning   

In the lessons, the learning takes after the natural learning of a baby, when it begins to turn over from lying on his back to lying on his stomach, or lift its head, crawl, sit, walk for the first time. In the primary, voluntary stage of learning and acquiring a new ability, the baby examines, by listening and using all his senses, how the motion takes place, which organs, joints and muscles are involved in the movement. To what extent, and when, a feedback is received from the nervous system as to how was the performance compared with the original, planned motion. An attempt to improve and adapt the performance takes place instantly, if necessary. But this kind of learning is not sufficient.

In order for the newly acquired movement pattern to assimilate and become a habitual, comfortable, automatic movement, we repeat the same pattern in different situations of posture, surroundings and motivation. This is motor learning. In order to develop an ability, the baby will make many attempts to extend his hand forward while lying on its back, and then while lying on its stomach, once to catch a noise-making toy, another time to lean on a chair so as not to fall down during the numerous, various attempts to stand up. The motivation and the development of the cognitive perception are essential in the process of acquiring skills.       

In the beginning, the baby extends its hand forward and touches a ball, an apple and an orange, while being incapable to distinguish between them. It puts everything in his mouth. In time, the baby learns to recognize the objects and tell them apart. It knows that he can play with the ball, eat the apple without peeling it, and eat the orange after peeling the skin. The baby’s behavior is adaptive to the surrounding (adaptive behavior), and includes planned, organized skills.

There are some conditions on which this behavior is dependent: the brain’s ability to absorb the received stimulations and organize them, the inner motivation of human beings to examine their surrounding and experience challenges.

This behavior also includes curiosity, pleasure and learning. All these are developed during a Feldenkrais lesson. Children like to move and touch a lot, because the stimuli caused by touch encourage certain organization in their brain. This is one of the most important advantage of the Method. It creates numerous opportunities for trial and error experiences and amazements.     

Published in: “Briut al burya”, an Israeli alternative medicine magazine


Nestor Levin

and Rinat Levin Chervin M.Sc.

Certified, expert teachers of the Feldenkrais method,

are happy to respond to any inquiry on the matter

At tel:054-5907755

 Telefax: 972-3-9364272

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