Nina Feldman Gives Us the Inside Scoop on Feldenkrais And Its Benefits
What is Feldenkrais?
The Feldenkrais method uses gentle movement to access the nervous system so that we can develop new connections in our brains and learn new ways of acting. This influences how we move, think, sense and feel.
I discovered Feldenkrais while recovering from a bad ankle injury. I am a physical performer and had fallen on stage on the opening night of my first solo show. After 6 months and trying many different therapies without success, I found a Feldenkrais teacher near to where I lived and started attending classes regularly.
Through weekly group classes and one-on-one sessions I gained a new understanding of how my body functions and that through actually listening to it, rather than working with force, I could achieve much more. My injury healed and I found a new balance in my body within 3 months and was able to continue with my performance work. Although the physical improvements were tremendous, I also noticed other changes in myself that were far more profound.
What are the benefits of Feldenkrais?
For many years I have suffered from anxiety attacks triggered by specific things. About a year after starting Feldenkrais regularly a trigger that would normally spark an anxiety attack occurred. I could actually sense somewhere in myself choosing not to follow the same path towards an anxiety attack, that I usually would have gone down. Rather I had other options open to me of how to react and deal with the situation that were more protective and constructive for me.
This is just one example of how Feldenkrais has allowed me to get to know myself, my resources, and the options available to me. I learnt that the Feldenkrais method is not a therapy, as I had first understood it to be, but a learning process that effects my whole sense of who I am. Its focus is not only the body, but it uses the body as the primary vehicle for learning.
What can you expect from a Class and Workshops?
Feldenkrais is taught in two ways, group classes called Awareness Through Movement and one-on-one sessions called Functional Integration.
Awareness Through Movements lessons take place lying on the floor, or sometimes sitting or standing. The teacher talks you through a sequence of gentle, related movements. Each new movement is repeated and explored, enabling you to become familiar with it, and to begin to play with unaccustomed movement relationships and complexities. By engaging your curiosity, gently and at your own rate, you learn to become aware of your sensations and use this awareness to release patters of tension and create new movement possibilities.
Functional Integration lessons are tailored to your needs and your situation. If you have a particular or acute difficulty, individual lessons may be useful for you. In a typical lesson, you lie fully clothed on a table and through touch the teacher guides you towards new ways of moving and organizing yourself.
Blog post by Nina Feldman
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