Monday, 25 March 2013

Discovering Feldenkrais

I started learning Feldenkrais method a little over a year ago.  I first heard of it when one of my Egyptian Dance teachers started the teacher training course and started a share a little of what she learned.
I first attended some workshops, then weekly classes and eventually moved on to private lessons.  Bit by bit, Feldenkrais lessons are starting to change the way I move, the way I think, and challenging my own assumptions about dance, bodywork and movement.

There are 2 ways in which Feldenkrais is taught.  The first is 'Awareness Through Movement'.  This is a group class, where the teacher talks the students through a series of movements, starting small and building up gradually into bigger things, helping the student to discover new possibilities.  The talking through, rather than 'watch and copy' is really important as it has the effect of stripping away any ideas of what a movement should 'look' like, leaving behind the opportunity to explore and observe, and allow real understanding and learning to take place.  There is play, there are 'a-ha' moments, there are new discoveries...

The second method is called Functional Integration.  These are one on one classes with a practitioner, as a kind of hands on physical therapy.  Classes focus on the individual needs of a student.  The movements are subtle, gentle and gradually bring the different components of the body together into an integrated whole.  

Here is a short video about Awareness Through Movement.  I particularly like this film because it beautifully illustrates a spiral, something which also appears in the movement vocabulary for my studies in Hilal Dance

Here is another clip, showing more of the class environment, interspersed with interviews with the students themselves:

To read more, find resources, or a teacher in your area you can try the Feldenkrais Guild UK or the International Feldenkrais Federation.

Main photo by Mary Beth Smith, from here.


  1. You might want to check out:
    which has a load of mp3s of feldenkrais/ATM classes available for download, free.

    1. Thanks Bea, I agree that's a fantastic resource!


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