Feldenkrais Method, well known in the west as a holistic approach to
the re-education of body use and function, is attracting increasing
in Japan. A second 4-year training course is underway. The first Japan
training produced a group of 70 practitioners skilled in many fields
- medicine and
physical therapy, dance, theatre, music and sport.
"We call ourselves teachers, rather than therapists," says Roz Brown,
one of the first graduates. “Although it is therapeutic, what we do is
basically a form of education.” Roz combines language teaching in kindergarten
with Feldenkrais work, helping people improve their body functioning through
group and individual lessons.
In group lessons, known as "Awareness through Movement"(ATM), the student
is guided to notice the condition of the body and, by exploring the effects of
making various movements, which are often quite subtle, the brain begins to notice
changes as they take place in the body. The focus is on the students exploring
possibilities for movement in their own bodies rather than having a therapist
manipulate them. The movements are usually done lying on the floor. "The
effects of gravity are minimized and the musculature can rest in a neutral state
more easily. This makes it possible to isolate and separate the elements of our
movements", explains Brown. "The major difference with Feldenkrais
work is the extremely subtle nature of the stimulus we work with," she adds. "The
lightest possible stimulus is given because that is how the nervous system
wakes up, and how change
can be made."
are superb. They've been wonderfully helpful in assisting me in
overcoming severe chronic pain. I feel so much
freer and at home in body after a session with Roz. She's truly a
individual patterns of body use involve complex networks of small muscle
movements that kick in at the sub-conscious level. To explore new ways
of using the body we need to come down to the level of the tiniest
movements, even to the point where the signal goes from the brain to
the muscle. We often work in the imagination only. We also work with
unfamiliar movements. By playing with
movements we don’t normally make, the nervous system is given a gentle
nudge to pay more attention!"
People may turn to bodywork due to pain and discomfort or lack of movement after
an accident. Many are looking to improve their functioning in sport, performance
arts and other occupations requiring effective use of the body and voice. Awareness
is the key according to Brown. " We all have areas we would like to improve,
but we don’t really know what it is that we do that creates the problems
we experience. Without that key we will re-create our problems over and over."The
net result is a menu for change. "In the quiet of a lesson
we allow ourselves to discover something new about how we move
and how we
could move. The experience of feeling our bodies differently gives
new options, sometimes conscious but often an organic process that
out of the learning process. Once presented with these options,
the brain will
reprogram the nervous system to select a more comfortable way.
This is the meaning of awareness through movement."
"ATM lessons promote a feeling of well-being and lightness," she
continues. "Genuine relaxation arises when muscle tonus is
spread evenly over the entire body, rather than certain parts being
while others do all the work. We don’t tell the students
how to BE or how to FEEL. Much of this learning takes place on
constructed his lessons craftily, to increase awareness at a very
subtle level as well as at the gross level."
"Exploring movement is just like playing with a new language. When you
learn French you may play around with the famous shoulder shrug, or spreading
the hands expressively. Successful language learners do this instinctively.
The gestures are part of the language, and help to get the language wired
brain. It certainly gets the learner more accepted by native speakers."
"Foreigners in Japan may explore the language of bowing and other gestures,
we can do just the same for the language of walking comfortably, or standing
and sitting gracefully, or carrying things with less strain. Adjusting
to our environment as we grow means that many people become locked into fixed
habitual patterns that are often no longer appropriate. We stop exploring;
but we can
learn to explore again, just as young children do.
The good news is that it’s never too late to change and grow. "Neuroplasticity
is a big topic these days, the ability of the brain to reprogram itself,
and I think that most people would agree that motivation coupled with
awareness is a powerful recipe for change, regardless of age.."
Recent brain research is giving the same message. Small children do an
astounding amount of learning, all by observation, exploration and trial
and error, none
of it "taught" in the conventional sense. Many scientists are
convinced that we need to learn more from the processes by which the
to organize itself in its early environment.
Roz came to Feldenkrais work through her study of yoga. "I had suffered
muscle tears and was actually becoming stiffer, despite all my efforts.
A few lessons with a Feldenkrais teacher helped me release deep tensions
with no pain.
I was impressed, of course. When I started the training I became fascinated
by Feldenkrais’s analytical way of looking at movement from every
angle, taking it apart, exploring each part and then putting it back
"Change never takes place by effort and aiming for perfection." Brown
saying “Practice makes Perfect” should be changed to “Patience
makes Progress”, but the patience is not suppressed frustration held
in check. It’s more like enlightened and detached observation.”
The Feldenkrais Method is used in helping stroke victims, children born
with disabilities and people suffering from debilitating accidents. It
Brown, help us all to “live more comfortably in our skins. In a
Feldenkrais lesson the students learn how to recognize their own comfort
learn to stop
going too far and to trust their own reactions. This means taking responsibility
for your own learning. When we say the method is a kind of education,
it is in essence about how to learn. That is the most important and empowering
Moshe Feldenkrais, a Russian physicist, taught in the 70s and 80s when so many
developments were made in body and mind work. He interacted with many other revolutionary
thinkers, like F.M. Alexander, Margaret Mead and Milton Erickson. He was both
a pioneer and an eclectic all-rounder, drawing on his background in physics and
mechanics, and his advanced skill in Judo and Jujitsu, to refine his method of
developing human potential. To Feldenkrais fans, the world is only now waking
up to the implications of his work.
Roz Brown sums up the essence of this fascinating method, “For
me, personally, the changes have been dramatic but it has not been a
The change has come from inside, from developing better kinesthetic sense.
The awareness we are talking about is integrated and not on the level
of a conscious
decision of will. The Feldenkrais Method talks to the brain, not the
muscles, and shows how, by exploration and by not trying to do something
can create a space for ourselves where we are free.”
ROZ TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE LATEST CLASSES AND PRIVATE SESSIONS Phone:
044-935-6309 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
has a really creative way of presenting and leading in an ATM lesson.
She uses her voice to great effect - a few gentle suggestions
lead the way easily into the process of exploring the here and
now of one's state of being, leaving behind all the demands and
of the outside world. Exploring becomes fun, always with a light
and humorous touch. Great creative imagery - very poetic at times!
the past few years every ATM lesson with Roz has been of tremendous
value for me in learning to be more at peace in mind and body -†moving
closer towards being the way I want to be, leaving tensions behind
and finding new ways of moving and living. The lessons have been
a kind of oasis for me. In FI work too Roz has a very sensitive
touch, never intrusive or overbearing. Some changes come very quickly
lightly, but there is much work that needs time and patience and
(I spent so long creating my own blocks and problems!) The way
of working lightly with attention but without trying to achieve
me many years to understand. Getting there has been fun."