“I don’t know how to describe how much better I feel.”
“I am really in awe of how much physical relief that one session gave me.”
“I never thought I’d ride a bike again, because my ankle didn’t work. But I can, after one lesson with Gillian.”
“After a lesson, I have to adjust the rearview mirror: my neck is longer!”
“Gillian gives me the space to think about what I do, so I can choose to change my movement.”
“After one lesson I could move my ‘frozen’ ankle. Such a surprise!"
“This is so radical. I am not pushed into doing things. I relax and enjoy.”
You should wear layered, loose, comfortable clothing, and bring some water if you are so inclined. Movements will be gentle and low intensity, and still you may find yourself thirsty after a session.
The Feldenkrais Method is named after Moshe Feldenkrais, who developed this system after a lifetime of studying science and sports (he was one of the first European Black Belts in Judo, as well as a Doctor of Physics). After chronically injuring his knee, he decided to use his vast training in science as well as martial arts to develop a new way of helping bodies improve movement. His theories caught on, and by the mid-1950s he was teaching and helping others with his practice full-time.
When you bring awareness to your body, it stimulates the brain to create new neural pathways to encourage optimal movement patterns and functionality. This is also known as “neuroplasticity.” When you learn better ways to move, your brain will help you develop better breathing, coordination, flexibility, and cognition.
Absolutely! The beauty of this practice is that it meets you where you are and goes from there. If you can’t get on the floor, you can sit in a chair. If you have difficulty with your left side, you can work on your right. You can even successfully visualize the movements if you can’t move something. Your brain will still develop the neural pathways needed to improve your quality of life.
As an athlete in any arena, you have learned to use your body, and to use it efficiently. However, you may have also developed habits that worked in the past but don’t now, or you may want to refine movements because of your personal goals. Feldenkrais practitioners have worked with professional golfers, equestrians, kayakers, hikers, runners, and more.
Actually, they are quite dissimilar. Unlike yoga, Feldenkrais doesn't encourage holding poses or stretching for lengthy periods of time. We don’t repeat the same positions over and over. Instead, Feldenkrais classes use gentle and unique movement inquiry to discern holding patterns, range of motion, movement inefficiencies, and even pain/discomfort. By learning what your habitual movement patterns are and how they may be doing you a disservice, you can choose to learn a new pattern of movement that encourages freedom and ease. In fact, a growing number of yoga teachers take Feldenkrais classes. The yoga industry has adopted many of the instructions you might hear in a Feldenkrais class—like “Breathe easily,” or “Don’t do too much”—because of the pain their students have created for themselves.