Published on June 28th, 2017 | by Christin Harvey0
Forming New Connections with the Feldenkrais Method
The Feldenkrais Method, a way to teach movement, is for anyone that wants to avoid pain, relearn the healthy movement patterns of youth and reconnect with their natural abilities in a meaningful and sustainable way. Much as meditation helps us focus on our breathing and ultimately trains us to hone our concentration, the Feldenkrais Method uses gentle movement and directed attention to make us aware of our unhealthy patterns, and ultimately guides us to discover healthier alternatives that link us to former versions of ourselves.
Many of us have suffered injuries while enjoying our favorite activities or even while performing daily tasks, yet even after we heal, some continue to experience pain or remain fearful and anxious of re-injury. This uncertainty may cause an individual to physically and psychologically guard themselves and as a result, unintentionally develop modified and limited versions of what were once fluid and natural movements.
This unintended compensation may leave us feeling out of balance and could have a domino effect on other areas of the body, because our parts are connected, like links in a chain; if we immobilize just one link, the effect will be evident all the way up the chain. The Feldenkrais Method provides us options to relearn healthy movement patterns and revert to our natural abilities. We don’t need to quit the activities we love, we just need to change the way we are doing them.
The most effective way to avoid re-injury and unnecessary pain is to change our movement habits by retraining our brain and nervous system. Our brains are constantly looking for the easiest way to perform an action, so if we repeatedly present it with an easier option, it will quickly take the lead. This is the principal of neural plasticity and the framework of The Feldenkrais Method.
During a Feldenkrais lesson, we are invited to make slow, gentle, movements, adding in successive parts of ourselves so that by the end, we have learned to utilize our whole selves in one fluid movement. The parts of our bodies are intended to move together, not independently. When we roll out of bed in the morning, we should cascade onto the floor like water being poured from a glass, not like a glass being knocked off the nightstand.
The Feldenkrais Method is taught and learned in two ways: Awareness Through Movement (ATM) and Functional Integration (FI). During an ATM class, the practitioner verbally guides a client through a series of movements designed to engage parts of the body that are often left out of the loop. During an FI, lesson the practitioner moves the client gently and easily so they can experience movements in a new and improved way. Both ATM and FI can be tailored to each person, with the progress often being quite pronounced after only a few lessons.
Christin Harvey is a guild-certified Feldenkrais practitioner and licensed massage therapist at Salt of Earth halotherapy center, in Chestnut Ridge, NY. She offers private in-home service in the tri-state area, as well as ATM classes at Nenriki Therapy at Vista Natural Wellness Center, in Oakland. For more information, call 914-299-3838 or email ChristinHarvey@yahoo.com.