What is Feldenkrais Method: Meditation Explained

by | 10 Apr, 2024

A tranquil scene featuring a yoga mat

The Feldenkrais Method is a type of exercise therapy that was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais in the mid-20th century. It is designed to improve physical function and overall wellbeing through the exploration of movement patterns and habits.

Named after its originator, the Feldenkrais Method is a unique blend of biomechanics, neurology, and psychology.

It aims to help individuals learn more about their habitual movement patterns and discover new, more efficient ways of moving. This method is not just about physical wellbeing, but also about fostering a sense of self-awareness and mindfulness, which aligns it closely with the principles of meditation.

This method is often used in conjunction with meditation practices to enhance mindfulness and body awareness. In this glossary entry, we will delve into the intricate details of the Feldenkrais Method and its connection to meditation.

Origins of the Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, a physicist and judo expert. Born in Ukraine and raised in Israel, Feldenkrais had a keen interest in human movement and its impact on overall health and wellbeing. His method was influenced by his background in physics, his expertise in judo, and his interest in psychology and neurology.

After suffering a series of knee injuries, Feldenkrais began to explore alternative methods of rehabilitation. He developed a system of exercises that focused on improving body awareness and changing habitual movement patterns. His method quickly gained recognition for its effectiveness in improving physical function and enhancing overall wellbeing.

Philosophy of the Feldenkrais Method

The philosophy of the Feldenkrais Method is rooted in the idea that our habits, particularly our movement habits, play a significant role in our overall health and wellbeing. Feldenkrais believed that by becoming more aware of these habits, we could learn to change them and thus improve our physical function and overall quality of life.

The Feldenkrais Method is not just about changing physical habits, though. It also emphasizes the importance of mental habits and the role they play in our physical health. This is where the connection to meditation comes in. Both the Feldenkrais Method and meditation practices aim to foster a sense of mindfulness and self-awareness, allowing individuals to become more attuned to their bodies and their minds.

Principles of the Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais Method is based on several key principles. The first of these is awareness. Feldenkrais believed that in order to change our habits, we first need to become aware of them. This involves paying close attention to our movements and noticing any patterns or habits that may be contributing to discomfort or inefficiency.

The second principle is the idea of learning through movement. Feldenkrais believed that we learn best when we are actively involved in the learning process. In the context of his method, this means learning through physical movement. By exploring different ways of moving, we can discover more efficient and comfortable ways of performing everyday activities.

Role of the Feldenkrais Practitioner

A Feldenkrais practitioner plays a crucial role in guiding individuals through the process of self-discovery and learning. They provide gentle, non-invasive touch and verbal instructions to help individuals become more aware of their movement patterns and explore new ways of moving.

Practitioners are trained to observe subtle differences in movement patterns and provide feedback that can help individuals improve their physical function. They also create a safe and supportive environment that encourages exploration and learning.

Connection between the Feldenkrais Method and Meditation

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The Feldenkrais Method and meditation share a common goal: to foster a sense of mindfulness and self-awareness. Both practices encourage individuals to pay close attention to their bodies and their minds, noticing any patterns or habits that may be affecting their wellbeing.

While the Feldenkrais Method focuses primarily on physical movement, it also emphasizes the importance of mental awareness. Similarly, while meditation is often thought of as a mental practice, it also involves a strong element of body awareness. Thus, the two practices complement each other well and can be used together to enhance mindfulness and wellbeing.

Benefits of Combining the Feldenkrais Method and Meditation

Combining the Feldenkrais Method with meditation can have a number of benefits. Firstly, it can enhance body awareness. Both practices encourage individuals to pay close attention to their bodies, noticing how they move and how they feel. This increased body awareness can lead to improvements in physical function and overall wellbeing.

Secondly, combining these practices can enhance mindfulness. Both the Feldenkrais Method and meditation encourage individuals to be present in the moment, paying close attention to their bodies and their minds. This can lead to increased self-awareness and a greater sense of peace and calm.

Conclusion

The Feldenkrais Method is a unique approach to exercise therapy that emphasizes the importance of awareness and learning through movement. Its connection to meditation lies in its emphasis on mindfulness and self-awareness, principles that are central to both practices.

Whether used separately or in conjunction, the Feldenkrais Method and meditation can offer a range of benefits, from improved physical function to enhanced mindfulness. As we continue to explore and understand these practices, we can look forward to discovering even more ways in which they can contribute to our overall health and wellbeing.