Oneironaut

Is the Feldenkrais method all that it's cracked up to be?

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I'm sure some of you here are familiar with the Feldenkrais method. 

 

The Feldenkrais Method® is a form of somatic education that uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning. Through this Method, you can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement. These improvements will often generalize to enhance functioning in other aspects of your life.

The Feldenkrais Method is based on principles of physics, biomechanics and an empirical understanding of learning and human development. By expanding the self-image through movement sequences that bring attention to the parts of the self that are out of awareness, the Method enables you to include more of yourself in your functioning movements. Students become more aware of their habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities and expand options for new ways of moving. By increasing sensitivity the Feldenkrais Method assists you to live your life more fully, efficiently and comfortably.

 

Can't the same benefits along with effortless movement, increased sensory awareness and lightness of the body be achieved through activities such as tai chi, tao yin, aikido, karate & judo? 

Edited by Oneironaut
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When I first started my meditative and rehabilitative journey I couldn't stand or even sit up straight for long periods of time and Feldenkrais work was pretty important in regaining neurological control of my body. A friend of mine just started learning xingyi with me and his Feldenkrais work previously gave him some hints to the process of body self discovery. Feldenkrais was a judo man and a lot of his stuff is really good for that art.

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As a useful preliminary to any type of physical training system Feldenkrais is hard to beat.  I discovered:
 
Awareness Through Movement
 
back circa 1977 and even though I had started practicing yoga when I was ten in 1961 (Through Richard Hittleman's "Yoga for Health" TV show) and practiced it on and off through my teens and had been working since the early 70s with Chinese style movement and meditation, nothing gave me the sheer ease of motion and natural limberness which Feldenkrais techinique gave me so quickly and easily.  With any other type of stretching, there was always a loss unless you stretched every day and a period of having to work back into it and if not practiced regularly the benefit was lost.  Working through the exercises in his book I was surprised to find that one session was enough to allow me to put my foot flat on my head.  Twenty-five years later I could still do it even though I had not done Feldenkrais for decades.  It is not a spiritual or qi type of system, but as a preliminary training for
 

 activities such as tai chi, tao yin, aikido, karate & judo?

 
or other forms of qigong and internal or external martial arts training, I think it would be hard to beat.

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Why do you see Feldenkrais as not being a spiritual or qi type of system?

Feldenkrais is a very good system of body movement awareness education and therapy.

 

But it deals strictly with neurological patterns related to movement and most Feldenkrais practitioners refuse to discuss any type of "energy" modalities.

 

I know some world-class Feldenkrais teachers that I would trust with my life if it came to healing physiological problems having to do with body movement.

 

But I have ZERO sense that they have any spiritual understanding, self-realization, or development . . .

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I'm sure some of you here are familiar with the Feldenkrais method.

 

Not sure (I only did a quick web search and read a bit about it). It feels like the Western version of Vipassana; if that's the case then

 

:)

Edited by Gerard

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I'm sure some of you here are familiar with the Feldenkrais method. 

 

 

 

Can't the same benefits along with effortless movement, increased sensory awareness and lightness of the body be achieved through activities such as tai chi, tao yin, aikido, karate & judo? 

 

 

There are many differences, as Rainbow said so eloquently. One of the key differences is that this is a theraputic treatment, where one nervous system is carefully and lovingly supporting another. Self cultivation such as tai chi, is one thing. But receiving the healing support of another nervous system allows for very deep levels of transformation and expansion that are not always accessible in a single cultivation practice. I have spent my life, since a teenager, studying this therapeutic relationship with self and others. Sometimes miracles really do occur, medically, this is the healing power of the body and what true support looks like. Very different chi, a deep state of relaxstion, as two nervous systems guide each other back to the heavenly way.

 

My background is craniosacral.

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Even though a Feldenkrais practitioner may not acknowledge nor know of what happens on the spiritual level, a regular Feldenkrais practice (or similar modality) can actually aid one's spiritual development.

 

I agree with the point being made by RV; the original model may not be spiritual but one can integrate it for spiritual development. 

 

 

There are many differences, as Rainbow said so eloquently. One of the key differences is that this is a theraputic treatment, where one nervous system is carefully and lovingly supporting another. Self cultivation such as tai chi, is one thing. But receiving the healing support of another nervous system allows for very deep levels of transformation and expansion that are not always accessible in a single cultivation practice. I have spent my life, since a teenager, studying this therapeutic relationship with self and others. Sometimes miracles really do occur, medically, this is the healing power of the body and what true support looks like. Very different chi, a deep state of relaxstion, as two nervous systems guide each other back to the heavenly way. My background is craniosacral.

 

While I did experience many years ago someting similar to what RV stated (integrating a non-spiritual model that did aid in spiritual development),  I would now say it is explained to our local minds as you say:  Different systems ultimately overflow and support each other for a single reason: they are not separate but will be till they completely integrate.  The central nervous system seems really hard to conceptualize as a practice, or to even suggest it as a practice.  Who really feels it?

 

But in the last few years, my central nervous system has been arising in communication and I've never seen a post here till now on it.   I will say, I have done several sessions with two developed craniosacral therapists who could read my energy flow and both said it was very unique (I assume relative to their patients).   I did not go to them so much to get their analysis but to get their connection experience.  They gave me an understanding on how to more deeply connect to it.   Since then, I have other methods to connect...

 

That may or may not be RV's point... but I think it is a good point. 

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Can't the same benefits along with effortless movement, increased sensory awareness and lightness of the body be achieved through activities such as tai chi, tao yin, aikido, karate & judo? 

 

I have had 10 Feldenkrais-sessions and they were a very unique experience. One thing that is unique to it is that it is very hard to put in words what exactly the benefit is, at least for beginners. The general consensus in my class was that it was it was great even though the people couldn't name why.

 

My 2 cents on it: Feldenkrais is very sublte and gentle. It allows you to experience your body in a new way, free of preformed conceptions or ideas, and to experience your blockades very gently. It reconnects you with your body on a very basic level, it's almost more like you give your body the opportunity to experience itself and the things it can and can't do. At least for beginners, the effects seem to be below the threshold of consciousness.

 

I'd say it differs  a lot from the above mentioned martial arts. I can well see it having spiritual benefits, but i would see it mainly as a great way of "resetting" the body, establishing a link with it, before starting more elaborate practices.

Edited by Ataraxia
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