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A short and sweet intro to the Feldenkrais Method

Mindfulness and Playfulness

What is a Feldenkrais ‘Awareness Through Movement’ lesson all about? For me it’s about finding the place where mindfulness and playfulness come together. Finding a state of calmness and attentiveness without excess seriousness, an inner place to explore, learn and revel in new sensations.

Its hard to explain what Feldenkrais is. Moshe Feldenkrais (the founder) said this-

“Well it is difficult to say in a few words…because it is unfamiliar, just like telling somebody what is the taste of a mango. Unless you eat it, you don’t know what the taste is. It doesn’t matter how clearly you described. Therefore this is a thing to experience….”

Feldenkrais teachers often describe classes in terms of their benefits- increased ease of movement, strength, flexibility, deeper breathing, etc, and for sure these are a powerful part of what the classes are about. I also love the description of lessons as ‘physical riddles to be decrypted’, we look to uncover new ways of coordinating ourselves, to move in new ways with increasingly high levels of skill. But the heart of what these classes are about, the pull that keeps people returning for years, is just as much about the mental and emotional state of well-being these classes guide us to.

The practice of Mindfulness has been around for centuries and popular interest in it has surged in recent years under the NHS endorsed understanding of its use in addressing mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. Wikipedia defines mindfulness as “the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one’s intentions on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment, which can be trained by meditational practices”. ‘Awareness Through Movement’ lessons are exactly what they are called, a means of becoming more aware of ourselves by primarily focusing on our movements. However, when I teach I sometimes notice an excess seriousness creeping into this. I believe the place where mindfulness and playfulness overlap is a beautiful state. Classes where we roll like babies or suddenly find ourselves coming from lying to sitting in a way we never knew was possible create spontaneous moments of delight for people.

One of the moments where I’m happiest to be doing this work is when I see adults reconnect with the sense that movement is fun. I’ve seen many a person well into their retirement suddenly smile or let out a gleeful laugh when they rediscover how to roll smoothly from lying on one of their sides over to the other.

So this is my aim for the new term ahead, to find this mindful, inner playground in myself and facilitate it as best I can in my students.

Read This

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/02/why-i-do-feldenkrais-instead-of-yoga/