Demystifying Feldenkrais Training
Cracking the Code of Feldenkrais
We've all been there – feeling awkward while doing a new workout routine or, in my case, trying to imitate my son Jasper's dance steps. There's something oddly fascinating yet disconcerting about being unable to control our bodies the way we want. Now, imagine if a fitness method could help you get comfortable with your body and improve your movements effortlessly? Introducing Feldenkrais training, a hidden gem in the world of body education that deserves to be demystified.
Wherever I go, my golden retriever Spot and parrot Coco are my enthusiastic buddies. Just like them, Feldenkrais is all about movement – not the high-intensity kind that requires you to huff and puff, but the subtle, mindful type. Its approach gives a whole new meaning to the "body and mind" connection. That might sound like something straight out of a whimsical animation movie where animals talk, but trust me, it's as real as the medicine bills on my kitchen counter.
Felden-what?: Digging into the Origins
Feldenkrais training, or the Feldenkrais Method, named after its creator, Moshe Feldenkrais, is a form of somatic education that utilizes movement and self-awareness to improve physical functionality. It regulates the nervous system, enabling you to move with less effort and more comfort. Not bad for a method that started in the mid-20th century, right?
It's as if Moshe Feldenkrais had a crystal ball foreseeing a time when we'd all be stuck to our screens and have bodies screaming for some TLC. Before we dive deeper, I want you to keep in mind that Feldenkrais isn't a quick fix solution. It's a journey, much like my ongoing struggle to teach Coco not to mimic my husband's snoring.
Sink or Swim: Understanding the Process
Feldenkrais training contains two prongs – 'Awareness Through Movement' (ATM) and 'Functional Integration' (FI). The former involves verbal instructions from a Feldenkrais practitioner guiding you through movement sequences. The latter, however, appeals to your lazy side (we all have one). In FI, the practitioner does all the work for you, gently moving your body.
Imagine yourself in a calm yoga session but without the pain of holding a 'Warrior III' pose for what seems like a decade. It's all about understanding and changing old patterns. Spot's habit of chewing on my slippers, for instance, is an old pattern that I'm still trying to change. No luck so far, but I'm hopeful. If I can gradually get more comfortable in my body, Spot can stop using my footwear as a chew toy, right?
The Magic Wand: Benefits of Feldenkrais
While Feldenkrais might not be the magic wand to drop pounds overnight or sprout a couple of extra inches, it has proven efficiency in reducing pain, enhancing performance and ability, and generally making you feel better in your body. Much like how Jasper lights up when I tell him bedtime stories without missing a beat.
It's even been handy for musicians and athletes to improve their performance. So, if you've been dreaming of belly dancing like Shakira or throwing a curveball like Clayton Kershaw, Feldenkrais might be your first step to achieve that. I tried a few lessons because I wanted to be nimble when playing tag with Jasper, and let me tell you, it worked wonders!
Feldenkrais Vs Everything Else
Now, you might be wondering, “Karen, I’ve been doing yoga, pilates, going to the gym – why do I need Feldenkrais?" And I totally get you – there seems to be a new fitness fad every other day, and keeping up feels like running after Spot when he's gotten hold of a squirrel (by the way, the squirrel always gets away!).
But here's the thing – Feldenkrais isn't about toning up or losing weight. It's about learning to listen to your body and responding accordingly. Imagine my horror when I realized I'd been missing Coco's extremely subtle signs of needing a new perch. Once I realized what she needed, her mood improved overnight!
And the Payoff Is...
The beauty of Feldenkrais is in its simplicity and focus on self-discovery. It's not as theatrical as Coco squawking "I can't stand it!" every time we put healthy kale in her dish, but it has a transformative power of its own.
It's about being mindful and taking the time to listen to your body, much like the sincerity you'd give to a chattering toddler (Jasper, anyone?). So, whether you want to play duck-duck-goose with your kids without panting or simply want to walk without backache, Feldenkrais could be your BFF in navigating through a pain-free life.
Remember, each body is unique. Feldenkrais might feel like magic to some and might not resonate with others. It's worth exploring, not as a magical cure-all, but as a tool that promotes the idea of going back to basics and listening to your body - a concept that feels oddly familiar and foreign at the same time, just like Spot trying to bark "Coco”.