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Moshe Feldenkrais.

“The aim of the Feldenkrais Method is a person that is organized to move with minimum effort and maximum efficiency, not through muscular strength, but through increased consciousness of how movement works.”
-Moshe Feldenkrais, PhD

  Moshe Feldenkrais was born in 1904. At the outset of the Second World War, he was working with Nobel Prize-winner Frederic Joliot-Curie. He was also a keen athlete, and while in Paris became intensely involved in Judo; he was one of the founders of the Judo Club of France. The most basic element in the Feldenkrais Method is faith — faith in our human ability to learn, and to improve our situation through learning. We use movement as the medium for learning, and the benefits of Feldenkrais include improvement of our comfort and skill in movement, but they also extend into areas of our emotional and psychological life.

Built for learning.

Whatever else we are, as human beings we are built for learning. We learn (usually) to look where we want, to reach for what we want, to crawl, sit, stand and then to walk and run. We learn this without being told how, without the pressure of schools and exams, but in response to our own innate curiosity and pleasure in accomplishment. We learn well enough to satisfy our need at the time. Afterward, things may change: what we want may change, or the accidents of life may have altered our selves or our environment. How can we learn to cope with the new situation? As adults, we are usually very far from our original childlike pleasure in movement and learning. The Feldenkrais Method is a way of re-awakening that original pleasure, then bringing it to bear on our present needs and desires.

This kind of learning has a special quality. When we first learn some new skill, its freshness means that it isn't automatic. It won't be our first, instinctive action; our memory will need to be jogged in order to choose it. We may also have to think about each separate step as we do it, and that thinking will slow us down. But when we have truly learned a skill, it no longer consists of different steps; it fits together as a whole. It will even happen automatically, like reading: can you look at printed text without automatically knowing what it says? All the things that we truly know, we know in this immediate and complete way. inner sensation, pleasure, judgment

That's how we know to walk and reach and talk and do all the things that we learned in the first years of our lives. When we want to walk, we don't think about how to do it, we don't separate it into smaller parts, we simply do it and do the whole thing — or else it doesn't work. And this is the crunch of the matter: what can we do when things don't work as we want them to? What we tend to do is, at worst, a completely different kind of learning than the childhood way, a kind of learning that is guided by ideas of right and wrong, judged by an external 'expert' to whom we surrender our inner source of adequacy and autonomy. It can be very like our worst experiences of school.

Feldenkrais believed that movement learned in such a way was always tainted by the muscular tensions that attend shame, anxiety and inadequacy. So he looked for a way that our learning could be directed first and foremost by our inner sensation, and by our own pleasure and judgment. For him, this was the most important step toward becoming a truly capable and free human being.