The Mind-Body Connection and the Feldenkrais Method: How Exercise Can Improve Your Wellbeing
We’ve all been there at some point or another; one day we try to get up from the bed and it’s system shutdown.
A neck strain, or a back pain , or a nerve tugging in all the wrong places, or a stiffness in the joints and muscles can start one day and go on forever, bringing down your mood and general health. Not to mention all the money going to examinations.
But what if there was another way to listen to your body and understand what is wrong?
What if the key is in how you move?
This is what Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) had in mind when he began developing the Feldenkrais somatic exercise method as a way to counter movement limitation, chronic pain, and generally non beneficial ways of standing and moving.
Drawing influences from judo and other types of exercise, the method aims to help the person using it understand their body’s limitations and troubled zones, by examining movement patterns. Slowly and gently, you go on a self-exploration journey; you find out what ticks, what sticks and creaks, and what needs to be put back in order, or to be treated more gently.
Repetitive movements is the key to the Feldenkrais method. If we assume correctly that our bodies move in a certain way because we have conditioned ourselves to do so, then a repetition of new, more effective movements would be needed in order for our body to learn how to move better.
It is more than an exercise method; Feldenkrais is a mode of improving your general wellbeing, of listening to your body, and treating it with the utmost care. It is not a medical method, nor should it be considered a treatment or a cure. It is simply a way of life, given how the new movements acquired through Feldenkrais will accompany you for the rest of your life. You are essentially learning to move again.
The Feldenkrais method can be most beneficial to people suffering from chronic pain or the elderly, but almost everyone else can reap its benefits, too. Imagine a person with arthritis; the method would help them move and use their joints in a way that would minimize the pain. Or a pregnant woman suffering from back pains. Or a runner with knee troubles.
Even professionals such as gymnasts, singers and actors can find merit in the method. It helps with posture and body language, and finally, it gives their performance maximum quality and efficiency. As for anyone not experiencing trouble, the method can be an excellent way of preventing possible injuries and generally promoting their fitness and wellbeing.
Feldenkrais practice can be done either in one-on-one sessions, between the practitioner and the client, or in group sessions. At first, you move around slowly and gently, over and over, until you have identified troubling spots and movement limitations. And then you start to build a new way of moving; a new perspective on how you carry yourself in everyday situations.
The mind and body connection is of the greatest importance as the key to a happier life, and being aware of your body, and communicating with its needs, is what the Feldenkrais method aims to achieve. Perhaps in the new movement, we will all find not only a cool way to exercise, but also a gateway to our body’s inner workings.
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