The Feldenkrais Method is named after its creator: Moshe Feldenkrais
Feldenkrais was born in what is the Ukraine today and spent a part of his childhood in Belarus. At the age of 14 he went on a six-month journey alone to Palestine. He worked in the labor industry, went to school, learned judo as a form of self-defense.
It was after a serious knee injury while playing sports that he became his own subject of study. Thanks to his research and observations, he was able to walk again and his “method” was born.
He drew from his scientific knowledge as an engineer and doctor of physics as well as his high-level martial arts practice (Judo). But also, he was very interested in the development of the child and the way that the human being learns “naturally”, through play and pleasure.
Beginning with the principle that we function according to the image we have of ourselves… in other words: the image of a movement exists already in the brain before we even begin the gesture… he chose movement as his means for learning and for self awareness.
His group lessons (called ATM – Awareness Through Movement) consist of movements which are verbally guided by the teacher. There is no “model” to follow, nor a “right” posture to be attained. Students learn from themselves how to find the most efficient way to move with the greatest ease. The lessons are designed and constructed in such a way so that often the student finds a more efficient way of moving in spite of him/herself (through sensation and awareness rather than through mental willing). As the student finds new ways of moving and of overcoming difficulties, the possibilities grow allowing one to be more adaptable so that our intentions and our actions become one.
Lessons often build on the idea of exploring the detail of a movement in order to put it in relationship with the bigger picture. Or the opposite, breaking down the global movement in order to understand its parts. This corresponds remarkably to the work of a musician, both technically and musically. Feldenkrais himself worked with artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Narciso Yepes, and the theatre director Peter Brook during his lifetime and the Feldenkrais Method® is currently practiced in many music schools and by musicians around the world.
For a concise biography of Moshe Feldenkrais: