Feldenkrais explained on ABC Radio National

Image: The Feldenkrais approach encourages people to focus on the quality of their movement and their movement habits (Louise Whelan)

Image: The Feldenkrais approach encourages people to focus on the quality of their movement (Louise Whelan)

I was excited to hear
ABC Radio National run a program about the Feldenkrais Method on their show the Body Sphere:

“Feldenkrais for dummies”.

Amanda Smith, the presenter, pulled together a really interesting panel.
They talked about the diverse applications of Feldenkrais, including improving singing performance and enhancing neurological rehabilitation.

If you know what you’re doing,

you can do what you want”

Moshe Feldenkrais

Stephen Grant, Head of Voice, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, singer and singing teacher and Feldenkrais Practitioner, talked about how Feldenkrais underlies his teaching and his own ability to perform.

As a teacher, Stephen aims to create an environment where students can trust and understand their own experience. This allows them to find their own voices consistently, rather than focussing on a particular result, without understanding how to get there. When performing, our whole self needs to be performing, acting as one thing, not thinking about the many parts – posture, emotional tone, words and all of the other different aspects of creating sound.

Through Feldenkrais Stephen had a “natural blossoming as a more extraverted performer who can find a greater range of emotion on stage.” (From Freer performance and less casualties, Feldworks)

The aim [of Feldenkrais] 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

Movement is part of everything we do, and Feldenkrais offers a process through which we can learn how to move with less effort and in harmony with ourselves. After an individual or group lesson, participants often describe feeling deeply relaxed or really well. This experience is actually the evening-out of muscule tone and the spreading of attention throughout ourselves.

This experience was reflected in comments in the interview by Amy Tingay, a Feldenkrais Method client living with cerebral palsy, who described being able to move more easily and comfortably after her lessons.

Amy also made some insightful observations about how she thought about pain. She said, “when you’ve grown up with a disability in that kind of medical model, it is sort of drummed into you that if it doesn’t hurt it’s not helping you.” The Feldenkrais approach is opposite to this: no pain, more gain.

There is solid evidence that people with ongoing pain need to learn how to move, think and act in ways that foster ease, comfort and a calmer nervous system. Paying attention to how we move and think allows us to choose ways that serves us best. Feldenkrais helps people gain this awareness and habituate it so that it becomes a natural part of their daily lives.

Amanda Smith’s other interesting guests were:

Frank Wildman
Educational director of my Training program & worked directly with Moshe Feldenkrais
Founder of the Feldenkrais Movement Institute, Berkeley, California

Susan Hillier
Feldenkrais trainer
Associate professor, School of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide

Louise Rothols
Feldenkrais practitioner who works with children

You can read the full transcript of the program here at Feldenkrais for Dummies.

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