Can Our Movement Make Our Wishes Come True?

Moshe Feldenkrais. Courtesy of the International Feldenkrais Federation.

Moshe Feldenkrais. Courtesy of the International Feldenkrais Federation.

by Janelle Keane Campoverde, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner

The magic of the Feldenkrais Method is that it isn’t magic at all. Yet when we leave after a class or private lesson, we find relief from our chronic neck pain; we walk in a way that feels good and no longer hurts; we are taller; our shoulders move freely again—like when we were children; we overcome personal restrictions. It’s surprising how quickly we learn in a Feldenkrais setting. As if our whole system is ready and waiting for this reintegration. (I mention these examples because I see them time and again with my students and, to tell you the truth, I’ve experienced them myself. We all have known some degree of pain and restriction, intimately). 

When a baby really wants to get that toy from across the room, working on strengthening her abs will be a futile exercise. The child discovers how to push her knees and feet on the floor, involving the spine, reaching with an arm, pushing with another, tracking with her eyes and ultimately articulating her hand to grab the delectable toy. These are just a few of the intricacies of the function of crawling. The magic tool used in the Feldenkrais Method is that we deal directly with improving human function. We influence the movements that are inherent in our human design, for instance, reaching, turning, and walking. These functional movements are not a matter of simply strengthening a body part, but improving the mechanics of all that is a part of the movement, including elements such as how the bones and muscles work together, perception, orientation, respiration, our personal history… we are very complicated beings. This work, for Feldenkrais practitioners, is a life-long project. The beauty is that it works. We observe, we clarify and integrate the roles of many parts of ourselves within the function; we enjoy our new or rekindled abilities. 

Our movement is magic. Look around. Can we embody it in a way that’s pleasing to us? That perpetuates vitality? That enriches our lives? With the help of the Feldenkrais Method, we may finally reach our version of the delectable toy across the room.