I'm evangelistic, if that's the right word, about The Feldenkrais Method®. It is a gentle, powerful way of self- and other-discovery -- so gentle you can't believe how powerful it is -- that uses movement to awaken more of the dormant potential of the brain and to heighten awareness, grace, all-around competence, sensitivity, and pleasure. Many dancers, actors (Rene Russo,) athletes, and musicians (Yo-Yo Ma) rely on it for performance enhancement. Physical therapists use it to teach patients new possibilities for easy, integrated movement that often dissolve chronic pain.
The idea is that "movement is the first language of the brain," the primary way we explore the world and discover/develop ourselves from the very beginning. Because our most powerful period of learning and discovery is also our period of greatest dependency and vulnerability, our most fundamental emotions and self-image are woven into our individual movement patterns. If our movement is restricted, inefficient, fear- and habit-bound, or reckless and self-hurting, so are we. When our movement is released, and our awareness of movement refined, so are we. Because our muscular habit patterns are actually held in the brain, which retains astonishing plasticity throughout life and knows a good thing when it sees it, learning and change can happen very fast if you know how to "speak" directly to the brain in its native, wordless language. That's what a cantankerous genius named Moshé Feldenkrais figured out. He was a brain whisperer.
I made it through two and a half years of a three-and-a-half-year, weekend-format Feldenkrais practitioner training before I had to drop out (temporarily, for sure) because my neurologically ill husband could no longer be left alone. But I think if I hadn't studied this method, he wouldn't be walking at all now, and I would have long since hurt myself trying to help him. More, it's given us a way to keep his ailing brain engaged and interested, and a way to enter into a calm harmony with each other when we've been climbing the walls with stress and cabin fever. I have lost low-grade chronic pain, re-found sensuality, sharpened my karate practice, and have been heard to exclaim along the way, "This is like scuba-diving in yourself!" "This is like being reincarnated without having to die first!"
I'm writing this because a new training program, like the one I've been in, with the same trainer, begins this August in New York City, and . . . I can't do it any more, but maybe there's somebody out there who will love it as much as I do, who can.
My trainer, David Zemach-Bersin, studied intensively with Feldenkrais (a Russian-born Israeli physicist and engineer and the first Western judo master), and is one of the most loving protectors and transmitters of his legacy. If you're looking for a new profession, or if you already work with people and want to bring another dimension to your work, you can use this training to become a guild-certified teacher and practitioner of the method. Or, you can take the training just for yourself. Of course, you can also just take Awareness Through Movement® classes, and have one-on-one Functional Integration® sessions, almost anywhere in the country -- there's a directory here. But the training, which meets one weekend most months and one week each in April and August, offers much more total immersion and transformation (in a format that accomodates your ongoing life). In my biased opinion, it costs less and does more than most psychotherapy, because it goes so much deeper than words.
Here's the link. You can request a prospectus or print out an application right there. Pass it on if you know someone this is made for. E-mail me if I can tell you any more about it. I gotta pass it on.