What is Feldenkrais and how can it help your posture

by Sylvia

What is Feldenkrais and how can it help with your posture
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I had promised you before that I would keep you up to date on my journey to better posture and tell you a bit more about the Feldenkrais method, a movement training that I was introduced to on my recent detox retreat. I had hoped that I would find some experienced practitioners here in Singapore but unfortunately, have not yet succeeded, which is why this update is so much delayed. What I can share with you is some of the practical things I learned in Phuket and how they have helped me.

What is Feldenkrais

Here is the description of Feldenkrais in wikipedia: The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic educational system designed by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904–1984). The Feldenkrais method aims to improve movement repertoire, aiming to expand and refine the use of the self through awareness, in order to reduce pain or limitations in movement, and promote general well-being.

In essence the practise aims to teach you how to move in the most effective way. Classes can be taken as one on one sessions and group sessions. In these Awareness Through Movement classes, people engage in precisely structured movement explorations that involve thinking, sensing, moving, and imagining. Each lesson consists of comfortable, easy movements that gradually evolve into movements of greater range and complexity.

Things I learned from my first 3 sessions

Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to find good classes here in Singapore but here is what I learned in Phuket and what I still try to practise every day.

  • It’s important to not just throw your shoulders back as that will just increase the tension in your shoulder muscles. Instead put your chest forward. Imagine there are 2 eyes at the top of your chest and let them see the world!
  • When doing something always try to use the gravity of a solid surface to help you with the movement. For example you can use the ground or the desk on many occasions to move you forward.
  • Experiment with different ways of moving. For example if you can want to pull someone towards you, you can just use your arms. However, you will be much stronger if you also use the ground (push), turn your body and use as many strong parts of your body to help you.
  • Relax tummy and upper chest in many occasions. They do not always need to be contracted. Most of your body has much more (easier) movement when the muscles are relaxed.
  • Make sure that your head stays in neutral position most of the time. I was shown how I tend to lift my head up when lifting things or standing up. I also tend to move my head too far backwards (creating a long neck) in my upright straight standing position. I’m now trying to be constantly aware of the position of my head and correct it whenever needed.

My journey towards better posture is far from over and I’m still trying to be stronger and practise all of the above. I feel that my progress could be better and I’m still not putting in as much effort as I could do. I should definitely increase both my yoga and pilates for example. Let’s just say it’s work in progress…

Do some of you already have experience with Feldenkrais and if you do how has it helped you?

Image Copyright 2005, Rosalie O’Connor

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Greetje Kamminga

I have no experience with Feldenkrais, only with Mensendieck. In itself it was a great course, but I need help in reminding me every minute.
I have the muscle power now and I know how to stand and sit (thanks for the tip of the two eyes at the front). But I need a little electric shock every time I move away from the perfect position and start slouching again.
After your first article on this subject I was doing so well for 3 whole weeks. And after that forgot all about it. Just started again today, so thank you for your article. It is again, a good reminder.

Sylvia

Happy to have reminded you. I’m sure there will be more in the future as I need a lot of reminders myself!

Heather Fonseca

I’ve never heard of this, which is strange because I live in exercise Mecca. It sounds really helpful though, kind of like taichi. (sp?)
I used to do a lot of yoga but stopped a couple years ago due to time constraints. I’d like to start again though.

Sylvia

Yoga is very good. It has really helped to open up my body. I too constantly have to find the time for it, but I think it’s worth it!

Rachel

So delighted that you discovered the Feldenkrais®Method. It is one of the best kept secrets but needs to be revealed so it can help people to learn how to move and feel in the most optimal ways.

I believe there is a practitioner in Singapore named Renate Prandl at Body & Brain.
You can look her up on Linked In or under the Feldenkrais Guild website at Feldenkrais.com which shows you practitioners in the U.S. and internationally.

Best wishes on finding a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Class near you!

Rachel Potasznik, GCFP, CYT,
NYC

Sylvia

Thanks for the info Rachel. I will check it out.

Angela Alston

So glad you’re curious about Feldenkrais!

We practitioners tend to think of good posture less as a fixed position and more as a dynamic quality.

So good posture becomes: am I comfortable in my physical self? Can I do whatever I want with ease, efficiency, and grace? If yes, that’s good posture!

For lots more info about The Feldenkrais Method, you can visit our official website: http://www.feldenkrais.com.

Sylvia

Interesting Angela. Thanks for the feedback!

Joanie

I need to work on posture, too. That has been coming into my awareness a lot lately. That stooped shoulder look is only cute on 6′ tall models. Not 50 year old full figured women. ha ha. I found your blog at the 40+ Blogroll btw. Take care.

joanie
making50fabulous.blogspot.com

Sylvia

Good luck with your journey towards better posture Joanie and thanks for visiting 40+Style. By the way I have my own 40+ blog roll as well, if you like to be added: http://40plusstyle.com/women-over-40-blogger-community/

Gordon

Hi Sylvia,

Great to know that you’ve discovered the method. I’ve just started a Feldenkrais Method practice in Singapore called “The Mindful Body”. Please go to http://www.singaporefeldekrais.com for more information. Thanks a lot!

gordon

Sylvia

Excellent Gordon. I may come and check it out!

Gordon

Hi Sylvia,

There will be a 3 hour public workshop “Embodying a Sense of Well-Being” on Sat Oct 27th. Please email me at gordon@singaporefeldenkrais if you’d like to participate.
Thanks and have a nice weekend.

Best,
gordon

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