People often ask me what is the difference between Feldenkrais and chiropractic. Or even how is it different from yoga? In a nutshell, in the Feldenkrais Method, we are not trying to improve a function, i.e. sitting or reaching or looking up or bending forward. Rather we are interested in the process. How did you get to the function, to the final result, to the end point you are seeking? It is the elements in the process that constitute the function that is important. For instance, learning to sit in a dynamic way means that the ribs and chest are accessible. One initiates movement from the pelvis and hip and large muscles attached to the pelvis. There is a dynamic interplay between the parts of the Self that go into dynamic sitting. Such that the head is free to float, as one person commented upon standing up after we finished the sitting lesson.
By the way the head is not an appendage stuck onto the shoulders but is part of the spine. It sounds funny but to watch people move, it’s as if the head is separate and stuck on the shoulders as if by a finishing touch made by God. Another words when the spine and hip joints bend to one side, the head follows. It’s intimately connected to the rest of the spine. When you shift your weight from sit bone to sit bone, the force travels through the spine, through the rib cage, through the chest and shoulders and into the head. The body is an interconnected whole, that moves dynamically as one unit when you move or sit or stand or walk or reach for something. When you bend down to look at something or look up, the whole spine bends, which includes the bending of the hip joints and lumbosacral spine (the lower back), the middle of your back, the breastbone or sternum, and the head and neck. Another words the whole body is moving together-doing one thing in a unified way that makes for efficient, easy to do, pleasurable movement.
Getting back to the question how is the feldenkrais method different from yoga or practically anything else? We purposely make it easy for the Nervous System to make connections. Your Nervous System connects the external environment to the Internal environment. You can’t move without sensing, feeling, and thinking (perceiving). What are the conditions necessary to create learning with the environment?
How do you create the optimal conditions for learning?
By paying attention, moving slowly, pausing between movements in order for the nervous system to refresh, making small movements, reducing your effort. All of the above quiets the nervous system and makes it easy for your brain to pay attention and so bring about change. This allows for new possibilities of movement to emerge. As if by a discovery process and you are the scientist, observing your own body. This is what makes the Feldenkrais Method distinct and improves your ability to do whatever you choose to do.