“The problem is that much of what we have learned is harmful to our system because it was learned in childhood, when immediate dependence on others distorted our real needs. Long-standing habitual action feels right. Training a body to be perfect in all the possible forms and configurations of its members changes not only the strength and flexibility of the skeleton and muscles, but makes a profound and beneficial change in the self-image and quality of the direction of the self.”
― Moshé Feldenkrais

Awareness Through Movement® & Functional Integration®

Awareness Through Movement®

Awareness Through Movement® consists of verbally directed movement sequences presented and adapted primarily for groups. There are several hundred hours of Awareness Through Movement lessons. A lesson generally lasts from thirty to sixty minutes. Each lesson is usually organized around a particular physical function and often includes environmental elements for application to daily living. .

In Awareness Through Movement lessons, people engage in precisely structured movement explorations that involve thinking, sensing, moving, and imagining. Many are based on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities. Some are based on more abstract explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships. The lessons consist of comfortable, easy movements that gradually evolve into movements of greater range and complexity. There are hundreds of Awareness Through Movement lessons contained in the Feldenkrais® Method that vary, for all levels of movement ability, from simple in structure and physical demand to more difficult lessons.

Awareness Through Movement lessons attempt to make one aware of his/her habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities and to expand options for new ways of moving while increasing sensitivity and improving efficiency.

A major goal of Awareness Through Movement is to learn how one’s most basic functions are organized. By experiencing the details of how one performs any action, the student has the opportunity to learn how to:

  • attend to his/her whole self
  • eliminate unnecessary energy expenditure
  • mobilize his/her intentions into actions
  • learn and improve

Functional Integration®

Functional Integration®  is a hands-on form of tactile, kinaesthetic communication. The Feldenkrais practitioner communicates to the student how he/she organizes his/her body and hints, through gentle touching and movement, how to move in more expanded functional motor patterns. Functional Integration is usually performed with the student lying on a table designed specifically for the work. It can also be done with the student in sitting or standing positions. At times, various props are used in an effort to support the person’s body configuration or to facilitate certain movements.

Feldenkrais® practitioners guide people through movement sequences verbally in Awareness Through Movement® group classes. We also guide people through movement with gentle, respectful touching in Functional Integration® individual lessons.  With both Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration, the practitioner/teacher’s intention is instructive and communicative.

Each Functional Integration lesson relates to a desire, intention, or need of the student. The learning process is carried out through rapport and respect for the student’s abilities, qualities, and integrity, the practitioner/teacher creates an environment in which the student can learn comfortably.

In Functional Integration, the practitioner/teacher develops a lesson for the student, custom-tailored to the unique configuration of that particular person, at that particular moment. The practitioner conveys the experience of comfort, pleasure, and ease of movement while the student learns how to reorganize his/her body and behaviour in new and more effective manners.

Registration for ATM classes & FI lessons

Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement classes
5:15 – 6pm daily
8:15 – 9pm daily
Vancouver BC, Canada and online

For Individual Functional Integration® Lessons:
please discuss with Katarina (email or telephone 1-604-263-9123)

Fees & Contributions to the Studio

Contribution to the Studio:
Please consider supporting our studio with a contribution
Contributions may be sent by Pay Pal to studio@thinkinginmovement.ca
or ask us (email) for mailing address. 

* Several of us contribute quarterly Jan-Mar, Apr-June, July-Sept, Oct-Dec..
* Others prefer to contribute for a series of classes or study groups

Appreciating your Contributions in the amount that is comfortable for you.

If you wish to use Pay Pal choose from the links below:
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$500 contribution to the studio

If you prefer to use Cash or Cheque or e-transfer
please contact:studio@thinkingmovement.ca  

Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?

Moshe Pinhas Feldenkrais was born on May 6, 1904, in Slavuta, in the present-day Ukrainian Republic. When he was a small boy his family moved to the nearby town of Korets. By 1912 his family moved to Baranovich, in what is today, Belarus. While Baranovich endured many World War I battles, Feldenkrais received his Bar Mitzvah, completed two years of high school, and received an education in the Hebrew language and Zionist philosophy. In 1918 Feldenkrais left by himself on a six-month journey to Palestine.

After arriving in 1919, Feldenkrais worked as a laborer until 1923 when he returned to high school to earn a diploma. While attending school he made a living by tutoring. After graduating in 1925, he worked for the British survey office as a cartographer. Feldenkrais was involved in Jewish self-defense groups, and after learning Jujitsu he devised his own self-defense techniques. He hurt his left knee in a soccer match in 1929. While convalescing he wrote Autosuggestion (1930), a translation from English to Hebrew of Charles Brooks’ work on Coué‘s system of autosuggestion, together with two chapters that he wrote himself. He next published Jujitsu (1931), a book on self-defense.

In 1930 Feldenkrais went to Paris and enrolled in an engineering college, the Ecole des Travaux Publics des Paris. He graduated in 1933 with specialties in mechanical and electrical engineering. In 1933 after meeting Jigaro Kano, Judo’s founder, Feldenkrais began teaching Jujitsu again, and started his training in Judo. In 1933 he began working as a research assistant under Frederic Joliot-Curie at the Radium Institute, while studying for his Ingeniur-Docteur degree at the Sorbonne. From 1935-1937 he worked at the Arcueil-Cachan laboratories building a Van de Graaf generator, which was used for atomic fission experiments. In 1935 he published a revised, French edition of his Hebrew jujitsu book called, La Défense du Faible Contre L’Agresseur, and in 1938 published ABC du Judo. He received his Judo black belt in 1936, and 2nd degree rank in 1938. Feldenkrais married Yona Rubenstein in 1938. From 1939-1940 he worked under Paul Langevin doing research on magnetics and ultra-sound.
Feldenkrais escaped to England in 1940, just as the Germans arrived in Paris. As a scientific officer in the British Admiralty, he conducted anti-submarine research in Scotland from 1940-1945. While there he taught Judo and self-defense classes. In 1942 he published a self-defense manual, Practical Unarmed Combat, and Judo. Feldenkrais began working with himself to deal with knee troubles that had recurred during his escape from France, and while walking on submarine decks. Feldenkrais gave a series of lectures about his new ideas, began to teach experimental classes, and work privately with some colleagues.

In 1946 Feldenkrais left the Admiralty, moved to London, and worked as an inventor and consultant in private industry. He took Judo classes at the London Budokwai, sat on the international Judo committee, and scientifically analyzed Judo principles. He published his first book on his method, Body and Mature Behavior, in 1949, and his last book on Judo, Higher Judo, in 1952. During his London period he studied the work of George Gurdjieff, F. M. Alexander, and William Bates, and went to Switzerland to study with Heinrich Jacoby.
Feldenkrais returned to Israel to direct the Israeli Army Department of Electronics, 1951-1953. Around 1954 he moved permanently to Tel Aviv and, for the first time, made his living solely by teaching his method. He worked sporadically on the manuscript of The Potent Self, which he had begun in London. Around 1955 he permanently located his Awareness through Movement® classes to a studio on Alexander Yanai Street. He gave Functional Integration lessons in the apartment where his mother and brother lived. In early 1957 Feldenkrais began giving lessons to Israeli Prime Minister, David ben Gurion.

In the late 1950’s Feldenkrais presented his work in Europe and the United States. In the mid 1960s he published Mind and Body and Bodily Expression. In 1967, he published Improving the Ability to Perform (titled Awareness Through Movement in its 1972 English language edition). In 1968, near his family’s apartment, he made a studio at 49 Nachmani Street as the permanent site for his Functional Integration practice, and location for his first teacher-training program, 1969-1971, given to 12 students.

After giving month-long courses internationally, he taught a 65-student, teacher-training program in San Francisco over four summers, 1975-1978. He published The Case of Nora in 1977, and The Elusive Obvious in 1981. He began the 235-student Amherst training in 1980, but was only able to teach the first two summers of the four-year program. After becoming ill in the fall 1981, he stopped teaching publicly. He died on July 1, 1984.
*I have done my best to verify dates, names, and places, though I cannot guarantee their accuracy, due to limitations of information available and discrepancies between sources.

By Mark Reese

Feldenkrais Moments - Video

Notes from Katarina Halm

Katarina Halm – Feldenkrais®,Movement Intelligence,Focusing

With the year 2016 I celebrated ten years teaching as a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais® Method of Somatic Education. It is an honour to continue learning and teaching as Feldenkrais® develops worldwide with applications in many walks of life. .

Feldenkrais® Week in May of each year!

Feldenkrais® Week 2017

Saturday May 13 at 11:00am we enjoyed Moshe Feldenkrais’s Lesson 5 from the Awareness Through Movement® Book, Coordination of the Flexor Muscles and of the Extensors  Each year those at Thinking in Movement Studio revisit this timely lesson. This year Katarina included a study from  J.C. Hannon: “The ischial rock – an exploration of ease, unstable equilibrium and skeletal poise“,  J.C. Hannon, page 11, The Physics of Feldenkrais, Part 5, Unstable equilibrium and its application to movement therapy, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, July 2001.  Our study was enhanced by elements from Jeff Haller’s Advanced Training- Perspectives on Walking (Perspectives on Walking (DVD VERSION))

 Continuing to celebrate Feldenkrais® Week during the month of May Katarina offered weekly evening and morning classes in Memorial Park, Vancouver and weekly online classes with the theme: Move, Focus, Prepare!
* Weaving together steps for preparedness, we cultivate the comfort of being prepared for a likely earthquake on the Cascadia Pacific coast of North America and Canada

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The terms Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement, and Functional Integration are registered service marks in Canada of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America (FGNA)
Movement Intelligence Programs are the intellectual property of Ruthy Alon, Ph.D. Process Descriptions written by Anna Haltrecht © 2017 

Franz Wurm Lecture on the Feldenkrais® Method (1970s).

From Franz Wurm’s notes for a lecture on the Feldenkrais® Method, given in the 1970s (http://www.feldenkraisguild.com/2016-journal)

Below are annotated excerpts with additional spacing from Katarina Halm:

An act can be reflective, unconscious, automatic, conscious, or awared.

Unconditioned reflexes are innate and characteristic of a whole class of animals; they are transmitted by heredity and are independent of the experience of the individual animal.

The conditioned reflexes are not inherited and depend on the surrounding conditions of each individual. They are essentially temporary. A child is gradually taught, through personal contact with the adult (or with society in general) a series of responses which will in time become more or less automatic.

The difference between habits and reflective behaviour is that habits only tend to repeat themselves whereas reflexes do so by definition.

Individually acquired action, i.e., ontogenetic action, pertains to the senses. Such action can be altered as one can become aware of qualifications which are of the realm of reality, such as the extent of the effort, its co-ordination in time, the body sensation, the spatial configuration of the body segments, the standing, the breathing, the wording etc.

When considering living beings, we usually distinguish two states: that of waking and that of sleep. An animal, when it is awake, will move in this direction or that—and so do we. And we may, like an animal, go in this direction or that without necessarily realizing that we are doing so: that we are turning left or right, or how we are moving, and so on.

We may be thinking of something quite different, of something we had seen, or of what we’ll do tonight. We are in the waking state, and we are conscious, we would stop at a red light or recognize a friend we should chance to meet. What I want to say is that “consciousness” often simply means being awake. We are conscious when we are neither asleep nor dead when we haven’t fainted and when we aren’t dreaming.

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let us have a look at the central nervous system (CNS). In accordance with our behaviour, we can take the brain to consist of three parts: the rhinic, the limbic, and the supralimbic systems.

The rhinic system matures in the embryo or foetus after only a few weeks. It regulates and controls the functions of the inner organs, and most of the smooth muscles, such as the iris and the sphincters. It also regulates the chemical processes and temperature of the body and thereby the living conditions for the whole nervous system. Its structures are symmetrical and their configurations and ways of functioning are wholly inherited.

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The second group of structures, the limbic system, is concerned with expressing towards the outside world all vital inner urges such as hunger, thirst, and the elimination of their waste products: with the expression, then, of those inner needs which go on increasing until they are satisfied, after which they decrease or abate, until with time the need begins to grow again and the periodic cycle starts afresh.

The limbic system thus expresses the needs of the rhinic system. It is also concerned with everything pertaining to movement in the field of gravity. It controls the symmetrical organs and limbs and the striated muscles. Most of what is generally called, or regarded as, instinct has its origins in this system. The greater part of its structure, organization, and activities is inherited, but only the greater part: one tends to assume that instincts are fixed more definitively than is really the case. There are individual differences, or at least variations in degree, and there is some adaptability. Some, but not all birds can get used to building their nest from other materials than the ones they are accustomed to; but they find dificulty in adapting themselves, and some will fail altogether.

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Instincts seem flexible or adaptable in a way which points towards what we usually call understanding and learning.

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The third group of structures in the brain is concerned with the specifically human activities. This part, the supra-limbic system, has developed much further in man than in any other living being. It grows on the other two systems and is closely connected with them

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Its structures and tissues are inherited, but their functioning largely depends on individual experience. It is this system which is concerned with manipulation, orientation,
and speech, and especially with conscious learning. It is thanks to the supralimbic system that we not only say and do, but we know what we say and do, and that we are saying and doing it, how we are saying and doing it.

This third part of the CNS has some distinctive peculiarities. For one thing, it is never completely coated with a kind of insulating substance called myelin. This means that it is never completely xed, but remains capable of development at any time, i.e. that its activities can at any time and age be changed, widened, increased, improved. As opposed
to that in the other two systems, the activity in the supra-limbic system
is asymmetrical, and this asymmetry is at the bottom of our ability to distinguish between left and right. This polarization is heightened by the opposition of the thumb to the other ngers, and by the incongruence of our two hands. Primitive thought will be inclined to oppose contrasting terms in pairs, to think in terms of dichotomies, such as good and bad, good and evil, rich and poor, high and low, heaven and hell, right and wrong, black and white, day and night, big and small, warm and cold, and so on, although clear semantic thinking will recognize them not as opposites, but as anatomically determined pairs, and although they do not tally with reality: darkness is not the opposite of light, but the absence of it; and the relationship between hot and cold is more complex still. Anyone using such contrasts, is not appealing to our reason, but trying to trigger off latent atavisms in our thought. And much of our thinking is distorted, many of our actions falsified by our thinking and feeling in terms of opposites, instead of differences in degree.

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