Are you “Doing” or “Using” the Feldenkrais Method? (re-post)

by / Thursday, 28 January 2016 / Published in Feldenkrais Practitioners, Movement Health, Somatic Futures

I have shortened and reposted this blog post because the original wasn’t showing up properly. It’s related to the previous post, “Are you a Floor-Fish?


Are you “Doing” or “Using” the Feldenkrais Method?

At some point, I realised that there’s difference between “doing” and “using” the FM. It was suddenly clear that in order to further the FM, we need to “use it” and “not do” it. At fist glance, this may seem like a trivial difference but read on and I shall explain.

In “doing” the FM, it is done for its own sake. Of course of many of us who study and go deeper into the FM, “doing” may be what we want. However, “doing” the FM may not be what your students and clients want and need. As practitioners, we need to study the lessons and the thinking behind them in order to become more skilled, but we may lose sight of why we’re studying the FM. Most likely, our students/clients come to us because they want to change or improve something in their lives.

“Using” the FM means utilising the unique, powerful and vast teachings developed by Dr. Feldenkrais in order to help people (and ourselves) to live better, healthier and fuller lives. This means the that the FM is a vehicle for transformation and change. As Dr. Feldenkrais said,

“The aim [of the Feldenkrais Method] is a person that is organised to move with minimum effort and maximum efficiency, not through muscular strength, but through increased consciousness of how movement works.”

To put this idea into another context, some musicians play music in order to communicate using music as their means of communication. Other musicians play for the sake of playing, and are perhaps only interested in perfection and not making mistakes. You’ve probably heard the difference between the former and the latter.
Here are some ways to get more of a sense as to whether or not you’re “using” instead of “doing” the FM.

Telltale signs that you’re “Doing Feldenkrais.”

  • The floor becomes the ultimate place for comfort.
  • You would rather lie down than move.
  • You say things in your classes like, “In the FM, we do such and such this way.”
  • The only way of checking in with yourself is by lying down.
  • You and/or your students feel great after a lesson but have a hard time retaining the change off the floor or table.
Just Use It!

Just Use It!

Some indications that you’re, “Using the Feldenkrais Method for learning and change.”

  • You choose lessons that bring your students (and yourself) to a higher state of ability and self organisation.
  • You search for a context and how a chosen lesson could benefit someone in the real world.
  • You know that the most important aspect of your work is to help, and not to preserve a legacy or tradition.

Of course, it’s possible to go too far in “using” the FM as just one of many techniques and we need to be clear about what’s behind our thinking and the way we approach our work. The FM does have a distinct methodology and form that sets it apart from other methods. Each one of us needs to ask ourselves:

  1. Am I “doing” instead of “using” the FM? To be sure, it’s OK to “do” the FM, but does that serve your clients’ needs?
  2. Am I mixing the FM with other methods? Also OK, if you’re making a conscious choice.
  3. How can I use the FM to help my students/clients live better lives?

I’d love to hear from you and how you’re “using” the method. Please post your thoughts in the comments.

If you know someone who would also benefit from these post, please share. We’ll both thank you!

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