Our retirement home has set up Feldenkrais classes with an experienced and qualified Feldenkrais instructor and today was inauguration day. We went down to the hall and were told to each bring out a mattress from the adjacent storeroom. My first laugh was at the woman who was busy riffling through the pile, looking “for one that is long enough for me,” she said grimly as she flung the foam rubber aside. She was all of 1.50 meter tall.
After some minutes of discussion the class got under way. The Feldenkrais Method is a body management system designed by Moshe Feldenkrais and aims to improve movement, 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. It does not offer treatment for any specific injuries or illnesses, but is used to improve habitual and repetitive movement patterns. Feldenkrais believed that health is founded on good function. He asserted that his method of body/mind exploration improved health by making individuals more aware.
The exercises and movements were gentle and not strenuous. It all took place lying on foam rubber mattresses. The class of about 30 women and half a dozen men was talkative and reasonably disciplined for this part of the world and the average age of the students. The level of understanding? “Raise your left knee!” called the instructor. “Left knee! Now swing the knee – left knee! – to the right. Left knee I said! Now move that knee, no not that one, the left knee to the left!” She arrived at the culprit and pointed: “That is the left knee, Madam!”
After the laughter had subsided she moved on to the next movement. I missed the fast Hebrew instruction and asked the little old lady on my right what she wanted. “I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about!” she snarled. That’s when I found out that laughter is still the best medicine, Dr. Feldenkrais.