Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?

© International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive

Born in 1904, Moshe Feldenkrais ruined his knees playing football. Rather than choosing primitive surgery in the 1940s, he used his skills as a professional physicist, engineer, and judo black belt to learn everything about movement, bio-mechanics, childhood movement development, the human nervous system, and learning theory. He analyzed how he moved and created movement exercises to let the body and brain automatically distinguish between poor and good movement, which the brain could then implement biologically. This is ‚learning‘. He solved his own knee problems and for 40 years till his death in 1984 he created thousands of movement lessons for other people to use.

His well known collaborators and clients included NLP-originator Richard Bandler, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, the legendary theater director Peter Brook, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, the leading anthropologist of her time Margaret Mead, as well as professional sportsmen and women, musicians, actors, and handicapped adults and children.

When Moshe Feldenkrais theorised about learning theory, brain plasticity and the ability to learn an individual, improved way of moving, he was a pioneer. He observed and named things that had as yet no name. Nowadays neuro-plasticity (rewiring the brain), learning by doing, cognition and behavioral links, and mindfulness are widely known terms or used by millions.

The Feldenkrais Method In a nut shell. Doing slow movement with mindful awareness allows the brain to feel and observe. This means it can discard poor habits and permanently replace old habits with new, better ways of acting.

Foto: Michael Wollgensinger /IFF

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