5 Ways Feldenkrais Supports Mental Health
The Feldenkrais Method is not just helpful for improving your physical health and well-being, it also supports your mental health. Your brain is essential in thinking, feeling (emotional health) and sensing via the 5 senses.
All movement is initiated via the brain and nervous system. When you improve the way you move you simultaneously improve your thinking, feeling and sensing, because you are actually changing the way your brain and nervous system is wired. Improvements to your brain function and mental health happen gently and with minimal effort on your part.
“What I’m after isn’t flexible bodies, but flexible brains. What I’m after is to restore each person to their human dignity. ” – Moshe Feldenkrais
So what are 5 ways that Feldenkrais can help support your mental health and overall well-being?
1. Developing mindfulness, concentration and attention supports mental health
During a Feldenkrais awareness through movement lesson you are guided to closely observe and mentally follow your body during both stillness and movement. This process gently focuses on body sensations and improves your kinaesthetic sense while developing relaxed concentration. Once engaged in the process thoughts and worries about the past and future are set aside. Improving mindfulness is known to help improve mental health.
2. Self-care: Learning to listen to your inner needs supports mental health
Feldenkrais lessons help you remember how good it feels to listen to your body sensations without forming judgements. You learn how to become more comfortable in your own skin. You start to realise that letting part of your awareness to attend to your inner experience need not reduce your effectiveness in the outside world, in fact it can enhance it.
3. Improving physical and mental habits supports mental health
Through Feldenkrais you discover that you have your own unique patterns of physical tension which are closely interwoven with the way you feel about yourself and the world around you. These patterns are simply neuro-muscular habits and habits can be changed. Instead of fighting against the tension or seeking to get rid of it, you learn to go with it. The habit, which may have been invisible then becomes obvious and you begin to discover that you have other options.
“When you know what you’re doing you can do what you want” Moshe Feldenkrais
4. Slowing down supports mental health
In Feldenkrais it’s not so much in the movements themselves that matter, its the way in which you do them. By going in slow motion you are able to observe things you would not otherwise notice about the quality of your movement. Practicing the component parts slowly gradually leads to more efficient movement patterns. Then the movements can then be done fast without losing efficiency. Going slowly allows you to more accurately map movements and your body’s position in space as it changes over time and creates more detailed and accurate mental maps of your body in your brain. This slow movement is a great antidote to the regular pace of life.
5. Learning to reduce effort supports mental health
Often we equate high achievement with hard work. However over-efforting can often interfere with efficiency. Trying hard and doing your best are not always the same thing. What if you could do more with less effort? How can you achieve the results you want without wasting effort or energy? These are questions we commonly explore within the context of Feldenkrais lessons. Rather than giving you answers we encourage you to engage with the question and guide you to discover your own answers. In this way the Feldenkrais Method supports autonomy and taking charge of your own physical and mental health.
The thing is, reading about Feldenkrais is like reading about the ocean when you’ve never been there. You really need to experience it for yourself, not just read about it. So we warmly invite you to come for an individual consultation or enquire about a trial class. If you don’t live in Perth, you can still access our free YouTube Videos via this site.