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Moshe Feldenkrais, neuroplasticity and the Feldenkrais Method®

The 11 Principles Behind the Method, Movement, Learning and Optimal Function

Recently  I’ve been reading and rereading Norman Doidge’s new book on this subject, titled “The Brain’s Way of Healing Itself”, studying it, as it discusses what I work with on a daily basis and thus provides me with an opportunity to study as well as reflect on how I work with, think about and understand the Method and its many implications.

After giving us a background on Moshe Feldenkrais and depicting the origins of the Method, the author comes to discuss the “Core Principles” Moshe employed in his revolutionary new method: after all, we can consider him the first “neuroplastician”, way before the term neuroplasticity was even coined.

I read through the chapter and I knew my interest was really piqued:

I wanted to go deeper on a personal level to figure out how I looked at those principles and what did they exactly mean for me as a practitioner and for my clients, coming for lessons to me.

So the idea was born: I will sit with each chapter and pen my thoughts on paper about each principle with the intent of giving you, the reader, a better understanding and myself, the practitioner, an even better view of the method I practice. As they say: you keep learning till the day you die …

So let me introduce the principles in this first installment, just the way as they appear in Norman Doidge’s book:

  • “The mind programs the functioning of the brain;
  • A brain cannot think without motor function;
  • Awareness of movement is the key to improving the movement;
  • Differentiation – making the smallest possible sensory distinctions between movements – builds brain maps;
  • Differentiation is easiest to make when the stimulus is smallest;
  • Slowness of movement is key to awareness, and awareness is key to learning;
  • Reduce the effort whenever possible;
  • Errors are essential, and there is no right way to move, only better ways;
  • Random movements provide variation that leads to developmental breakthroughs;
  • Even the smallest movement in one part of the body involves the entire body;
  • Many movment problems, and the pain that goes with them, are caused by learned habit, not by abnormal structure.”

The above 11 core principles are the backbone of not only the Feldenkrais Method®, but also of learning, fundamental changes, effective movement and better overall function.

Now, that you have quite a bit to think about and start forming an opinion about this topic, I’d like to invite you to come back a week from today, for a more in depth discussion of the 1st principle as well as to check out the book, available everywhere*

See you next Monday!

* for your convenience there is a link to purchase the book from Amazon on my website as well, MoonDanceYoga Recommended Books, just click on the image of the book to buy through

Author: MoonDanceYoga

Zsuzsa Belhazy-Kovacs, MsME, e-RYT, GCFP(R) Zsuzsa started out as a classical ballet dancer, studying for 12 years in Hungary. She started practicing yoga with Lilias Folan's PBS series in the early eighties, while living in Vermont. She is and e-RYT and became a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner(R), GCFP in 2013 after 4 years of intensive study at the Feldenkrais Institute of New York. She is interested in other movement based healing modalities, meditation and dance therapy. Currently she teaches therapeutic yoga, Feldenkrais floor work, aka Awareness Through Movement(R) or ATM and offers private sessions both in therapeutic yoga and Feldenkrais Functional Integration(R), FI at her Nashua and West Windham NH office. When not doing yoga or Feldenkrais movement she is likely to be found on deck coaching synchronized swimming with ANA Synchro in Andover, Mass.

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