Flexibility, Neuroplasticity and Stretching
People usually don't think they can learn to have longer and more flexible muscles and joints. Typical belief is that a certain amount of effort, force, or time is required on a consistent basis. Pushing into the end range rather than moving slowly and easily within a comfortable range of motion is a commonly accepted way to lengthen muscles.
We can learn to increase the range of motion through out our body by gentle movements that regulate the stretch reflex. The stretch reflex involves both neurological and mechanical components. We must always remember that our brain and muscles operate as one unit. The brain largely determines the amount of tone and most of the length in a muscle. Research has proven that the plastic properties of the brain, called neuroplasticity, can strongly affect the muscular state of the body. Most people accept the idea that stress, tension, or a lack of movement can decrease the length of a muscle and decrease the ability of a muscle to generate force at length.
The good news is that opposite is also true. The stretch reflex can be positively influenced and regulated by behavioural conditioning, sensory stimulation, and skill training. The Feldenkrais Method is based on sound scientific principles put into an enjoyable practice with results that are surprising.
• Relief from tension and muscular pain
• Improved breathing
• More flexible minds
• Improved performance in sports
• Greater mobility in everyday activities
• Increased vitality
History of Feldenkrais
The focus of the Feldenkrais Method is to relearn correct physical movement, countering the bad habits we develop in life that can lead to crippling disability.
The 3 principles of Feldenkrais are
- vitality for the entire span of your life
- overcome pain
- flexible minds
Evolution is inherent to every scientific discipline and as a scientist, Dr. Feldenkrais understood that his method needed to evolve in order for it to stay vibrant, valid and useful. His intention was for his work to develop as increased scientific knowledge and accumulated teaching experience brought more insight, greater understanding and the formation of new techniques.
Furthering this view, Anat Baniel developed her own methods, adapting Feldenkrais (R) throught the Anat Baniel Method (sm). Her techniques have been shown to improve many conditions, giving relief from sports injuries, back problems, shoulder, neck, and limb pain, arthritis and stroke-related problems.
The Feldenkrais Method and Awareness Through Movement
There are 2 important approaches to teaching the Anat Baniel Method (sm):
- Awareness Through Movement (R) classes where the teacher verbally directs students through movement sequences.
- Functional Synthesis lessons where the practitioner uses his or her hands to guide the movement of the student, while the student lies on a padded table or floor.
Feldenkrais "Awareness Through Movement Lessons" (R) students temporarily set aside habitual patterns, thereby enjoying freer, easier movement, and gaining more accurate and complete perception of the body and movement in general.
ATM emphasizes improving brain-body communication over stretching and straining immediately so people experience a safer and longer lasting change in their posture, movement and body image than if they worked out using force and will power.
Regardless of your level of physical fitness, the body begins to work better immediately because the intelligence of the whole person–their brain, muscles and nervous system–is engaged. The lessons directly engage this intelligence while creating the conditions for effective learning. ATM's are accessible to everyone and the results can be extraordinary. They offer an impressive variety of movement situations, addressing every area, joint, and muscle group in the body and every human function.
Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement ® Now available in Kitchener!
The Canadian Alpine ski team and the Ontario Womens ski team are now doing Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lessons to improve their sport. Watch this 10 minute clip for more information! Learn how Feldenkreis helps you clarify your mind and your movements.