Getting Started

If you are new to the Feldenkrais Method and are interested in reading something about it, I suggest Dennis Leri's introduction, Learning How To Learn – An Overview of the Feldenkrais® Method. If you're planning on starting Awareness Through Movement® classes, I also suggest reading Feldenkrais's Learn to Learn, written specifically for people beginning lessons.

While the heart of the Feldenkrais Method is found in Feldenkrais lessons themselves, the Method is also a rich and fascinating starting point for further inquiry. The articles, papers, books, and other resources below reflect my particular interests and include the Method as well as related topics.

On the Feldenkrais Method

Moshé Feldenkrais: Learn to Learn

A “manual to help you get the best results” from Awareness Through Movement® lessons by their creator, Moshé Feldenkrais.

Dennis Leri: Articles at semiophysics.com (links)

Articles by Feldenkrais Method practitioner and trainer Dennis Leri, including his overview of the Method Learning How To Learn, his Mental Furniture series, The Risk of Serious Inquiry series, and more. And don't miss his 1977 interview with Feldenkrais, The Extraordinary Story of How Moshé Feldenkrais Came to Study Judo.

Tres Hofmeister: The Feldenkrais Method (audio interview, 27m)

Susan Chandler's September 2014 interview with me on the Feldenkrais Method for her internet radio show, Mind & Body in Motion.

Yvan Joly: Articles at yvanjoly.com (links)

Articles by Feldenkrais Method practitioner and trainer Yvan Joly, in the areas of somatic education, the Feldenkrais Method, and the Feldenkrais Method & psychology, including his From Body-Oriented Therapies to Feldenkrais: A Psychologist's Loop (PDF) on his discovery of “the difference between therapy and learning.”

Mark Reese: The Feldenkrais Method and Dynamic System Principles

Notes from a letter by Feldenkrais Method practitioner and trainer Mark Reese, introducing Esther Thelen to the Feldenkrais Method.

On Related Topics

The papers, articles, and other resources below are all of personal interest. I was introduced to the work of Moshé Feldenkrais of course by the Educational Director of my Feldenkrais Method training, the late Dennis Leri. Dennis also introduced me to the work of Heinz von Foerster, Francisco Varela, Charles Sanders Peirce, Evan Thompson, and Alva Noë, among many others, and I am deeply grateful for his influence.

Leri, Sutherland (eds): A Conversation: Heinz von Foerster & Moshe Feldenkrais (PDF)

“This is a transcription of a conversation between Heinz von Foerster, Ph.D. and Moshé Feldenkrais, D.Sc. that took place when Dr. von Foerster was invited to address the San Francisco FPTP in the summer of 1977.”

John Spencer, et al: Moving Toward a Grand Theory of Development: In Memory of Esther Thelen (PDF)

“A survey of Esther Thelen's career reveals a trajectory from early work on simple movements like stepping, to the study of goal-directed reaching, to work on the embodiment of cognition, and, ultimately, to a grand theory of development of dynamic systems theory.”

Paul Ingraham: Your Back Is Not Out of Alignment (link)

Paul Ingraham on structuralism, from his site Pain Science. Ingraham defines structuralism as “the excessive focus in the physical therapies on postural and biomechanical factors in pain problems,” and writes here with the explicit goal of “debunking the obsession with alignment, posture, and other biomechanical bogeymen as major causes of pain.”

“Almost everyone who has ever been to any kind of physical therapist or doctor for a stubborn pain in their body, some injury-like breakdown, has been told that they are deformed and fragile—not in those words, exactly, but that’s the message. … Not only are structural explanations for pain generally unsupported by any scientific evidence, the last 25 years of research results mostly undermines them, often impressively.”

Richard Feynman: What is Science?

A transcript of a wonderful talk on the nature of science and learning by physicist Richard Feynman.

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. … It is necessary… both to accept and to reject the past with a kind of balance that takes considerable skill. Science… contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.”

Alan Bellows: Clever Hans the Math Horse (link)

From Alan Bellows of the blog Damn Interesting comes this telling of the story of Clever Hans, a horse who ostensibly understood mathematics; and his investigator Oskar Pfungst, who demonstrated something far more interesting: what we are capable of learning.

“Though the experiment strongly indicated that the horse probably had no real grasp of math, it did uncover an extraordinary insight. Hans wasn't dipping into a reservoir of intellect to work out the answers, he was merely being receptive to the subtle, unconscious cues which were universally present in his human questioners.”

Eleanor Duckworth: Twenty-four, Forty-two, and I Love You: Keeping It Complex

Educator Eleanor Duckworth on the value of complexity in learning.

“In my entire life as a student, I remember only twice being given the opportunity to come up with my own ideas, a fact I consider typical and terrible. I would like to start this article by telling how I came to realize that schooling could be different from what I had experienced.”

Alva Noë: Life Is the Way the Animal Is In the World (link)

“The problem of consciousness is understanding how this world is there for us. It shows up in our senses. It shows up in our thoughts. Our feelings and interests and concerns are directed to and embrace this world around us. We think, we feel, the world shows up for us. To me that's the problem of consciousness.”

Donald Favareau: An Evolutionary History of Biosemiotics (PDF)

“When considered together, the following two commonplace observations present an intransigent paradox for contemporary science: (1) Biological being is a form of physical organization that has evolved in nature. (2) A sign is something that stands for something other than itself.”

Other articles and papers

I hope to offer a brief synopsis or introduction to each of the resources below at some point. In the mean time, here's a simple list.

Charles Sanders Peirce: The Fixation of Belief (link)

Charles Sanders Peirce: How to Make Our Ideas Clear (link)

Heinz von Foerster: On Constructing a Reality (PDF)

Heinz von Foerster: From Stimulus To Symbol: The Economy Of Biological Computation (PDF)

Evan Thompson: Life and mind: From autopoiesis to neurophenomenology. A tribute to Francisco Varela (PDF)

Francisco Varela: Neurophenomenology: A Methodological Remedy for the Hard Problem (PDF)

Hubert Dreyfus: The Current Relevance of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Embodiment

Vittorio Gallese & Corrado Sinigaglia: How the Body in Action Shapes the Self (PDF)

Books

Embodied Wisdom: The Collected Papers of Moshe Feldenkrais
Edited by Elizabeth Beringer with a foreword by David Zemach-Bersin

A diverse read for those interested in the writings of Moshé Feldenkrais, and Norman Doidge's “favorite overall introduction to Feldenkrais's theory.” The collection includes the articles On Health, Bodily Expressions (translated from the French by Thomas Hanna), On the Primacy of Hearing, Self-Fulfillment Through Organic Learning (edited by Mark Reese) and others, as well as a series of interviews with Feldenkrais.

The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding
By Humberto R. Maturana and Francisco J. Varela

The aphorisms “All doing is knowing and all knowing is doing” and “Everything said is said by someone” guide this inquiry into “Knowing How We Know.” The circularity of action and experience are explored, organized around the notion of biological autopoiesis, or “self making.” A wonderful book by authors closely associated with Heinz von Foerster, it offers a deeply considered alternative to commonly held dualisms of mind and body, self and environment.

Right Hand, Left Hand: The Origins of Asymmetry in Brains, Bodies, Atoms and Cultures
By Chris McManus

I read Chris McManus' Right Hand, Left Hand early in my training and deeply enjoyed his exposition of the many ways asymmetry appears in the world. The book helped clarify for me that a simplistic, structural bilateral symmetry is neither possible nor desirable for us. His examples demonstrate the fundamental importance of asymmetry in our human capacity to orient in the world based, as Feldenkrais often stated, on our ability to know our right from our left.

Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness
By Alva Nöe

From the publisher:

“Our culture is obsessed with the brain—how it perceives; how it remembers; how it determines our intelligence, our morality, our likes and our dislikes. It's widely believed that consciousness itself, that Holy Grail of science and philosophy, will soon be given a neural explanation. And yet, after decades of research, only one proposition about how the brain makes us conscious—how it gives rise to sensation, feeling, and subjectivity—has emerged unchallenged: we don't have a clue.

“In this inventive work, Noë suggests that rather than being something that happens inside us, consciousness is something we do.”

Other resources

Rocky Mountain 1 FPTP Synopsis

Notes from my own Rocky Mountain 1 (RM1) Feldenkrais Professional Training Program (FPTP) with Educational Director Dennis Leri, organized by Movement Educators.

Other sites

International Feldenkrais Federation

Feldenkrais Guild of North America