Feldenkrais with Skeeter on Maui

Teacher’s hope for and dream of students like Skeeter. Curious, intelligent, studious, disciplined, self-motivating, and creative to name but a few of her attributes. She has gone beyond my abilities as a practitioner and indeed it is an honor to recommend her to anyone interested in any facet of either yoga or the Feldenkrais Method

Jerry Karzen

Feldenkrais Trainer, FeldenkraisHawaii.com

I met Skeeter in the fall of 2006 when I had returned to Maui with my son who had suffered an anoxic brain injury. I was immediately struck by her serious approach when working with my son. She exhibited exemplary fearlessness and confidence in her training. Skeeter brought her unique talents to an extremely difficult situation when we had found no one else who was willing to meet that challenge. My son has benefited enormously not only from her expertise in the field of Feldenkrais but from the loving and compassionate person that she embodies. There is no price that I could put on the level of skill and wisdom that Skeeter exhibits when working with my son; she is invaluable to us and we will forever be grateful that she is in our lives

Elinor Meadows

Skeeter has been a Godsend to our family. My son Andrew is 17. He was born with Cerebral Palsy, and though not verbal or ambulatory in “regular ways”, he is a shining light, very loving, present and aware. Skeeter sees that light in him. She has reached in and touched this very special young man, and connected with him in a way that has much depth. Andrew puts forth an exceptional and uncommon effort when she works with him. I feel he looks forward to the lessons with Skeeter (which is a huge thing!) Skeeter’s work with Andrew has opened doors for him to many possibilities, like nothing else has. Skeeter’s heart, knowledge and skill comes through in her work with Andrew.

Paula Richard

What is the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education?

The Feldenkrais Method® is a form of somatic education that uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning. Through this Method, you can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement. These improvements will often generalize to enhance functioning in other aspects of your life. TheFeldenkrais Method is based on principles of physics, biomechanics and an empirical understanding of learning and human development. By expanding the self-image through movement sequences that bring attention to the parts of the self that are out of awareness, the Method enables you to include more of yourself in your functioning movements. Students become more aware of their habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities and expand options for new ways of moving. By increasing sensitivity the Feldenkrais Method assists you to live your life more fully, efficiently and comfortably.

Awareness Through Movement Classes

The Feldenkrais Method is expressed in two parallel forms: Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration®. Awareness Through Movement consists of verbally directed movement sequences presented primarily to groups.  A lesson generally lasts from thirty to sixty minutes. Each lesson is usually organized around a particular function. In Awareness Through Movement lessons, people engage in precisely structured movement explorations that involve thinking, sensing, moving, and imagining. Many are based on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities. Some are based on more abstract explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships. The lessons consist of comfortable, easy movements that gradually evolve into movements of greater range and complexity. Awareness Through Movement lessons attempt to make one aware of his/her habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities and to expand options for new ways of moving while increasing sensitivity and improving efficiency. There are hundreds of Awareness Through Movement lessons contained in the Feldenkrais Method that vary, for all levels of movement ability, from simple in structure and physical demand, to more difficult lessons. A major goal of Awareness Through Movement is to learn how one’s most basic functions are organized and improve. By experiencing the details of how one performs any action, the student has the opportunity to learn how to:

  • attend to his/her whole self
  • eliminate unnecessary energy expenditure
  • mobilize his/her intentions into actions
  • learn and improve

Functional Integration® Lessons

The Feldenkrais Method is expressed in two parallel forms:  Functional Integration® and Awareness Through Movement®. Functional Integration is a hands-on form of tactile, kinesthetic communication. The Feldenkrais practitioner communicates to the student how he/she organizes his/her body and hints, through gentle touching and movement, how to move in more expanded functional motor patterns. Functional Integration is usually performed with the student lying on a table designed specifically for the work. It can also be done with the student in sitting or standing positions. At times, various props are used in an effort to support the person’s body configuration or to facilitate certain movements. Just as Feldenkrais practitioners can guide people through movement sequences verbally in Awareness Through Movement group classes, they also guide people through movement with gentle, non-invasive touching in Functional Integration individual lessons. In Functional Integration, the practitioner/teacher’s intention is instructive and communicative. The Functional Integration lesson should relate to a desire, intention, or need of the student. The learning process is carried out without the use of any invasive or forceful procedure. Through rapport and respect for the student’s abilities, qualities, and integrity, the practitioner/teacher creates an environment in which the student can learn comfortably. In Functional Integration, the practitioner/teacher develops a lesson for the student, custom-tailored to the unique configuration of that particular person, at that particular moment. The practitioner conveys the experience of comfort, pleasure, and ease of movement while the student learns how to reorganize his/her body and behavior in new and more effective manners . . .

Who Benefits from the Feldenkrais Method?

Anyone—young or old, physically challenged or physically fit—can benefit from the Method. Feldenkrais is beneficial for those experiencing chronic or acute pain of the back, neck, shoulder, hip, legs or knee, as well as for healthy individuals who wish to enhance their self-image. The Method has been very helpful in dealing with central nervous system conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke. Musicians, actors and artists can extend their abilities and enhance creativity. Many Seniors enjoy using it to retain or regain their ability to move without strain or discomfort. Through lessons in this method you can enjoy greater ease of movement, an increased sense of vitality, and feelings of peaceful relaxation. After a session you often feel taller and lighter, breathe more freely and find that your discomforts have eased. You experience relaxation, and feel more centered and balanced.

Successful Students

Examples of recent successes students have accomplished after work with the Feldenkrais Method:

  • a 42 year old computer programmer with incipient wrist problems is able to increase his speed on the keyboard after learning how to use his arms and hands more efficiently.
  • a 28 year old woman goes through her third pregnancy, but the first one without back pain.
  • a 55-year old woman is able to lift her affectionate 2 year old granddaughter without straining her back.
  • a 40-year old cellist becomes so creative in developing new, less strained positions to play in that she able to extend her musical repetoire.
  • a 9-year old with learning disabilites can read a full page competently and gains self-confidence in his intelligence.
  • a 19-year old diver is able to visualize and perform the complex series of movements needed to accomplish an intricate endeavor more proficiently.
  • a 78-year old man walks a mile daily, free of chronic knee pain he’s had for 30 years.
  • a 32-year old man learns to reuse his hands after a crippling auto accident.

Professional athletes who have enjoyed the benefits of Feldenkrais include basketball star Julius Erving and PGA golfers Rick Acton and Duffy Waldorf. Celebrities who have used Feldenkrais include Norman Cousins, Margaret Mead, former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Helen Hayes and Whoopi Goldberg. Famous musicians include violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and cellist Yo Yo Ma.

A Biography of Moshe Feldenkrais

moshe_feldenkrais3By Mark Reese Moshe Pinhas Feldenkrais was born on May 6, 1904, in Slavuta, in the present-day Ukrainian Republic. When he was a small boy his family moved to the nearby town of Korets. By 1912 his family moved to Baranovich, in what is today, Belarus. While Baranovich endured many World War I battles, Feldenkrais received his Bar Mitzvah, completed two years of high school, and received an education in the Hebrew language and Zionist philosophy.

In 1918 Feldenkrais left by himself on a six-month journey to Palestine. After arriving in 1919, Feldenkrais worked as a laborer until 1923 when he returned to high school to earn a diploma. While attending school he made a living by tutoring. After graduating in 1925, he worked for the British survey office as a cartographer.

Feldenkrais was involved in Jewish self-defense groups, and after learning Jujitsu he devised his own self-defense techniques. He hurt his left knee in a soccer match in 1929. While convalescing he wrote Autosuggestion (1930), a translation from English to Hebrew of Charles Brooks’ work on Coué‘s system of autosuggestion, together with two chapters that he wrote himself. He next published Jujitsu (1931), a book on self-defense.

In 1930 Feldenkrais went to Paris and enrolled in an engineering college, the Ecole des Travaux Publics des Paris. He graduated in 1933 with specialties in mechanical and electrical engineering. In 1933 after meeting Jigaro Kano, Judo’s founder, Feldenkrais began teaching Jujitsu again, and started his training in Judo.

In 1933 he began working as a research assistant under Frederic Joliot-Curie at the Radium Institute, while studying for his Ingeniur-Docteur degree at the Sorbonne. From 1935-1937 he worked at the Arcueil-Cachan laboratories building a Van de Graaf generator, which was used for atomic fission experiments.

In 1935 he published a revised, French edition of his Hebrew jujitsu book called, La Défense du Faible Contre L’Agresseur, and in 1938 published ABC du Judo. He received his Judo black belt in 1936, and 2nd degree rank in 1938. Feldenkrais married Yona Rubenstein in 1938.

From 1939-1940 he worked under Paul Langevin doing research on magnetics and ultra-sound. Feldenkrais escaped to England in 1940, just as the Germans arrived in Paris. As a scientific officer in the British Admiralty, he conducted anti-submarine research in Scotland from 1940-1945. While there he taught Judo and self-defense classes. In 1942 he published a self-defense manual, Practical Unarmed Combat, and Judo. Feldenkrais began working with himself to deal with knee troubles that had recurred during his escape from France, and while walking on submarine decks.

Feldenkrais gave a series of lectures about his new ideas, began to teach experimental classes, and work privately with some colleagues. In 1946 Feldenkrais left the Admiralty, moved to London, and worked as an inventor and consultant in private industry. He took Judo classes at the London Budokwai, sat on the international Judo committee, and scientifically analyzed Judo principles. He published his first book on his method, Body and Mature Behavior, in 1949, and his last book on Judo, Higher Judo, in 1952.

During his London period he studied the work of George Gurdjieff, F. M. Alexander, and William Bates, and went to Switzerland to study with Heinrich Jacoby. Feldenkrais returned to Israel to direct the Israeli Army Department of Electronics, 1951-1953. Around 1954 he moved permanently to Tel Aviv and, for the first time, made his living solely by teaching his method. He worked sporadically on the manuscript of The Potent Self, which he had begun in London.

Around 1955 he permanently located his Awareness through Movement® classes to a studio on Alexander Yanai Street. He gave Functional Integration lessons in the apartment where his mother and brother lived. In early 1957 Feldenkrais began giving lessons to Israeli Prime Minister, David ben Gurion. In the late 1950’s Feldenkrais presented his work in Europe and the United States. In the mid 1960s he published Mind and Body and Bodily Expression.

In 1967, he published Improving the Ability to Perform (titled Awareness Through Movement in its 1972 English language edition). In 1968, near his family’s apartment, he made a studio at 49 Nachmani Street as the permanent site for his Functional Integration practice, and location for his first teacher-training program, 1969-1971, given to 12 students. After giving month-long courses internationally, he taught a 65-student, teacher-training program in San Francisco over four summers, 1975-1978.

He published The Case of Nora in 1977, and The Elusive Obvious in 1981.He began the 235-student Amherst training in 1980, but was only able to teach the first two summers of the four-year program. After becoming ill in the fall 1981, he stopped teaching publicly. He died on July 1, 1984.

*I have done my best to verify dates, names, and places, though I cannot guarantee their accuracy, due to limitations of information available and discrepancies between sources.

Maui Feldenkrais Lessons

  • Private Functional Integration lessons $108.00. Call 808-264-1818 to schedule.
  • Public Awareness Through Movement classes every Saturday 9:45-11:00
  • Recordings of Awareness Through Movement classes $8 ea or 10 lessons @ $60

At Lumeria Maui, 1813 Baldwin Ave, $16 drop in or use class pass.