What are the similarities between Mindfulness and Feldenkrais?
Mindfulness and its concept of learning how to become at peace with ourselves finds a strong echo in the Feldenkrais method. In Mindfulness we use several tools to increase the awareness of what we feel in our body in the present moment. In Feldenkrais we also use this ability to bring ourselves to the present moment. We do this by improving our awareness. In Feldenkrais, we say that without awareness it will be difficult to improve our ability to feel and move fully. We tend to do too much, to use our will, our ego. We use effort, because this is what we know, this is how we were taught: “Make an effort”, “run faster”, “jump higher”, “be better”, “beat the others”. In this point of view, to do better is to be better. Dr. Feldenkrais, however, postulated that we might learn in a different way, in a more natural way. In a way that is in harmony with our bodies. The way an infant learns how to roll over, how to crawl, how to walk. The deep and complex learning done by infants, which coincidentally is also the time our brain develops the most neurological pathways, is done without any help from the outside world. No one shows the baby how to do this. The child simply tries and tries over and over again until it is able to coordinate its movements well enough to achieve the outcome it desires. This ability to try and fail,
again and again and keep on going is something we often lose in adulthood. As Churchill famously said: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”. Feldenkrais reintroduces this concept of learning new ways of moving by playing, by failing, by doing it wrong and by learning to identify when our ego takes over and when to let it be, to let it go. I think this is one of the great parallels between Feldenkrais and Mindfulness. Written