Feldenkrais and Sport

‘Make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant’
Moshe Feldenkrais

Freedom of movement in sports

If you watch top sportsmen and women in action they look effortless. They appear to move more freely, be more graceful and elegant and have more time than their less skilled opponents. Mostly we think that our athletic ability is fixed. I’m not flexible, my back is stiff, my balance is poor, are common judgements that we make of ourselves. Even the more athletically gifted have very set ideas about how much natural aptitude they have.

Habits, limits and potential

Our movement and postural habits are unique to us and make us instantly recognizable from a distance. They underlie everything we do – how we hit a ball, run or jump. Our sporting technique develops out of these personal movement habits.

A coach can help us correct our faults and improve our performance by showing us how to hit a good forehand, make a good ski turn or a great golf swing. However he is not trained to recognize the limitations of our habitual movements that prevent us from consistently reproducing a perfect stroke, a great swing. When we try to superimpose so called ‘correct technique’ on top of a poorly organized pattern of movement we feel physical effort and mental strain – a conflict between the old and the new which is exhausting.

When you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want

Moshe Feldenkrais famously said. The lessons he developed help us make fine discriminations between our familiar habits and more effective options giving us choice and an immense sense of freedom.

Intention, action and flow

Your repertoire of movements will increase and you will notice you are able to do things in new ways. You will discover how to become your own teacher. As you keep learning, the gap between mental intention and bodily action decreases and you need less willpower, concentration, or extra effort to move powerfully and effectively. When your body and mind are integrated you will increasingly experience a state of flow.