The Feldenkrais Method®
What is The Feldenkrais Method?
Dr. Feldenkrais used to say: “Movement is life. Without movement, life is inconceivable”. Movement is the first skill our brain learns and the process starts in the beginning of life. As babies, we all went through this learning process which included negotiating gravity, developing the size of the brain, and achieving new levels of mastery over our environment. The success or failure of this process determined the quality of our life. We had no teacher and no verbal instruction. We sensed, we felt, we moved, all included in one action which had one biological purpose – becoming a functional, healthy and fulfilled human. When socialization begins, necessary and unnecessary rules and schedules interfere with the playful, experimental nature of organic learning. In an ideal environment, the adult is aware of the fine balance between the necessary rules and the necessary free play the child needs. When the environment is not ideal, we react by learning habits that help us at the moment, but are a hinderence later in life.
Dr. Feldenkrais, by creating hundreds of movement lessons he called Awareness Through Movement®, used the brain plasticity inherent in organic, non-verbal learning to create new connections and structures. These new connections replace those which prevent us from doing what we want or need. Because of brain plasticity, the results people experience after the lessons seem miraculous, but they are no more miraculous than seeing a baby develop, in one year, from not being able to roll, to walking! Improved self use in adults and better adaptation to the demands of a given task are natural outcomes of returning to a natural, organic learning.
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais
Moshe Feldenkrais, the originator of the Feldenkrais Method, sustained debilitating knee injuries which doctors predicted would leave him with limited mobility. Being an engineer, physicist, soccer player, and a martial artist, he refused to accept this outcome and used his scientific expertise to find a way to regain his mobility. He understood that in order to change the way a person moves, the brain needs to change the signals it sends to the muscles. He developed a method which uses the principles of anatomy, physics, and human development to teach people new ways to move which can alleviate and prevent pain. Movement is involved and associated with every intended action, and the failure to achieve the action effectively and without effort, affects other areas of the somatic life. Dr. Feldenkrais understood the physiological connections and the implication they have on a person’s intellectual and emotional life.
Feldenkrais Method Applications
The Feldenkrais Method is practiced in two applications.
Awareness Through Movement®
Awareness through Movement classes start with easy-to-do movement lessons and gradually progress to more demanding ones. These movements address all aspects of human functioning and are of benefit to everyone. The movement sequences address every area of the body and all movements we do in our everyday lives.
It is taught in a class setting or in individual setting, tailoring to meet the needs of each student in real time. It is of benefit to everyone who wants to improve, but especially to people with aches and pains and movement deficit who need to re-learn to move.
The results can be remarkable, sometimes even in the course of one hour!
One series of classes includes 10 weekly sessions. Please, visit the Classes page to find out the times and how to register.
Functional Integration is a gentle, effective, hands-on approach internationally recognized for its ability to address serious musculoskeletal and neurological problems, chronic tension and pain. It also addresses developmental delays and learning issues in children.
Aliza Stewart has worked with hundreds of people, over 34 years, and has experience with many of the different conditions that relate to movement. She also works with performers, especially musicians, who are interested in curing and preventing injuries, and achieving their artistic goals.
Functional Integration is personalized to each individual. To arrange a Functional Integration session, please visit the contact page and write to us for details.
Benefits of the Feldenkrais Method
The benefits are unique to each student and vary from student to student. Some common Feldenkrais benefits reported:
- Reduced physical pain
- Better ways of coping with stress
- Increased overall range of movement
- Enhanced athletic and artistic performance
- Prevention of performance related injuries
- Greater ease and pleasure in physical activities
- Quicker recovery of abilities following trauma
- Increased mental clarity
Schedule a consultation with Aliza
Aliza Stewart is a Feldenkrais master – uncommonly gifted with intuition and touch. Every session brings new, life-changing insights and improvements.
The Feldenkrais method has provided me with the critical insights and experiences to free my body from constant aches and pains. With the fusion of 4 vertebrae 25 years ago, I was forced to tolerate back, hip, and neck discomfort and curtail some of my favorite exercises and parenting activities. Aliza and Feldenkrais led me to take pleasure in the most mundane aspects of life that previously caused me pain.
Aliza’s intelligence and commitment make her a real master of the Feldenkrais method. As a classical musician, I suffered chronic pain for several years and Aliza helped eradicate it within months. Aliza Stewart and the Feldenkrais method changed my life.
I've tried many healing modalities besides allopathic medicine, including chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, tai chi and yoga, but none have been as transformative as the Feldenkrais Method. Among Feldenkrais practitioners, Aliza Stewart is recognized as a master and it is no wonder. Her classes and private sessions are not only highly effective at reducing and eliminating pain, but they also foster an overall sense of vitality, power and expanded possibilities.
Aliza Stewart has taught me a new way of thinking about movement as a therapeutic tool. She has given me ideas and techniques to help my patients self-correct. Her teaching style is open and natural, and allows me to learn how to be responsible for myself.” – Cindy Tipping, physical therapist “There are many good teachers in this world, but few masters. Aliza Stewart is one of them. Pain was my initial motivator and I've experienced amazing relief, but the joy of discovery and learning with Aliza as guide is the real gift.
I cannot count how many times I have been told that there is nothing I can do about my scoliosis and that surgery is my only option. Through my experience of the feldenkrais method I have gained an awareness of my body and self-knowledge I never knew was possible. Aliza is a master teacher who embodies the Feldenkrais method in both thought and action. She has given me the profound gift of becoming the agent of my own healing. For scoliosis in particular, the Feldenkrais method is absolutely beneficial, embracing the unique organization of each person, rather than insisting that we fit some absolute mold of symmetry.
Since working with Aliza, I am re-discovering movement. As a career dancer and teacher, I am no longer feeling daily discomfort from the over-use of muscle groups, and I am more efficient with teaching movement. I am profoundly affected by the expert guidance of Aliza Stewart.
Aliza helped me immensely to regain my health and vitality. For 15 years I suffered from debilitating back pain and tried physical therapy and many other wellness modalities to try and gain relief. Some provided a small amount of help, but just for a short period of time. I even had back surgery for my sciatica. Fortunately, I started working with Aliza, taking her Awareness through Movement classes and Functional Integration private lessons. I have been given my life back! My health and vitality have returned. My spirits have lifted, and I am optimistic that even more improvement will come as we continue our work together.
Aliza Stewart has worked with me for the better part of ten years. She is an absolutely superb Fieldenkrais practitioner. I take regular classes with her & use those movements extensively when exercising at home. Whenever I "get my body into trouble", I go for private instruction and Aliza quickly restores my body to its former self. I don't know what I would do without her!
Now that I have experienced the power of Aliza's Feldenkrais work in my own orchestral conducting and seen the startling changes she is able to effect in my conducting students at the University of Maryland, I am convinced that Feldenkrais is an indispensable part of every conductor's education. Of course, Aliza brings a special understanding and gift to her work since she knows music as an art form. She sees the intrinsic emotional/psychological connections between our human bodies, how we move, and how music takes shape and form in notes.
Feldenkrais has given me tools to not only have an understanding of my movements and body, but a philosophy which deals with an approach to life. I recovered from an injury entirely with the Feldenkrais method and found it to be useful in all aspects of life. In relation to my viola playing, I believe that it has opened up my sound and has influenced the level of creativity. It helps to deal with great pressure that comes with performing which prevents injury. I am very thankful to Aliza for her help and inspiration.
You have no idea how much your help and involvement have done for me, my playing, and my outlook on being a musician in general. I do not exaggerate when I say that I am, in so many ways, a changed person. My whole approach to music making has been transformed. I play with much more freedom, I hear myself much better, I can accomplish more in less time - all these things have been made available through your few words of wisdom.
I really want to thank you for the weekend workshop. I don’t think I have ever experienced a more interesting and enjoyable few hours. I feel great and my head is a jumble of ideas. For me personally, this was the first whole day of Feldenkrais I have ever experienced where my attention was at the max all the way, from start to finish
It is an enormous opportunity to study with Aliza Stewart from the comfort of your own home. Her lessons are masterfully orchestrated and spontaneous at the same time. These experiences with Aliza will improve your life!
Dealing with the stiffness and bad movement habits of 60 years is no joke, and after 1 year in Aliza's classes I can honestly say that I have learned more about healthier and flexible ways of moving than I have with any other practitioner, bodyworker or physical therapist. It is not just that she has a direct lineage with Moshe Feldenkrais, or that she has decades of experience as a teacher, or that she is a teacher of teachers, or that she is a careful and nuanced observer, or that she has the highest level of skill and technique, that makes her teaching so effective and unique. I suspect that Aliza's special sauce has something to do with the fact that she is highly intuitive and she brings that intuition and caring to all of the work she does. Aliza encourages and supports independent exploration which has allowed me to play with and internalize the material deeply, quickly, with great impact. I am heartened that her gifts will now be more widely available through this website.
From the bottom of my heart and from my whole self, THANK YOU!!!" I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to take a 4-year-long professional Feldenkrais training with none other than Aliza Stewart as the Educational Director. The gratitude and appreciation I have for everything Aliza did for us during the training is something I have difficulty expressing in words. Even though I am a certified practitioner now, I remain excited to continue my learning with Aliza through her online ATM lessons.
Feldenkrais is life changing. Please go to Aliza Stewart’s website to read about it. Even better, sign up for some ATM classes. I do one movement in the beginning of the class, and when I go back to it in the end of the lesson, the difference is huge. I body and mind are connected & I feel more comfortable and healthier.
Aliza’s approach to teaching Feldenkrais gracefully touches on the connection of personal insight and body self awareness. Her approach has put me back in touch with my true self, as I was when I was younger, and which includes moving with ease.
Words will forever fall short in expressing how life changing Aliza and the Feldenkrais Method has been for me. She sees the dignity in each living soul and responds with wisdom to facilitate growth in movement, body, mind, and sense of agency that extends far beyond the lessons on the floor. It allows my life and self image to expand rather than contract. I believe more in possibilities than limitations and have tools for answering the challenges of life. And the learning continues. I am grateful.
I was fortunate to be able to join Aliza’s virtual classes during the Covid- 19 pandemic, as I live quite far from her. I am taking quite a few Feldenkrais classes with other teachers, but nothing prepared me for what I’ve discovered. Aliza is head and shoulders above other instructors. She is thorough, knowledgeable and has many years of experience. Each lesson is intriguing and interesting, as well as rewarding. I highly recommend Aliza as a master teacher and am confident that everyone who joins her classes would feel the same way.
I have been lucky to attend Aliza Stewart’s virtual classes. It has been a wonderful experience. Her wealth of knowledge, born from many years of study, self-exploration and teaching, translates well to a virtual format. Her keen observational skills create a learning environment that feels personal, professional and profound. I always feel better after a class, with a new sense of myself in how I move, think, and feel. Aliza and her class are a gift in my life.
Aliza Stewart changed my son's life!! Her knowledge and expertise training in Feldenkrais turned my immobile seven year old into a mobile little boy. Her passion for the Feldenkrais method of movement is evident when you are around her.