“It’s not what I do, it’s how I do it” – this sentence by engineer Moshé Feldenkrais, which seems rather simple at first, explains why I consider the method he developed so useful for any kind of relationship. People who practise Feldenkrais get into touch with themselves and, in this way, become clear about what they do. And those who are clear about, and aware of, themselves will – quite obviously – also be clear about, and aware of, their fellow humans.
But what exactly is the Feldenkrais method? Simply put, Feldenkrais is a learning method of exertion through movement – a method that triggers a complex process of experiencing physical and mental agility. In his method, Moshé Feldenkrais combined the know-how he had gained from his many different activities in physics, martial arts, anthropology and engineering. He used anatomical, biomechanical, neuroscientific, and developmental psychology findings.
The basis for this holistic approach was the assumption that everyone who concerns themselves with their own body image will learn to make better use of their own body. Unlike other training methods, Feldenkrais is not about rehearsing specific movements, but about discovering new, individual patterns of mobility. Movement is not imitated; it is explored. This also enables the mind to free itself from ingrained patterns.
Perceiving differences, discovering new things
Those who try out the Feldenkrais method will experience that movements can be performed more and more effortlessly, elegantly, and also more efficiently. This is because new things emerge from the perception of differences. You train your awareness of your own body; the mindful perception of how your own movement is performed leads to balance, orientation, and reorientation. This, in turn, translates into a different, better way of dealing with challenges in many life situations.
Why I think, and even recommend, that leaders should also engage with the Feldenkrais method? Well, the reason is: experiencing yourself in your own physicality expands your consciousness. Those who know their habits and patterns of movement know what is harmful and focus on what is good and can be made easier. The experience gained in this way also has a positive effect on mental strength.
Physical exercise in line with the Feldenkrais method also teaches you that there are a multitude of possibilities for you to try out new things in order to reach your goal. In leadership, too, there is not just one right way or one true style. The Feldenkrais experience encourages you to define your own individual leadership style, a leadership style that suits you.
Mindful of yourself, clear with others
Another important aspect is the perception of your own power reserves. If you pause, take a break, or just bide your time, then you will strengthen your own attentiveness. After all, working proactively rather than seeking support only when pain has already set in is a clear sign of foresight. If you build in moments of recovery, you avoid injury and illness – whether you are training for the next half-marathon or standing your ground in your day-to-day leadership routine.
Figuratively, this also means having the foresight to deal with relevant issues at an early stage and to see the processual aspect itself. For working with the Feldenkrais method reveals development – it involves continuous growth and is never complete: “If you know what you do, you can do what you want.” (Moshé Feldenkrais)
You are interested in the relationship between the Feldenkrais method and leadership and would like to learn more about it? If so, please, contact me – I look forward to discovering aspects like these together with you in an executive coaching context!
Thank you very much, Ulrike Worthmann, for tackling the Feldenkrais method together with me both verbally and non-verbally. Feldenkrais Somatic Experiencing in Berlin – Ulrike Worthman (ulrike-worthmann.de)
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