Moshé Feldenkrais

Moshé Feldenkrais ( born May 6, 1904 in Slawuta, Ukraine, † July 1, 1984 in Tel Aviv, Israel) was a physicist and judo instructor and developed the eponymous Feldenkrais method of exercise and relaxation.


Feldenkrais emigrated in 1918 to Palestine. Initially, he worked in road construction and as a private tutor for children, he also learned Jiu Jitsu and taught it later. In 1921 he taught according to own data (eg in an interview with Dennis Leri ) members of the Hagana in self-defense. He justified doing some of the basic concepts ( eg, use of natural defense mechanisms ), which were further cultured in KAPAP or Krav Maga later. In 1927 he resigned his Abitur at Theodor Herzl School in Tel Aviv and went to Paris to study electrical engineering, mechanics, and then physics to promotion.

From 1933 to 1940 he worked as a nuclear technician in the laboratory of Irene Joliot- Curie and Frédéric Joliot, the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 1935. During this time he met Kanō Jigorō, the founder of Judo.

Feldenkrais emigrated in 1940 to the UK. From 1940 to 1946 he worked for the British Admiralty in Scotland in the field of sonar to detect submarines. Besides, he read books on neurophysiology and neuropsychology. During this time he also held talks to the British Association of Scientific Workers, which later became the basis for his fundamental book Body and mature behavior, which appeared in 1949 as. In the same year he rejected the establishment of a separate institute in London with funds from private donors. He chose instead to return to Palestine to assist in the development of the newly established State of Israel. He worked initially in a research institute of the Defense Ministry, in 1952, he devoted himself, however, quite working out his own method and founded his own Feldenkrais Institute.

In developing his method Feldenkrais was influenced by, among other things:

  • Gustav Theodor Fechner
  • Frederick Matthias Alexander
  • Gerda Alexander
  • Georges I. Gurdjieff
  • Émile Coué
  • Milton H. Erickson
  • William Bates
  • Heinrich Jacoby and
  • Kanō Jigorō.

Feldenkrais himself had also been judo teacher for twenty years in particular, and had written several books about it. In 1936 he received his black belt as the first Europeans. He took lessons with Heinrich Jacoby, who wrote about him:

From the late 1960s he trained the first generation of Feldenkrais. Until his death in 1984, he taught in Tel Aviv and was increasingly invited to France, England and the U.S. to introduce his method. The second and third generation of Feldenkrais he made in training in the U.S. from San Francisco 1975-1978 and at Hampshire College in Amherst, 1980-1983. Among his most famous students included, among others, David Ben- Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, Yehudi Menuhin and Peter Brook.Ein more important part of his work with private students was the support of disabled children.

Feldenkrais Method

Moshé Feldenkrais was assumed that a person acts according to the image he has of himself. He says that this image ("self image" ) partly inherited, partly instilled and a third part comes through self-education about. If someone feels the need to change their behavior, for example in order to achieve greater athletic or artistic accomplishments, or even to change pain-producing or otherwise harmful behavior patterns and to find alternative patterns of action, then this must be changed by yourself or be expanded.

In order to achieve this, Moshe Feldenkrais developed an educational concept that can be taught in two different ways: verbally ( " Awareness Through Movement " ) and non-verbal (functional integration). He developed an extensive collection of lessons (over 1000 ), which can be verbally announced a person or a group. This is not about physical exercises in the traditional sense, but to movement instructions that invite you to try out and learn. Even with the non-verbal individual sessions there is a large collection of lessons, which are always adapted to the needs of the client.

The aim is to change the elements movement, sensation, feeling, and thinking on the moving member and to develop.


  • Higher Judo. Groundwork ( Katame -waza ). Frederick Warne & Co., London, New York, 1953.
  • Awareness through movement. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1968, ISBN 3-518-36929-6.
  • Adventure in the jungle of the brain. The case of Doris. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1981, ISBN 3-518-37163-0.
  • The discovery of the obvious. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-518-37940-2.
  • The Feldenkrais Method in action. A holistic theory of motion. 7th edition. Junfermann, Paderborn 2006, ISBN 978-3-87387-019-2.
  • The Potent Self. Instructions for spontaneity. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-518-38457-0.
  • The road to mature self. Phenomena of human behavior. 2nd edition. Junfermann, Paderborn 2002, ISBN 978-3-87387-126-7.