Tancha McKnight, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner Welcomes You!

Your source for the Feldenkrais Method® and Movement Intelligence® in the Walnut Creek/Lafayette/Danville/San Ramon area.

I provide individual sessions and group classes in The Feldenkrais Method of Movement Reeducation and Movement Intelligenceas created by Ruthy Alon, PhD. I assist you recovering lost movement, to reduce and even remove painful habits of movement while teaching you how to sense yourself and move with greater ease.

The Feldenkrais Method transforms people’s lives in deep and profound ways.

  • Experience greater ease, mobility and enjoyment in everyday movements
  • Improve overall coordination
  • Improve posture and breath
  • Reduce stress and pain
  • Improve performance in athletics, music, dance, theater, creativity
  • Experience and maintain alternatives to habitual actions
  • Improve self-image
  • Experience new levels of fitness, vitality and effectiveness
  • Maximize awareness, aliveness and presence in each moment

Read about classes and check announcements for the latest class schedule and other information!

The Feldenkrais Method®

img_5900The most basic element of the Feldenkrais Method is faith — faith in our human ability to learn, and to improve our situation through learning. We use movement as the medium for learning, movements that are designed to clear up symptoms and to enhance overall functioning. The benefits of Feldenkrais include improvement of our comfort and skill in movement, but they also extend into areas of our emotional and psychological life. Moshé Feldenkrais viewed the human potential as unlimited and barely tapped. The way to tap it is simple, through learning. We are built for learning. We learn (usually) to look where we want, to reach for what we want, to crawl, sit, stand and then to walk and run. We learn this in response to our own innate human curiosity and pleasure in accomplishment. We learn well enough to satisfy our need at the time. Later in life our situation may change: what we want may change, or the accidents of life may have altered our selves or our environment. How can we learn to cope with the new situation? As adults, we are usually very far from our original childlike pleasure in movement and learning.

The Feldenkrais Method is a way of re-awakening that original pleasure in learning. This kind of learning has a special quality.

When we first learn some new skill, its freshness means that it isn’t automatic. It won’t be our first, instinctive action; our memory may need to be jogged in order to choose it. We may also have to think about the process as we do it, and that thinking may slow us down. But when we have truly learned a new skill, we no longer need to think of each step; it fits together as a whole inner sensation. The advantage of such a skill acquired by awareness is that when it doesn’t work in the real activities of daily life this new habit easily provokes awareness and so helps us to make a fresh and efficient change to meet the new requirements of our environment.

The Man: Moshé Feldenkrais

moshe1Moshé Feldenkrais was born in 1904 to a Jewish family living in the Ukraine. Shortly after the end of the First World War, at the age of fourteen, he emigrated to Palestine, then under the British Mandate. He worked there as a laborer on building sites and as a surveyor until he was able to go to Paris to study at the Sorbonne; first engineering, later physics. At the outset of the Second World War, he was working with Nobel Prize-winner Frederic Joliot-Curie. He was also an avid athlete. While he was in Paris he became intensely involved in Judo; he was one of the founders of the Judo Club of France. His sports interests contributed another vital element to his development of his method. Playing soccer as a young man, he damaged he damaged one of his knees. This was a manageable irritation until several years later when he tore ligaments in the other knee as well. At that time surgery didn’t offer a very promising solution. This pushed him into the investigation that eventually led him to abandon his career in physics in favor of a much less clear path. Perhaps Feldenkrais was made bolder by his contact, through Judo, with a culturally different sense of what might be possible. He certainly achieved an astonishing synthesis of western physics and eastern martial arts. His ideas were cultivated by studies with other movement pioneers of that time (notably Alexander). Moshé’s wife was a pediatrician, and exposed him to the developmental movement patterns of children and the work of Piaget on the developmental patterns of learning itself.

Returning to Tel Aviv in the 1950’s, Feldenkrais left physics and began teaching what he had learned about movement. He worked with people in all walks of life, and his home was increasingly a point of pilgrimage for people from across Europe who looked to him for help with everything from recovery from stroke or other injury, to management of MS or cerebral palsy. He began training students to be practitioners themselves, first in Israel and then in the United States. Although he died in 1984, such training continues in dozens of countries, on almost every continent; there are currently about four thousand practitioners of the Method that bears Moshé’s name.

The Feldenkrais Method® is a gentle, powerful way of self- and other-discovery — so gentle you might not at first believe how powerful it is. The Method uses movement to awaken more of the dormant potential of the brain and to heighten awareness, grace, all-around competence, sensitivity, and pleasure. Many dancers, actors (Rene Russo,) athletes, and musicians (Yo-Yo Ma) rely on it for performance enhancement. Physical therapists use it to teach patients new possibilities for easy, integrated movement that often dissolve chronic pain. The idea is that “movement is the first language of the brain,” the primary way we explore the world and discover/develop ourselves from the very beginning. Because our most powerful period of learning and discovery is also our period of greatest dependency and vulnerability, our most fundamental emotions and self-image are woven into our individual movement patterns. If our movement is restricted, inefficient, fear- and habit-bound, or reckless and self-hurting, so are we. When our movement is released, and our awareness of movement refined, so are we. Because our muscular habit patterns are actually held in the brain, which retains astonishing plasticity throughout life and reconizes a good thing, learning and change can happen very fast if you know how to “speak” directly to the brain in its natural, wordless language. That’s what an eccentric genius named Moshé Feldenkrais figured out.

Why Feldenkrais? Here is why the Feldenkrais Method® is for you…

The best reason to do Feldenkrais came from a student:

“It makes everything easier!”

From rolling out of bed in the morning, to turning around to park your car, to facing a difficult task, the Feldenkrais Method® can help you spontaneously organize to move through life with more grace and ease. The Feldenkrais Method helps you to discover capacities and abilities rather than define problems or disabilities.

The Feldenkrais Method can help:

  • People with chronic or acute pain of the back, neck, shoulders, hips, legs or knees
  • People suffering from central nervous system conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke
  • Seniors who wish to retain or regain their ability to move without strain or discomfort
  • Musicians, actors, and artists who want to extend their abilities and enhance their creativity
  • Healthy people who wish to enhance their self-image, increase their ease and range of motion, improve their flexibility and coordination, and rediscover their innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement.

Many have benefited from the Feldenkrais Method.

Successful Students: here are examples of recent successes students have accomplished after work with the Feldenkrais Method:

  • a 42-year-old computer programmer with incipient wrist problems is able to increase his speed on the keyboard after learning how to use his arms and hands more efficiently.
  • a 28-year-old woman goes through her third pregnancy, but the first one without back pain.
  • a 55-year old woman is able to lift her affectionate 2-year-old granddaughter without straining her back.
  • a 40-year old cellist becomes so creative in developing new, less strained positions to play in that she able to extend her musical repetoire.
  • a 9-year-old with learning disabilites can read a full page competently and gains self-confidence in his intelligence.
  • a 19-year-old diver is able to visualize and perform the complex series of movements needed to accomplish an intricate endeavor more proficiently.
  • a 78-year-old man walks a mile daily, free of chronic knee pain he’s had for 30 years.

Celebrities who have enjoyed the benefits of Feldenkrais include:

  • Willie Nelson, singer/song writer
  • Julius Erving, basketball star
  • Rick Acton, PGA golfer
  • Duffy Waldorf, PGA golfer
  • Norman Cousins, journalist/editor
  • Margaret Mead, anthropologist
  • David Ben-Gurion, former Israeli Prime Minister
  • Helen Hayes, actress
  • Whoopi Goldberg, actress
  • Yehudi Menuhin, violinist
  • Yo Yo Ma, cellist

What is a Guild Certified PractitionerSM (GCFP)?

smov2In North America, all Feldenkrais practitioners are certified by the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. All Guild certified practitioners have received at least 800 hours of training, over three or four years, in an accredited Feldenkrais Teachers Training Program. In addition, to maintain certification, practitioners must meet continuing education requirements and adhere to the Guild’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

During training, practitioners learn about the theoretical background of the Feldenkrais Method® and receive hands-on training in the Method. Since the Feldenkrais Method® integrates theory from a variety of scientific fields (including Newtonian mechanics, physics, neurophysiology, biology, movement development, and learning theories), training incorporates aspects of these areas into the sessions. Throughout the training period, practitioners gain a deep understanding of the formation of movement and body function. As they become aware of their own movement, they become astute observers of movement in others and gain the ability to teach others how to enlarge their awareness and movement skills.