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Who Was Moshe Feldenkrais?

About Moshe Feldenkrais


Moshe Feldenkrais was a Ukranian-born physicist, mechanical and electrical engineer, judo expert and educator. At the age of 14, he emigrated to Palestine. He worked as a laborer and supported himself through high school by tutoring. He later moved to Paris to study for a doctorate at the Sorbonne and assisted Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie in their research lab. While in Paris, he met Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo and became one of Europe’s first blackbelts. 


Dr. Feldenkrais working with basketball legend, Julius Erving

Feldenkrais had suffered a serious knee injury from participating in sports and Judo but at that time, there were no viable surgical options to repair it. Out of necessity, he found a way to teach himself to find support from his injured leg. He realized that if he could re-educate himself, reduce his pain and move freely again, then he could do the same for others who might be experiencing limitations or simply wished to improve their abilities.


Using his knowledge of developmental movement, anatomy, physics, body mechanics, and judo, Dr. Feldenkrais began working with individuals in the hands-on part of his work called Functional Integration®. In order to bring his Method to more people, he developed a group class format known as Awareness Through Movement®. The hundreds of Awareness Through Movement lessons he developed over decades are an astonishing and inspiring legacy of his integrated knowledge, keen observation and endless creativity. 

Feldenkrais trained his first group of practitioners in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1968. He was invited to visit the United States in 1971 and in 1975, he began a training group in San Francisco. His final training began in 1980 in Amherst, Massachusetts, and he died in 1984.


Moshe had a beautiful, idealistic vision for the future of his work. His generosity in offering others the tools to pursue lifelong learning and a path towards improving our lives is deeply moving. His intention for us to learn to be kinder to ourselves and for the ripples of that kindness to radiate outward to create a kinder, more aware and skillful world is being carried on his students and their students. His message seems more urgent and important than ever today!


While in his 60's, David Ben-Gurion, former Prime Minister of Israel, learned to stand on his head from Dr. Feldenkrais.

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