Feldenkrais: The Women Pioneers

This morning, I was in the process of reading a book by Dr. Daniel Amen called, Unleash the Power of the Female Brain: Supercharging Yours for Better Health, Energy, Mood, Focus, and Sex. I can only recommend this book if you have not bought other books by Dr. Amen as it is a bit of a rehash of his other stuff (though still very useful). The book got me thinking about women and their role in the development and spread of the work of Moshe Feldenkrais.

Feldenkrais: The Women Pioneers

Has anyone else noticed that how many female Feldenkrais practitioners have come out with new forms of getting Feldenkrais into the hands of people? Harriet Goslings came out with Cortical Field Reeducation after attending Dr. Feldenkrais's training at Amherst. Anat Baniel is arguably the best-known Feldenkrais trainer in the world with her various books and trainings geared toward working with children and her Anat Baniel Method. Ruthy Alon developed Bones For Life. Chava Shelhav created Child’Space. Mia Segal and Leora Gaster have been streamlining and improving the training process for more than 30 years with their MBS Academy. I am sure that there are others whom I have missed. (Perhaps you can leave a comment below and tell me who else?)

The number of woman practitioners who are doing cool things Feldenkraisian ideas reminds of the Dalai Lama's recent comment: “The world will be saved by the western woman.” Perhaps he is right.

Of course, I am being a little unfair to the men who are working with Feldenkrais principles. There are many out there. And as a percentage there are more women than men who take Feldenkrais trainings, so one would expect that more women would strike out on their own. Even so, I do wonder. The main organizations that arose after Moshe's death were all hierarchically organized male-dominated organizations. They have done a good job keeping training's small, expensive, and largely in control of Moshe's male students. One would have a hard time arguing that either the marketing or format of Feldenkrais trainings has evolved since Feldenkrais died in 1984. Perhaps there is something about women and their use of the Feldenkrais Method that will get it into the hands of more people.

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