What is the Feldenkrais Method®?

Feldenkrais® is a method of somatic education, which uses movement as a tool for learning new ways of functioning and being in the world. Whether recovering from injury, seeking greater mobility, improving motor development, striving for athletic or artistic prowess, or developing a more embodied approach to your life, the Feldenkrais Method® teaches you how to move through your life with greater ease and enjoyment. Individual hands-on sessions and group classes focus on learning through experiencing and doing, and on moving as a means to develop self-influence.

Mainstream medical models tend to be reductionistic and linear in their approach to bodies and how they try to correct or fix body parts. With the Feldenkrais Method, instead of looking primarily at what body parts hurt and trying to fix them, Feldenkrais® practitioners expand their focus to how you move, how you create movement patterns that contribute to your circumstance, and how to help you influence these. This shift of perspective — from dealing with problems as things we need to fix, to investigating challenging dynamics in which we can participate and influence — helps me as your Feldenkrais practitioner to engage with you in your unique way of functioning and gives us, both you and me, the ability to actively and fundamentally influence how you move and to form new ways of functioning.

“To make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant.”
—Moshe Feldenkrais

The Feldenkrais Method is taught through two modalities. Each supports and supplements the other.

Functional Integration®

Individual Sessions are uniquely tailored to each specific situation. Many practitioners call the interactions “lessons”, for the emphasis is on learning—learning new ways of functioning and being in the world. Through hands-on and verbal directions, I will guide you to sense and to learn how you can organize your moving more effectively.

Awareness Through Movement®

Awareness Through Movement classes consist of verbally directed movement sequences which guide you to discover new ways of moving, sensing and feeling. Classes emphasize how you use various aspects of yourself (such as your shoulders, back, neck, eyes, breathing) in relation to your whole self within the context of how you function in your world.

Why Feldenkrais®?

Because it makes sense!

With the Feldenkrais Method®, you develop a clearer sense of yourself—of how you can move with greater ease through your life.

Many people seek out the Feldenkrais Method for relief from aches and pains such as back, neck, shoulder or hip pain. Some discover the Feldenkrais Method through their desire to move more efficiently and gracefully. Others pursue the Feldenkrais Method to enhance their sense of themselves. The Feldenkrais Method embraces all these needs, desires and interests.

Here are examples of some clients from 5 months to 103 years old with diverse needs and interests who have benefited from working with Sonja:

  • Persons with neurological difficulties or musculoskeletal concerns
    • Acute injuries— car accidents (whiplash), falls
    • Learning differences or developmental concerns
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Chronic conditions, repetitive stress, accumulative strains
    • Scoliosis
    • TMJ
    • Strokes
    • Pre- or Post-operative rehabilitation: knee, hip, back, shoulder, open heart surgery
  • Performing artists
    • musicians
    • dancers
    • actors
  • Athletes
    • skiers
    • tennis players
    • body builders
    • runners
    • golfers
    • equestrians
  • Martial artists
    • Aikido
    • Tai Chi
    • Karate

Feldenkrais Blog Posts

What’s Functional Integration Good for?

I wrote this as a response to a post that Cynthia Allen wrote on Facebook a while back, asking folks what the Feldenkrais Method® helped them do better in their…

Deepen, Integrate, Assimilate — Tahoe Feldenkrais Retreat 2020

Come join us for a weekend full of Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement® in which we will explore how Moshe’s components of self-image — sensing, feeling, thinking, and acting — intertwine…

“You Can’t Get There From Not Here” — R. Moon Sensei

In life and learning it is easy to focus on external goals that we wish to achieve. As educators, teachers often “chunk it down” for their students with subgoals to…

Tahoe Retreat — Friday, May 18 – Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gentle Strength: Creating Inner Ease and Forming a Kind Path Forward in the Face of Challenge Nature is powerful. This workshop will delve into how you approach and relate to…

What Kind of Shape do You Make When You’re Mad? A Body-based Approach to Social-Emotional Learning — Thursday, March 22nd 6 – 7:30pm at TBS

This workshop introduces a somatic approach to helping children recognize and influence their attitudes, emotions, and behavior — not just when they are mad, but whatever body shape they make.

The presentation will include illustrations and visual teaching aids interspersed with movement explorations and easy-to-do practices to facilitate experiential learning and understanding. If you are part of EBISA and want to come, please sign up through this link.  If you are not part of EBISA and want to attend, please contact me directly. The workshop will be held at The Berkeley School, 1310 University Ave in Berkeley. Pre-registration required.

Shaping Expression, Influencing Experience

Inside each of us, our heart beats, chest and lungs breathe, belly digests, fluids flow, our brain and all our other organs pulse — even our tissues and cells pulse….

Midline Madness

“Starting at the top of your head let’s draw an imaginary line down the middle of you — in the middle of you from front to back and side to…

Feldenkrais® in the New York Times

Like many of my Feldenkrais clients, I came to the Feldenkrais Method® because of a painful injury. Yet, long after my shoulder pain had disappeared, I kept coming back for more because not only did I feel better and could move with greater ease, my sense of myself was changing. I was learning about my body, from my body, and through my body.

Tipping the Mainstream Toward the Feldenkrais Method®

Who could have anticipated that the Feldenkrais® Conference 2016 in Asheville, North Carolina this summer, July 7th – 10th, would become an unexpected opportunity to support and advocate for the tipping…

How do you spell Feldenkrais? F-E-L-D-E-N-K-R-A-I-S

As part of Scripps National Spelling Bee, one of the two finalist on the final round had to spell an obscure word which was not commonly known and could be tricky…

2016 Feldenkrais Northern California Regional Meeting

Exploring the Power of Differentiation: Empowering Ourselves and Others With Sonja H. Sutherland Note: This event is only open to Feldenkrais Practitioners. Differentiation is an important aspect of the Feldenkrais Method….

Rhythms of Uprightness Workshop — May 21 – 22, 2016

We have rhythm in how we walk, in how we breathe and speak, in how blood moves through our arteries, in how we cycle between rest and activity. How do we shape our internal polyrhythms in response to the constant pull of gravity? How do we pace ourselves? What joy can we cultivate as we stand and walk on two feet?

the-learning-curve-workshop.logoThis workshop will explore how we developed and continue to develop our ability to move upright through space. Originally designed for somatic practitioners wanting to learni from scoliosis, the workshop is now open to anyone willing to explore spinal curvature in action with patience, compassion and humor.

Me within the Group

The children share and the whole group tries out their movement inventions. Everyone creates their own versions of their friends’ way of moving. A fundamental part of every movement class is creating a group structure that leaves room for each child’s needs, interests and creative participation while maintaining the integrity of the whole group.

Our Bodies, Our Source workshop

Our bodies are not just a resource or a tool for us to use, our bodies are our very source and foundation for personal growth, learning and self-expression.

The Power of Differentiation

I recently wrote an article which was published in the Feldenkrais Journal entitled “The Power of Differentiation”. This article shares my story about working together with a client to help her to…

Our Feldenkrais Practitioner Group Rocks!

The Feldenkrais Guild of North America just published an article about our Feldenkrais Practitioner® study group in Berkeley which has been meeting weekly for over 10 years. We practitioners took turns teaching...

The Dance of Our Lives

Check out this amazing documentary trailer. This collaborative work is a beautiful illustration of how we are open-ended, dynamic, human becomings (versus beings).  We, our bodies, are living, pulsing behavior…

Our Bodies, Our Source

Our bodies are not just a resource we can use as a tool, our bodies are our very source for healing, growing, and learning. I was recently reading a private…

Hats off to you, Oliver Sacks

An amazing article in the New York Times entitled: “My Own Life: Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer” . I heard Oliver Sacks speak while I was in my…

Beyond Body Mechanics, Dynamic Human Learning

In Daniel Zwerdling’s recent NPR article entitled “Even ‘Proper’ Technique Exposes Nurses’ Spines To Dangerous Forces”, William Marras, the director of the Spine Research Institute at The Ohio State University…

Article about Feldenkrais® in the Huffington Post

I just saw a nice article on Feldenkrais in the Huffington Post.

Click here to take a look:  Feldenkrais: Everything You ‘Know’ About Healing May Be Dead Wrong>

Embodied Learning

Creative Learning Through Movement With Sonja and her drum as their guide, the children slither and slide; they crawl, jump, twirl, skip, hop, and fly through the air, and with…

Making Connections

We make connections in our lives in many ways — culturally, socially, personally — through social networking, community events, family ties, personal and intimate relationships.

In this workshop we will apply the perspective and approach of Formative Psychology® to Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement® lessons, exploring and deepening how we make connections within ourselves and with others.

Developing Dimensions of Self-Influence

We will work at the juncture where nature meets nurture, where instinct meets self-influence, where we can grow a satisfying, sustainable, personal way of being in the world. In this…

Motion, Memory & Meaning: Generating Experience from Movement

We are continuously in motion, either moving through the environment around us, or as the environment of our bodily self. How we make experience, emotion and meaning from these patterns…

Deepening Our Somatic Dialogue Workshop

I am looking forward to teaching this workshop on Sunday, October 27th.

As many of you know, my longtime teacher Stanley Keleman, founder of Formative Psychology, gave the keynote address at the Feldenkrais Conference this year. Following this, I taught a series of experiential morning classes during which we explored some fundamental ways in which his Formative principles and approach relate to the Feldenkrais Method®.

Feldenkrais Conference 2013

I will be teaching at the Feldenkrais Conference in San Francisco 2013 Experience How Stanley Keleman’s Formative Perspective Relates to the Feldenkrais Method –  with Sonja H. Sutherland This morning…

The Feldenkrais Method® Meets Formative Psychology®

Stanley Keleman, the founder of Formative Psychology, will give the keynote address at the upcoming Feldenkrais Method Conference August 29, 2013 – San Francisco

Stanley Keleman’s Formative Perspective & its Relevance to Feldenkrais Practitioners®

There are both strong similarities and significant differences between Keleman’s Formative Psychology® and the Feldenkrais Method of somatic education. This is what provides a rich opportunity for learning. Both are grounded in science with a commitment to an educational approach toward human growth and development. Feldenkrais was deeply informed by physics; Keleman asserts that “Psychology is Biology.”

“The Art and Practice of Being Oneself” Workshop

How do we generate and perpetuate our self-identity? Through somatic practices deeply informed by Formative Psychology, the Feldenkrais Method, and Aikido, we will investigate how we shape and influence our aliveness, and how this forms our sense of personal identity.

More Journeys Abroad in Feldenkrais® and Formative Psychology® — 2013

Last April, I took another wonderful trip to Europe full of Feldenkrais® and Formative Psychology®. This was the third year in a row that I have traveled to Germany to…

Dolphin Adventure

Powerful, Intimate Encounters   In March 2013, I had the remarkable opportunity to join two highly skilled somatic practitioners, Cathy Adachi and Rose Stamm, to give multi-hands-on sessions in the…

Embodying Neuroscience: Symposium & Conference — Sept 2012

I’ll be presenting a daylong workshop entitled “Deepening Our Somatic Dialogue: Shaping Actions into Behavior” at the Feldenkrais Conference EMBODYING NEUROSCIENCE in San Francisco this September.

“Actions & Emotions” Article Published by Feldenkrais Newsletter

I wrote this article to share my Feldenkrais journey with the public, and as a brief introduction to how my studies and work with Stanley Keleman and his formative principles and approach relate to and influence my Feldenkrais practice.

Rhythms of Uprightness : Learning Curve Workshops — Sept 2012

There is rhythm in how we walk, in how we breathe and speak, in how our hearts pump blood through our arteries, in how we cycle between rest and activity. How does this internal polyrhythm interact with the constant pull of gravity? How do we organize ourselves to enjoy being upright? How do we pace ourselves?

Coming Home: Generating a Personal Dimension — Tahoe Somatic Retreat – Oct 2012

“Coming Home: Generating a Personal Dimension”
Home is often a place we come back to for food, shelter and rest. How are we home in our bodies? How do we nourish, comfort, and rest in ourselves? Come join us in our homecoming…Friday October 26th – Sunday October 28th, 2012…with Peter Wright and Sonja Sutherland

Journeys Abroad in Feldenkrais® and Formative Psychology® 2012

Last  April,  I took a wonderful trip to Europe full of Feldenkrais and Formative Psychology. Feldenkrais Workshop in Bethel, Germany I began my adventures in Bethel bei Bielefeld, a community…

Actions & Emotions Workshop — July 2012

We each create a habitual and unique movement signature that is recognizable by how we walk, talk and gesture. We also create our own personal way of assembling the shapes of our emotions and attitudes. Drawing from the Feldenkrais Method® and Stanley Keleman’s formative approach to Somatic Psychology, we will engage in guided explorations that deepen, inform and empower us to influence how we move through our lives. Sunday, July 29th 1 -4pm at the Chi Nei Tsang Institute in Berkeley.

The Spirals of Life and Living: Tahoe Somatic Retreat — May 2012

The Spirals of Life and Living Engaging in a Personal Journey through Dimensions of Moving Friday, May 18 – Sunday May 20, 2012  We live spirals — the spiraling of…

The Dance of Human Evolution: Tahoe Somatic Retreat – Oct. 2011

The Dance of Human Evolution Joining the Voluntary and Involuntary in the Pulse of Life Friday, October 14 – Sunday October 16, 2011 https://learninginaction.org/wp-content/uploads/Tahoe-Somatic-Dialogues-October-2011-v.2.pdf   All of life pulses, around…

The Ocean in Me

Standing on the shore, caressing the sand with my toes and listening with eyes closed, to the sound of the sea. The rhythm of my breathing begins to shift, to…

Creating a Rich and Satisfying Life — Somatic Workshop Jan 2011

Creating a Rich and Satisfying Life: Growing Layers to Form a Personal Identity Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 1pm – 5pm in Oakland with Peter Wright* and Sonja Sutherland Great athletes…

Chi Nei Tsang meets Feldenkrais — Feb 2011

“It Takes Guts to Breathe” — Free your Breathing for Stronger Metabolism & Better Alignment Sunday, February 20th, 2011 — 10am – 6pm in Oakland with Gilles Marin* and Sonja…

On the Shore of Our Inner Sea

Transitions and Transformations — in Evolution and in our Personal Lives Saturday, March 19, 2011 in Oakland  10 am – 5 pm With Erik Bendix* and Sonja Sutherland Transitions are…

Fulfilling our Potential: Making & Managing Waves to Form a Personal World – Tahoe Somatic Retreats

Fulfilling our Potential Making and Managing Waves to Form a Personal World Friday, May 20th – Sunday, May 22nd 2011 “To impede, support, amplify or soften our waves, to participate…

Living & Working with Scoliosis — 2010

The Learning Curve: Living & Working with Scoliosis Friday, July 23rd – Sunday, July 25th 2010 Exploring the relationship between our skeletal and visceral support, the dynamic interplay of form…

Contact & Pressure: Exploring the Dynamic of Personal and Interpersonal Relationships — Tahoe Somatic Retreats – October 2010

Contact & Pressure: Exploring the Dynamic of Personal and Interpersonal Relationships Friday, October 22nd – Sunday, October 24th 2010 “Pressure is the animate voice of our existence saying back to…

Sonja Sutherland – A Martial Artist Making a Difference

Sonja was recently featured in an article, Sonja Sutherland – A Martial Artist Making a Difference, in the SF Examiner which in turn was noted on the front page of…

Chi Nei Tsang & Feldenkrais

Breathing Deeply, Opening Fully Sunday, August 1st  2010 — 9:30 am-6:30 pm in Oakland A Powerful Meeting of Modalities Gilles Marin* and I will co-lead this powerful weekend of Awareness through…

Center, Gravity, Center or Gravity: Tahoe Somatic Retreats – May 2010

Center, Gravity, Center of Gravity: Aligning with Universal Principles, Forming a Personal World Friday, May 21st – Sunday, May 23rd 2010 “As the moon’s gravity affects the ocean’s waves, so…

“Creative Learning Through Movement with Children” published by Feldenkrais Guild

Sonja’s article, Creative Learning Through Movement with Children was published by the Feldenkrais Educational Foundation of N.A. http://www.feldenkrais.com/article_content.asp?edition=1&section=9&article=17

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