Olivia Cheever


“Feldenkrais is an integrative movement model that carries people into daily life and holds changes. Another way to say ‘integrative’ is ‘mind/body.’ It’s a whole perspective, not a two-dimensional one. There’s not always a language to describe this, but when you work this way, people get better faster.” —Elizabeth Valentine, integrative medicine colleague

Our earliest sensory-motor intelligence is often devalued in favor of the sophisticated intellectual or cognitive abilities that develop later. But many of my students come complaining they need to get out of the head. Moshe Feldenkrais bridged both paradigms. His extensive scientific backup indicated not only how we can learn in different parts of the brain but also that these alternative ways of learning we’ve been talking about can be powerful and accessible lifelong. Feldenkrais Method is “relational” on many levels:

The internal map
The sensations experienced doing small, deliberate movements bring back into awareness lost areas of the internal landscape, where habits have numbed out feeling or old emotions have gotten locked up. It takes time to create this continuity, so that the brain fires differently and allows the neuromuscular system to change. Patience is easier because the learning process is designed to be pleasurable. One of my students calls it “enormously funny” just to feel elastic, flopping her knees back and forth on the floor.

>> The environment
Each body scan also identifies you in space. Noticing changes in connection to the surface that is holding your weight — a chair, a bed, the ground — indicates how you are relating to gravity, giving new meaning to the term “being grounded.” In Functional Integration, letting the touch of the Feldenkrais practitioner guide your movements changes your relationship to the human environment. You find these kinds of consciousness quietly filtering into daily life, helping you keep your balance if you miss a step or even just notice where you place your keys.

>> Integrative medicine
The Feldenkrais approach coordinates well with health professions similarly committed to helping reclaim a sense of wholeness and wellbeing. Many of my students are referred by chiropractors concerned about repeat injuries. At the Mind/Body department of Longy School of Music in Cambridge, we incorporate Feldenkrais Method, Alexander Technique, and Body Mapping, as well as training in mental skills for handling performance anxiety. Including Bones For Life, with academic credit, in Lesley University’s Institute for Body, Mind and Spirituality is helping health professionals dialogue about how to integrate Mind/Body theory and methods into their professional practices.

>> Artistic expression
My musician students report fewer barriers between themselves and their instruments. When performing is physically easier, musical ideas flow more freely and beauty of tone is an automatic byproduct. Feldenkrais has become such a popular choice for musicians that I’ve heard of orchestras writing classes into their labor contracts.




Student Stories






Feldenkrais and Feldenkrais Method are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America.
Bones For Life is a registered service mark of Ruthy Alon, its originator.

Serving the Boston, MA area with classes in Westwood.
Private coaching also in Needham Heights, MA.
Call 617-413-5680, or email ocheever@comcast.net.

© Copyright 2017 Olivia Cheever. All rights reserved.