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Feldenkrais for Runners--Improve How You Move!

feldenkrais for runners
The Feldenkrais Method is a technique that helps us re-learn how to move with ease and without pain. Running places a tremendous amount of stress on our bodies due to its extremely repetitive movements. Feldenkrais helps runners by helping us develop awareness of how we move. Through this awareness our range of motion increases and we move more efficiently and without pain. 

The appreciation of the benefits of Feldenkrais for runners is steadily increasing. It is an educational method that not only focuses on movement but on learning how movements of the body are all connected. From this holistic perspective, runners can experience relief from muscle pain, improved performance, more efficient breathing and increased vitality.

The Feldenkrais method, created by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, is a unique and revolutionary approach to improving the quality of life. It uses gentle and mindful movements which bring new awareness and possibility into all aspects of your life.

It is different from other practices because it teaches individuals how to help themselves. This new learning focuses on the skeletal structure and on how it works. It looks at how to move using the whole body and how to utilize and develop individual body awareness.

Feldenkrais has helped many experience increased flexibility and range of movement; as well as improved posture, balance and stability. In addition, runners have also experienced improved running performance with increased efficiency, less pain and fewer injuries. 


Feldenkrais for Runners

Awareness of movement is a powerful aspect of practicing the Feldenkrais Method. This knowledge can be extremely beneficial to runners. Running involves the repetition of the same movement over and over. If we are unaware of how we are moving while running, it can have detrimental effects on our bodies and can greatly limit our mobility. This can change immensely when we learn how to run with the whole body,

Feldenkrais practitioners are seeing the positive effects that their modality is having on runners and some are developing programs to meet the needs of runners specifically. The Feldenkrais method helps runners move with minimum effort and maximum comfort as explained in the video below. 

Why do we as humans create so many problems in our bodies? When animals are born, most of them are physically fully functioning within an hour, i.e. standing, walking. They are much more advanced physically than we are.

Humans take much longer to develop our physical abilities. However, our intellectual thought develops much faster and is more advanced than in animals. Could this be the reason why we develop so many physical issues that are unknown to animals; such as, poor posture and flexibility, lack of balance, stiff and achy muscles? We need to get our bodies back to how they were at birth when we were able to move freely--before we developed poor movement habits--and re-learn movement as if for the first time.

Feldenkrais for runners exercises help you become aware of inefficient movements and unnecessary muscular effort while helping you discover more efficient alternatives. After completing a full lesson (usually 45-60 minutes), you will feel a greater sense of your body and what it means to move more effortless and graceful.  

Read about how Feldenkrais for runners lessons helped this marathon runner greatly improve his running. 

A Feldenkrais for Runners Exercise

Try this Feldenkrais for runners exercise to help you get a sense of what Feldenkrais is and how it can help improve your running. This exercise helps develop awareness of the connection between your feet and your hips and awareness of weight distribution between your feet. Feldenkrais is about noticing and developing awareness and requires concentration rather than physical effort. When learning awareness initially, keeping your eyes closed will help you focus on the sensations in your body.

Stand in your bare feet and focus on these three contact points on your feet: ball of big toe, ball of little toe and center of heel. Concentrate on feeling all three contact points on your left foot first. You should feel an even distribution of weight in all three locations. Now, place your focus on your right foot. Again, you should feel an even distribution of weight. Take your time with this and ensure you have a true sense of these areas of your feet before moving on.

Shift your weight back and forth to each foot and visualize how each foot touches the floor. Repeat this until you have a strong visual that you can easily recall. Then take a step with the foot of your choice and notice how and when the whole foot makes contact. Bring your foot back and step again with the same foot. This time notice how your hip moved to bring your foot forward and down until it has made full contact with the floor. Notice the amount of movement that is involved in the process of taking one step.

Now, step with your other foot. Notice how your hip must move to enable the complete movement until the whole foot has touched and your weight is evenly distributed between the three points of contact. Practicing this exercise will help you develop an awareness of the amount of hip movement required in the process of bringing your foot forward as while running. 

On your next run notice your hip movements and the three contact points on your feet. Don't try to change anything. Just notice what your body does. Strangely just giving it notice it often corrects itself of any imbalances. There are other more in-depth Feldenkrais exercises that help develop awareness of the connection between the knees, hips and arms while running. 


Feldenkrais for Runners Resources

Learn how to run with your whole body! Experience Feldenkrais for runners yourself by checking out these Feldenkrais® resources:

  • The Core Action Program for Runners and Triathletes is a program you can download and access immediately to begin running the Feldenkrais® way--with more ease, improved form and less injuries!
  • The Online Running Camp can help you learn to run without pain. It uses the Feldenkrais Method of Movement Education® to help you not only understand what you need to do to run well, but actually feel how to do it. Whether you're a beginning runner or a world-class professional, a parkrun regular or an ultramarathoner, a masters runner or a high-schooler on a cross-country team, you'll feel your running significantly improve.

More Feldenkrais® resources:

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