Training Format & Curriculum

Feldenkrais Training Program Format

The following sections will explain the teaching and learning approaches which will be utilized in the training program. These include Awareness Through Movement lessons, Functional Integration lessons, small group work, discussions, lectures, supervision, assigned readings and study groups.

  • Awareness Through Movement® (ATM): Throughout the training, you will experience an extraordinary variety of lessons, including; simple yet powerful lessons, intricate lessons with an extended and interwoven structure, and lessons for specific problems or groups of people. The core lessons will be drawn from the professional training programs that Dr. Feldenkrais conducted and from classes he taught in Israel. As Awareness Through Movement is a ‘living form’, you will also enjoy new lessons created by David Zemach-Bersin and other faculty. We emphasize ATM for personal growth and development throughout the entire program.
  • Functional Integration® (FI): As part of your training program experience, you will receive three to four private Functional Integration lessons each year from members of the faculty or invited Feldenkrais Practitioners. If you wish, you will be able to arrange for supplemental lessons. You will also have the opportunity to observe lessons given during class, lessons given before and after class, and videotapes of Moshe Feldenkrais and others giving lessons to adults and children with various physical challenges. We begin teaching basic touch and contact skills from the beginning of the program, emphasizing the development of sensing abilities and ‘seeing with the hands’. Throughout the program you will refine your tactile and kinesthetic acuity, gradually developing your skills by practicing with one another and in supervised situations. By the end of the program, you will have an understanding of the structure and syntax of FI, so that you can create FI lessons to help others.
  • Small Groups: We sometimes work in small groups to foster your learning from the training staff in an intimate and personalized context and to facilitate the process of learning in collaboration with your fellow students. We are committed to creating a constructive atmosphere, where all students can speak and be heard. By drawing on the different skills and backgrounds that each participant brings, the training will be a rich place for cooperative learning.
  • Lectures and Class Discussions: Trainers, Assistant Trainers, and guest lecturers will discuss the background of The Feldenkrais Method and how current areas of knowledge relate to the method. You will learn about how Moshe Feldenkrais developed the method and about the historic, philosophical, and scientific basis of his thinking and work. We will bridge the gap between reading materials and your class experiences, make connections between ideas and devise ways to put those connections into action.
  • Guest Lecturers: To help you understand how The Feldenkrais Method relates to prevailing ideas, the curriculum may include talks by teachers or guest lecturers in the areas of:
    • Anatomy & Kinesiology
    • Infant Motor Development
    • Dynamic Systems Theory
    • Neurobiology
    • Learning Theory
    • Embodied Cognition
    • Communication Skills
    • Dance & Martial Arts
    • Movement Analysis
  • Study Groups & Assignments: The training is designed to facilitate your continuous learning. To deepen your understanding of The Feldenkrais Method you will be asked to read selected texts. We will facilitate the formation of local and non-local study groups for between-session learning and support. While not required, these groups can be an important part of the learning process, and a rich, dynamic part of the training.


The Curriculum

Our Feldenkrais Method Training Programs meet for 800 hours, over 160 days for a period of 3 1/2 years. The curriculum is divided into four separate years.

  • The First Year: The first year of the training program will immerse you in all aspects of The Feldenkrais Method. Daily ATM lessons, at least three private FI lessons, lectures, demonstrations, theoretical discussions, and hands-on work with other students will give you a well-rounded foundation for personal learning, growth, and understanding. Fundamental ideas from learning theory, physics, kinesiology, motor development, anatomy, and neurophysiology will be introduced in the context of different learning activities. You will begin to develop your own sensory acuity and the initial sensing, self-organization and observation skills required in Functional Integration.
  • The Second Year: The second year will address in depth the structure and function of both ATM and FI lessons. For example, you will learn how to analyze the structure and logic of different lessons and how to distinguish the essential elements of a lesson. At the end of the second year, most students will be authorized to teach ATM classes to the public, if they wish to. To prepare you for teaching ATM lessons, the implicit structure and pattern of lessons will be made evident.  All aspects of teaching ATM will be covered and you will have opportunities to practice under supportive supervision.  While learning on ourselves, you will begin to recognize fundamental functional configurations and learn how to incorporate these observations into FI, and FI practice will be used to help give you an inner understanding of ATM lessons. As your embodied experience deepens, your personal growth and development will continue.
  • The Third Year: In the third year, your self-growth will still be a focus, but you will now further develop the technical skills, touch, sensory acuity and understanding required to give Functional Integration lessons. Through the cross-fertilization of FI and ATM, your depth of understanding and skill will increase. You will be able to watch FI lessons given to clients with a broad range of physical problems and begin to develop a sense for the creative elements involved.  The underlying dynamics common to both FI and ATM will constantly be reinforced.  We will explore the application of Functional Integration to special groups such as: children with motor development issues, musicians, athletes, adults with neurological problems or chronic pain. You will learn FI strategies to interrupt habitual muscular patterns, take over the work of the muscles, and elicit basic functional and developmental patterns.
  • The Fourth Year: The fourth year continues all the themes presented in the previous years. You will develop greater confidence with all aspects of The Feldenkrais Method and find all the pieces coming together. You will learn how to perceive and analyze individual movement patterns, understand the dynamics of learning, construct meaningful learning situations for others, and develop FI lessons in various situations such as sitting, standing, walking, kneeling, lying, etc. As you continue to learn and your understanding of function, movement development and learning deepens, your ability to help people with difficulties will increase.  In supportive, supervised situations, you will work with clients with varying degrees of difficulties from outside the training. We will discuss how to coordinate and begin a professional practice as a Feldenkrais practitioner and address ethical issues. The ATM themes in the fourth year will be very rich and will give you a lasting grasp on the power, beauty and personal satisfaction possible through The Feldenkrais Method.

Missed Time and Review Sessions

Because the program is weekend oriented, occasional segments may fall on religious or national holidays. We understand that students may miss some days each year. We provide extensive opportunities for making up missed days and you may make-up a limited number of days by simply listening to audio-tapes of the missed days. We provide approximately 200 extra hours of make-up and review sessions for each of our programs. If you miss time, these sessions allow you to make-up that time. In addition, you will have easy and inexpensive access to our other training programs on the East and West Coasts. By arrangement, you may attend them to further your studies or make-up missed time. After graduation, you are welcome to further your experience by attending any of our other training programs.

Interested? Email David at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

David Zemach-Bersin is a superb teacher, devoted to excellence. He creates a training environment which facilitates growth and learning in an enjoyable way. I feel so lucky to have been his student.
- Sally Northcutt, Pianist

Interviews with David Zemach-Bersin:

About the Training Program Process
Backstage Magazine Interview
David Zemach-Bersin Article from Be Well Baltimore

Sample a Class: