The Self-Image

Posted November 18, 2014

by Belinda He


In Moshe Feldenkrais’ book written specifically about the Feldenkrais Method, ‘Awareness Through Movement’, the preface begins with the sentence “We act in accordance with our self-image.” Chapter 1 of the book, entitled ‘The Self-Image’, goes on to explain in further detail what he meant by that very first statement. Here are some subtitles of the subsections in this chapter that I’ve found to be enlightening, even when read out of context.

– Changes become fixed as habits
– Every new function changes the image
– Our self-image is smaller than our potential capacity
– The achievement of immediate objectives has a negative aspect
– Education is largely tied to prevailing circumstances
– Minimum development of the individual satisfies the needs of society
– The vicious circle of incomplete development and satisfaction with achievement
– Physiological processes can hamper development
– Man judges himself in accordance with his value in society
– Judging a child by his achievements robs him of spontaneity
– Self-improvement is linked to recognition of the value of the self
– Action becomes the main arm in furthering self-improvement
– It is difficult to change an earlier pattern of action
– There is no awareness of many parts of the body
– A complete self-image is a rare and ideal state
– The average approximation is far from the best that can be achieved
– Individuals act in accordance with their subjective image
– Systematic correction of the image is more useful than correction of single actions

Following from this last subtitle, Dr Feldenkrais ends this chapter thus:

“From what has been said about the self-image, it emerges that systematic correction of the image will be a quicker and more efficient approach than the correction of single actions and errors in modes of behavior, the incidence of which increases as we come to deal with smaller errors. The establishment of an initial more or less complete, although approximate, image will make it possible to improve the general dynamics instead of dealing with individual actions piecemeal. This improvement may be likened to correcting playing on an instrument that is not properly tuned. Improving the general dynamics of the image becomes the equivalent of tuning the piano itself, as it is much easier to play correctly on an instrument that is in tune than on one that is not.”

Due to copyright reasons, I am unable to reproduce this chapter, but anyone interested in hearing from the horse’s mouth what the Feldenkrais Method, especially the group format, Awareness Through Movement, is, should read this book. It is published by HarperSanFrancisco, and can be found HERE. You can also find it on Amazon and other online book retailers.

As always, I am happy to answer questions, and to hear from you. Please write to if you’d like to get in touch with me.

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