Moshe Feldenkrais

The Potent Self: A Study of Spontaneity and Compulsion

Notify me when this product is available:


By Moshe Feldenkrais
This is a most psychological of all Feldenkrais's writings as he delves deeply into the relationship between faulty posture, pain, and the underlying emotional mechanisms that lead to compulsive and dependent human behavior. He shares remarkable insights into resistance, motivation, habit formation, and the place of sex in full human potential. The Potent Self offers Feldenkrais's vision of how to achieve physical and mental wellness through the development of authentic maturity.

This edition includes and extensive Forward by Mark Reese, a longtime student of Feldenkrais's, in which Reese discusses many of the important ideas in the book and places them in the context of Feldenkrais's life and the intellectual and historical milieu of his time.

What People Are Saying
"The heritage of Moshe Feldenkrais proves its mettle year by year, as his original vision takes root among the thousands of practitioners and students who carry his method forward. His often brilliant turns of mind are scattered among a handful of books left to posterity. The Potent Self is one of the most important."
—Don Hanlon Johnson, Professor of Somatics, California Institute of Integral Studies and Editor of Groundworks and Bone, Breath, and Gesture

"The radical roots of Moshe Feldenkrais's Method are clearly apparent in this book, displaying how his work evolved from his concerns about the deleterious effect of family and society upon the growth and development of human beings. Mark Reese's new Foreword beautifully traces the historical and cultural context in which the book came about, and brings to life the current relevance of Feldenkrais's thinking of 50 years ago. The Potent Self is still potent. It is well worth reading and rereading."—Carl Ginsburg, Ph.D.

"Moshe Feldenkrais has created a towering body of knowledge. There is no other theory or practice that delves so knowingly and deeply into the relationship between the body, its reflexes, its habitual levels of muscular tension, and gravity. Feldenkrais [is] as seminal to somatics as Freud was to psychology."
—Robert Shaw, M.D., former director of the Family Institute of Berkeley

  1. Human Capacity
  2. Spontaneity and Compulsive Action
  3. Motivation and Action
  4. Resistance and Cross Motivation
  5. Behavior and Environment
  6. The Power of Dependence and Maturity
  7. Rewards and Punishment
  8. The Origin of Faulty Posture
  9. Body and Mind
  10. Action, Inhibition, and Fatigue
  11. The Aim of Readjustment
  12. Correct Posture
  13. Means at Our Disposal
  14. First General Overhaul
  15. About the Technique
  16. Physiology and Social Order
  17. The Abdomen, the Pelvis, and the Head
  18. A Little Philosophy
  19. Is There a Way Out?

Moshe Feldenkrais, D. Sc. (1904 - 1984) began developing what has become known as the Feldenkrais Method after he sustained a crippling knee injury while working in England during World War II. His own recovery process and subsequent wide-ranging research resulted in the creation of a unique educational system that incorporated his background in physics, Judo, and a lifelong interest in human development. By the end of Dr. Feldenkrais’s life, the Feldenkrais Method had gained an International reputation and he had trained a significant number of teachers. The Method that bears his name continues to evolve and spread across the globe.