Moshe Feldenkrais called his group classes “Awareness Through Movement” (ATM), which is also the title of his first book. He designed a vast number of these classes as health exercises for personal growth. They are movement classes where the emphasis is on “Awareness”, i.e., a practice that cultivates the knowledge and perception that each one of us individually has of oneself. - How does that happens? For now, I would like to leave you with only a couple of suggestions that will help you to find the right attitude for making the most of these classes.
Do everything very slowly
In a world increasingly fast we need to counterbalance that with moments where we don’t want to rush to get anywhere and we gift ourselves with the fullness of the present moment. Feldenkrais classes are designed not to teach you but to enable you to listen and see things differently. In order to learn more about yourself at your own pace and understanding, time is essential.
Slowing down allows you to expand your attention and notice subtleties and details of your own individual experience. You will be then able to identify the most efficient pathways of movement and eliminate superfluous and unnecessary efforts that we all perform, specially when we are learning something new or when we are driven by the ambition of achieving something.
Look for pleasant sensations
I don’t know about you but I grew up with the notion that suffering is not only necessary but is also a virtue in life, and that pleasure is suspect. Feldenkrais, however, gave me the practical means to understand that striving to improve, actually hinders my learning and blurs my potential.
The first thing to realise about pleasure is that it relaxes the breathing. Breathing simply and easily is the first indicator of a better and organised movement.
Often we notice more the parts of our body that feel particularly painful or uncomfortable, and that’s all right to notice, but don’t just hang out there, don’t get attached to what’s wrong. Give yourself the chance to notice where in your sensation you can find ease and pleasure. You’ll be rewarded by not only a pleasurable sensation but also you’ll get to know what you are doing there that works well and then be able to transfer that understanding to other parts where you don’t have the same clarity and simplicity in yourself.
Thank you for your attention. I’m looking forward to seeing you in class.