Come to Your senses Through Somatic Movement Lessons
Lay on the floor so you can explore.
Sit in a chair become more aware.
Awareness Through Movement is the name of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’ most well-known book, explaining his Method as well as presenting twelve of the thousands of precisely structured movement explorations that are a part of the Feldenkrais Method.
If you are a good self-studier, then it’ll be easy to follow the book, otherwise, taking a class in Awareness Through Movement would be another way to explore the method and see if you gain improvement.
I chose to write about Awareness Through Movement Class because it is what introduced me to the Feldenkrais Technique, in 1994, and I was captivated immediately because it was a benefit to me right away and to this day continues to amaze and astound me, and is part of my daily practice. Teaching Awareness through Movement takes the exploration to new heights for me, continues to benefit my health and longevity and is important for my Functional Integration practice, as I incorporate my experience with others.
The Awareness Through Movement Classes begin with the teacher asking you to “Lay down on your back” and scan yourself (your subjective appraisal at this moment), in your mind’s eye and note your self-image as you are directed to certain areas to focus on. Keeping this info in your personal ‘mental journal’ to ‘return to’ throughout the session each time you are directed to ‘Rest’, and this occurs numerous times throughout the lesson. The teacher then guides you through easy, slow ,gentle movements while you are lying on the floor, sitting in a chair or standing.
Most of the time your eyes are closed and there is no correcting of oneself, or comparing to your neighbors, or ambition to achieve anything, simply noticing as you attempt the movement with the least amount of effort.
Each movement sequence is performed with the least amount of effort and allowing the entire self to take part in the action, distributing the effort in order to lessen the work of any one part. The teacher will continually remind students to:
Be easy with yourself.
Don’t do anything you are not comfortable with in that moment.
Decide what is comfortable for you and to the degree you can pay attention while doing repetitions and paying attention to different aspects of yourself.
When your mind begins to wander or drift, Stop and Rest, bring your mind back to what you are doing and then continue or just simply Rest.
Don’t just keep doing something because the teacher says; make sure it is interesting to you.
Least amount of effort does not mean ‘no effort at all’, sometimes a little work is required.
There is nothing to correct, just things to notice.
Can always go slower, easier, gentler or not at all, you can just think the movement
Imagination is powerful; simply imagining a movement allows your brain to start to match up your kinesthetic sensations, your inner perception of yourself, with your imagination.Even an imperfect imagination is very useful.
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais always looked for a little improvement with each session, no magical cure or fix all at once, just a little benefit every class. Thus, his quote about the method:
"Make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant." —Moshe Feldenkrais
Dr. Feldenkrais himself explained Awareness Through Movement lessons by saying:
"But whatever the exercise or the principle used, the lesson is so arranged that without concentration, without trying to sense differences, without real attention, pupils cannot proceed to the next stage. Repetition, just mechanical repetition without attention, is discouraged, made impossible in fact. Many exercises consist in attending to the means of achieving a goal and not to the goal itself, which is an important way of reducing tension. All these exercises aim at achieving mental and physical cooordination and in particular good erect posture and correct action.
Finally, self-knowledge through awareness is the goal of reeducation. As we become aware of what we are doing in fact, and not what we say or think we are doing, the way to improvement is wide open to us."
Awareness Through Movement video: © International Feldenkrais® Federation