Awareness Through Movement® (ATM™)
Q: What are Awareness Through Movement classes like?
A: These are group lessons generally done lying on the floor. Lighting is subdued. Most often lessons are done with eyes closed. The teacher leads the class through a series of explorations of unfamiliar movement patterns that begin very simply and gradually develop in complexity. There is a range of difficulty in lessons, but in all cases we work only within the range of what is easy or pain-free, no matter how small the movement. Students are always the judge of what is easy for them. There is no stretching or straining – this is not exercise but a way of learning to know yourself that uses movement.
Q: This sounds like mindfulness.
A: It is a very mindful approach that uses movement. It develops into a very interesting and useful every-day practice of paying attention to how you move, think, sense and feel. It is only when you recognize patterns that don’t serve you well that becomes possible to change and improve.
Q: How is this different from practices like Yoga or Taiji?
Feldenkrais Method is not better than yoga, taiji, running, skiing, golf, walking or anything you enjoy doing. What you learn in Feldenkrais classes helps you enjoy other practices more and do them better. Because you cultivate greater awareness of what you do/think/feel/sense it makes it possible to make changes. I think of it as taking a step to one side to get a different perspective. When you come back to your favourite activities you do so with “fresh eyes”.
Here is an article about the relationship of Feldenkrais, Yoga and Taiji.
Q: Is there anything else that we need to bring to an ATM class?
A: Bring a blanket/mat, maybe a flat firm cushion if needed to feel comfortable lying on the floor.
Q: Is there any bouncing or fast movement?
A: There can sometimes be quick movements but it is not like the movements in an aerobics class. Students always choose whether to do a movement or not.
Q: What do people wear?
A: Comfortable loose layers to adjust for temperature, and usually people do lessons in socks or with bare feet.
Q: Is it a mixed class with men and women?
A: Classes are open to both genders unless specified.
Q: Where can I get more information about Feldenkrais?
Functional Integration® (FI™)
Q: What are private lessons like?
A: It is an individual lesson, often done lying on a table, but sometimes standing or sitting. You wear comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement. The teacher uses hands and words to move you in ways that help your brain realize new possibilities. After one or more of these private lessons you will understand the learning process and can continue with group lessons.
Q: What should I wear?
A: Wear loose fitting comfortable clothes.
Q: Is this a kind of massage?
A: The hands-on movements don’t bear much resemblance to massage. Massage is something that is done to you. In FI you are more collaborating with the teacher to learn new possibilities for movement. It is meant to be a way of helping you become more aware of yourself – how you use yourself. It is therefore not about kneading muscles or making changes in connective tissue.
Q: What do students say?
“After the lesson when I walked home I felt like I was eighteen again.”
“When I drove home I felt such freedom in my neck as I turned my head to watch traffic on right and left at intersections.”
“As I was home I suddenly realized that my shoulders and pelvis can swing and walking became instantly easier.”
“When I did my yoga poses it felt as if I was just flowing into them – it has never felt easier.”
“How can such small easy movements lying on the floor result in such amazing changes in how I feel when I stand up?”
“After a long career of athletics, I love this nuanced way of learning.”
“When we stand up after a lesson I feel taller, better grounded and I am breathing easier.”