Cautions & Considerations:
The movements in these lessons are intended to be done with minimum effort, even when using only your imagination. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting a new movement program; especially if you have an existing medical or health condition, are overweight or pregnant, or if you are taking medications that affect your ability to sense pain or discomfort or impair your ability to control your position and movement. This program is not intended to provide medical advice or make medical diagnoses. Do not delay in seeking treatment or disregard medical advice due to information you may hear in any of our courses, classes, workshops or other programs. Pay attention to how you feel and stop the lesson to consult your health practitioner if you feel sick, dizzy, faint, light-headed, or if you experience any pain or unusual discomfort. The creators and the publishers of these programs are not responsible for any injuries you may experience by participating in this program. By continuing with this program you are acknowledging that you have read, understood and agree to follow these basic instructions, and that you are participating at your own risk.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: Do all the movements slowly and gently and don’t do anything that causes pain, strain or discomfort.
Create A Comfortable Space
Many lessons are done lying on the floor or sitting in a chair. Ideally you want a rather firm, yet lightly padded surface that is comfortable for your bones and still allows you to sense your contact. For lessons lying on the floor, using a dense blanket will be enough padding for most people. You’ll also want room to move. Find a space where you are able to lie with your legs long and have an arm’s length out to the sides and above you.
Have a bath towel or two nearby. You can fold them to use as support under your head. You’ll find that different heights are more comfortable for different positions — lying on your back, side or front.
Find Your Place
The directions are always in reference to your own body, rather than to the room. Up is always in the direction of your head and down in the direction of your feet. For example, when you’re lying on your back the ceiling is forward — not up.
Before you begin, check in with yourself and set an intention for your practice. What brought you to your practice today? What is it that you most want? What are your life dreams?
Set aside self-care time and enjoy a full lesson or part of a lesson before bed. Sleep is a fantastic way to integrate new learning and people often sleep very well after doing a lesson.
Always Insist On Comfort
Never continue movements that are increasing discomfort! It is essential to your learning and improvement that you don’t ignore discomfort during these lessons. In this work, there is nothing that will benefit you if your nervous system perceives a threat. Increasing discomfort qualifies as a threat, even if you’ve built habits of ignoring it in other aspects of your life. Always move within your own personal range of comfort, and be prepared to redefine what comfort is. Be prepared to redefined what comfort is.
Move Slowly + Mindfully
There’s no use for hurried action in the natural human learning process. This work is designed to prompt neuroplastic changes in your brain — rewiring habits of movement and awareness to create more effective self-use.
Create a calm pace that allows for your curiosity to flourish. Mechanical, hurried repetition will only interfere with your learning. Acknowledge the emotional & mental experiences that arise as you engage in the lessons. These too are impulses in the brain. They are as real as the sensations and movements you’ll be exploring. And just like movement, they also inform the way you move through life.
Do Less to Discover More
Focus on the quality of your movement and the quality of your attention — not the quantity. Straining is counterproductive. The “no pain, no gain” mindset creates nothing but noise and distractions and will likely send you back into old habits. Move in a smaller range and with few repetitions. Don’t worry if you need to do a micro-version of some movements, or if you need to do them solely in your imagination. These practices can be just as helpful — often more so. In fact, the practice of doing less can help you to become aware of some of your internalized cultural programming that competes with some of your basic functions as a discover more human animal.
It is better to do a few movements with a high quality of attention than to do several movements mindlessly. Resting allows you to both process what you have learned and recharge your ability to give attention. Rest whenever you need to — including between each movement. Rest when your mind wanders. Rest if you notice yourself straining or striving. Rest to consolidate what you’ve learned and to start anew. Rest to reflect and to discover what has changed —what is alive for you now, in this very moment.
Attune To Awareness
The Awareness Through Movement® and other mindfulness practices you’ll explore will offer little to no value when you’re not attending to yourself. Feeling bored, holding your breath or ‘pushing through’ are all valuable clues that you are moving into the realm of willpower or auto-pilot. First, give attention to the thoughts that arise when you move out of awareness. Pause and sense around your whole body — you’ll probably quickly find a sensation you weren’t aware of. This is an opportunity to discover more about yourself and return to your patterns of moving through the world.
Stay Connected. Stay Grounded.
We evolved to move in relationship to external support — from the nurturing hold of our caregivers to the powerful embrace of the earth. The ground and other surfaces you are in contact with, are continually providing a reflective push equal and opposite to the weight you put into it. Only when you can fully receive support externally can a deep sense of internal support emerge. For instance, when you sit on a chair the external support is coming from the surface of the chair into your pelvis and from the surface of the ground into your feet. When you can sense and organize with and through these external supports, you will find the internal support needed stay connected to sit with ease.
Care For Yourself
Listen to yourself and learn from the intelligence of your body. There is absolutely no pushing here. This is the time to begin to learn how and when you disconnect. If you find yourself distracted, uninterested, tensing up or holding your breath — then pause and take a rest. You can return to the movement whenever you are ready. Develop a clear, internal image of the movements you make. Allow this image to refine the movement, and let your movements inform the image.
Take A Class
I believe that developing a home practice is a core element in our personal learning. However, learning alone and learning with others are very different experiences. I highly encourage you to explore these lessons both on your own and with friends, and to find a practitioner in your area. When you attend a class, the practitioner has the opportunity to see you move and to offer directions within the Awareness Through Movement® lesson that can provide invaluable information.
Join me for one of my local classes in Troy, NY or virtual classes. Find out more about my upcoming class series over here >> or you can also find a class in near you by visiting feldenkrais-method.org or feldenkrais.com