From Muscle Pain to Flexibility with Awareness Through Movement

Published by Synergy Healthcare on

woman stretching on pink yoga mat

What Can You Expect If You Come to an Awareness Through Movement® Class?

Awareness Through Movement is a group lesson in a casual, relaxed setting. They can be done lying or sitting on the floor, sitting on a chair or in standing. The overall goal is to make sure the student is as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Plan to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing that will not restrict your movement. Learning and awareness are optimal when a person is not stressed, uncomfortable or in pain.

Verbal instructions are given directing movement sequences and focusing awareness on particular areas of the body or how to improve posture.  Lessons are not demonstrated but rather described, allowing the student’s brain and body a chance to “learn” the movement from conception. The lessons start out with simple movements based on infant development, such as: lifting the head, reaching with the hand, rolling over, or crawling. Then, as the student progresses the lessons become more involved, exploring optional movements to use with daily functions or more complex combinations. There are no right or wrong ways to do a movement, only your way. During a lesson you “explore” the different options and combination of movements your brain and body come up with, improving your flexibility and range of motion.

Awareness Through Movement classes have two basic rules: first, move only in your comfort zone – not what you think the instructor wants you to do, not what the person next to you is doing. Your body interprets the instructions as your brain figures them out. The idea is to work smarter, not harder. The lessons take you beyond your normal limits by finding new combinations of ways to move. Second, carry out the instructions only as long as you are aware of what you are doing. If the mind begins to wander, if the movement becomes mechanical, stop, rest and then resume.

Awareness is key to learning, “if you know what you are doing, you can do what you want”, a favorite saying of Moshe Feldenkrais, the founder of The Feldenkrais Method. There are hundreds of Awareness Through Movement lessons that each address unique functional movements demonstrating how the whole body needs to participate as a unit. Each lesson is structured to include thinking, sensing, awareness, movement and imagination.

ATM lessons can often produce surprising and pleasing results. Making a seemingly impossible action easy, Feldenkrais lessons allow us to question our assumed limitations. Though our range of motion may be mechanically limited, there are no limits to the quality of movement. These lessons re-ignite early childhood impulses to move, explore, learn and can be actually fun!

The Feldenkrais Method works with each person from pediatrics to geriatrics and everyone in between. This process is ideal for people any ability or level of mobility, helping them explore how they move, increasing flexibility, promoting relaxation, decreasing tension, improving dynamic posture with overall positive effects on well-being and increased vitality. If you are experiencing pain and stiffness with movement or you would just walk more efficiently ATMs may be for you.

Think you might like to try it out? Please view our current class schedule, or contact us to find out about our current class times.