Why doesnt everybody do Feldenkrais’ Awareness Through Movement?

Getting to know thyself more deeply, as an integrated and interconnected organism, to me, is worth the time and attention, and a pleasurable experience in itself (to say the least).

And as one begins to discover through his or her own learning – that learning itself might be the greatest gift of life – a subsequent question may arise:

  • Why doesn’t everyone take the time to slow down and do Feldenkrais’ Awareness Through Movement lessons? And then shout from the rooftops about the mostly unsought-after benefits of this meditative experience??

 

For one, I think our world is fast-paced to the point of missing the really good stuff. No one anymore, it seems, has the time of day for play, let alone sixty minutes to experience moving for its own sake. “What’s it going to do for me?” a person typically will ask… which is to miss the point! And so they move on to something like Yoga or sitting meditation or “working out” – and only for the publicly-talked-about health benefits.

Another point I’d like to make is that doing Feldenkrais’ Awareness Through Movement is an experience in which the only teaching being done is the teaching that happens from your own kinesthetic attention of your own moving. You are your own teacher.

It’s not some expert giving you a seminar on what to do that’s right or some coach imparting to you the perfect way to walk the perfect path (or the perfect way to sit or stand, for that matter). It’s just you – moving, sensing, and giving it all up to the expansive, billion-year-old nervous system inside your own bag of skin; an unpretentious gift of curious attention, so that it can do what it pleases with the content that’s offered up.

It’s hard – almost wrong – to sell a product like this to another person, especially when this “product” is simply the product of their own experience, time, and exploration. To sell this – as if I was giving you something you didn’t already own – would be completely counterfeit with respect to what’s actually happening when one learns to learn. This is a process that ought to be celebrated rather than exploited.

Emily Davis wrote an article about the problem of marketing the Feldenkrais’ method (which isn’t really a method so much as it is your method), saying:

I witnessed a lot of miracles. I saw all kinds of evidence of this practice being a Miracle Method. And yet. I also came to understand why no one was shouting about the curative powers of the method from the rooftops.

What one begins to learn the deeper one gets into the Feldenkrais Method is that the approach requires a great letting go. We could never claim to “cure” people because one of the central tenets of our work is that there is nothing wrong with them. We can’t claim to have fixed someone because we never look at someone like something to be fixed. We start with an assumption of capability in the person we’re working with. The anatomy of a lesson includes a kinesthetic listening, a seeking for what’s working well and doing what we can do to assist the student in doing what’s easy. We help improve what’s already working and make space for new ways of working to emerge. Sometimes pain relief or the disappearance of a problem is a by-product of that process. Sometimes it isn’t.

And it won’t be [that your knee was fixed, for example] because the teacher improved it but because we created a learning environment for your brain to improve everything.

 

To shout from the rooftops – which is what I really want to do every time an Awareness Through Movement experience happens – is to let the “ego” be driving the enterprise;

to try to shove the magic down someone’s throat, would be antithetical to the work of Moshe Feldenkrais.

The principles on which he formed Awareness Through Movement are precisely those that make his work not something we can categorize, label, market, sell, brand, or push!

 

Anyway…

The “work” is not about work but play,

not yearning but learning;

never straining or trying,

just a gentle opening of some window of seeing yourself

differently than you have before –

perhaps with more curiosity and less judgment,

more playfully, even.

Following interest, intrigue, awe only –

a label-less dive,

expectation-less experience.

 

Regarding the choices you have with your actions,

there is a limitless sky of places to fly,

and you don’t have to arrive to any of them fast –

that’s not the point.

 

There is no goal of the activity: notice

parts of a world of yourself you may discover,

perhaps differentiating

between what feels nice,

what doesn’t,

and continuing in those spaces that you wouldn’t mind visiting again –

yet each time newly.

 

It’s too much effort to shout from rooftops;

so that too, is ditched.

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You wouldn’t believe how many in my practice, when questioned why they do Feldenkrais, answer with, “Because it feels good!” So… Hedonism!!! (laughing)

~ Peter Binns, Australian Feldenkrais Center