On my Sunday morning stroll yesterday, I met a friend who is thinking about giving Feldenkrais Method Awareness through Movement a try. As we discussed our aches and pains and some of the things we’ve tried, I recalled one of the things that makes Awareness through Movement different from so many other approaches. And this is key for people new to Feldenkrais:
If it hurts, don’t do it. If there’s resistance ease back. Make the movements small. Smaller. Gentle.
The idea here is that if it hurts, the body will not want to replicate the movement.
If it’s gentle and easy, it will.
In a session there might be a suggestion to explore a movement (following gentle, careful instructions from Veronica) and then there might be a moment of something I’ll call confusion. My brain might go all wavy lines….as I wonder how to organise my body to make that move. It may take a few times of experimenting with the slow, small, gentle moves. Then there’s the joy and delight of finding that it I can do it. And do it with ease. That’s the moment when I might be giggling (internally) with delight and amazement at what the body can do. In those few moves my nervous system has re-wired. It has learned. Now the body knows how to do it.
Another key principle of Feldenkrais Method suggests that making small moves with quiet attention can be the most effective way. The body listens more. Like a pin dropping in a quiet room, we notice. Moves of only one or two centimetres can lead to real improvements in our body’s wiring. Even imagining a move can do that.
So for new participants, and even regulars used to pushing through pain or discomfort, here’s the good news. Relax. Become aware. And move with ease.
If it hurts make the movement smaller, small and gentle. Easy does it.
See you on Friday!