What happens in a Feldenkrais® group ATM class?

 

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© Gabriele Wander

Here are a few things to know to understand Feldenkrais® and to get the most out of a Feldenkrais® „Awareness Through Movement“ group class.

Wear socks, and clothing that lets you move. Bring a jumper to keep warm and a blanket that can be folded as a pillow or used as a blanket.

Exercise mats are usually provided. If you want your own mat, the best ones for Feldenkrais® are 1m wide and 1cm thick.

Feldenkrais® is more like a meditation using movement than a fitness class. In the lesson, the teacher tells you what to do, but does not show how. This lets each person explore and discover their own comfortable and efficient ways of moving.

There is no fixed idea of right and wrong and you won’t be judged. By trying different variations your body will automatically find the most efficient and comfortable movement.

Learning by doing changes you from the inside and is the most long lasting and effective way to replace old habits that may be inefficient or painful.

andrej-lisakov-360099-unsplashLike in tennis and football, going out of the field of play means you lose. In Feldenkrais, this means:

  • Avoid pain,
  • Don’t strain,
  • Go slow so you can ’see‘ where the boundaries lie.

By perfecting your skills in a safe zone, you will find that your field of play will enlarge much faster than it otherwise would. If the pace of the lesson doesn’t suit you, slow down or rest. Only you know your body history.

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Foto Tony Bustamante @ Unsplash

Digestion takes time. That’s why you don’t eat breakfast, lunch and dinner one after the other. Therefore allow yourself plenty of pauses, and know that it is in the pauses that your body and brain grow.

At the end of the lesson, stand up and feel for changes in how your weight is distributed, how up-right you feel, or how light your breath is. You can compare these sensations with a quick check in that you should have done at the start or during the lesson.

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Some people find Feldenkrais slow to begin with, but stick with it for at least one semester. ‚Slow‘ goes against our cultural habits, but from slow food to mindful meditation, the greatest power lies in reflection and maturity. When you experience your first big changes, you are benefitting from the scientifically proven benefits of slowness and mindfulness.

Though this is a movement lesson, the mind and the body always go together. Moshe Feldenkrais said he never yet saw a body without a brain. Don’t be surprised if you feel much greater physical freedom, but also a change in your mood. There are many unexpected positive changes that come from doing Feldenkrais. Only you will know what they are, when they come.

For quicker results, do Feldenkrais more than once a week, attend workshops, or do audio lessons at home on the internet or by CD.

You may eventually want to supplement a group class with a private session, where the practitioner can expand your range of movement in areas that your body quite manage alone.

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