01 February 2021 - The Feldenkrais Method
Scott Clark, Feldenkrais Practitioner

How to Use These Short ATM (Awareness Through Movement) Lessons

These audio lessons on the website are quite like the ones you might do in a Feldenkrais group class, but at the same time they are very different: a group class is usually around an hour long while these are much shorter, most of them somewhere between ten and twenty minutes. And there is no replacement for having a teacher — present, alive, responding to what you are actually doing. It is also more difficult to focus our attention and patience without the support of others.
So these brief lessons are not really intended to stand on their own. They are designed primarily for people who have already done a Feldenkrais class or some individual lessons, who want something to help them remember and build on that experience. But they may be helpful as well to those who do not have immediate access to a Feldenkrais teacher. They may also serve as samples, indications of what to expect from a Feldenkrais class.
The main thing to keep in mind is that the movements here do nothing by themselves — the real agent for change is our awareness. If we could simply feel ourselves in action, directly and completely, we would accomplish something extraordinary. Of course, we think that we can already do that, and so don’t need to learn it; or, if we know that there are gaps in our awareness, we think that can’t be changed, that we’re stuck with such gaps. Use these lessons to challenge both of these ideas. Surprise yourself with what is not so easy to sense, not so direct and immediate, or even absent completely. And through this really quite simple process of trying one action and then its opposite, in varied combinations that still manage to relate to how you function in the world, you may begin to fill in some of the missing bits of experience. As your awareness of yourself changes, your action will quite naturally change accordingly.
So try out these lessons when you have a moment of patience — you don’t need that much time, but patience is essential. Feel free to play with the pace or with the movements themselves in any way that keeps you fresh. When your mind wanders, and the movements become mechanical and unfelt, then it’s time to rest for a moment or it’s time to stop. Each individual lesson is intended to work by itself, even though it may be a small part of the overall range of possibilities.
Above all, I hope that these lessons may help you wake up to the sensation of yourself.
A word of warning: these explorations must be undertaken responsibly, which means you must take responsibility for yourself. How can you do that? Naturally, if you have a medical condition that might be implicated by doing these explorations, get the advice of your doctor before you start. If you do these explorations, at each moment, make sure that what you are doing is safe for you. No movement should cause pain — if it does, try making the movement slower and smaller, even so small that it is imaginary. If the movement still causes pain, you should not do it. Please take this warning to heart; it is all too easy to try to ‘work through’ pain, but this is not the arena in which to do that.

Have fun with them!

Scott Clark
© 2021