Mind In Motion

A revolutionary approach to optimizing human ability when faced with pain, neurological disability, or the challenges of every day life.

Lifting the lower leg with both hands

One of the coolest aspects of the online peer study group An AY a Day for Feldenkrais® teachers around the world is that we take turns teaching. Any member of the group — be you a trainee, teacher, or trainer — can sign up to teach a lesson. The twice-daily meetings, at 8 AM and 6 PM Pacific time, draw colleagues from around the globe who attend to participate in and then discuss that day’s Awareness Through Movement® class. You come as often or as little as suits you; there are no requirements nor is there any kind of dues or payments. What Kwan Wong, the group’s founder and facilitator, has created is a dynamic gathering, a place for teachers and future teachers committed to practicing ATM® personally, improving how we understand and teach it, and learning from and with each other. 

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Teaching ATM better

Yesterday, I met with two groups of fellow Feldenkrais® teachers committed to teaching ATM® better. 

During the first meeting — still inspired by the conversation that followed the AY a Day lesson the evening before — I deviated from the conversational format I’d originally proposed. After disclosing some of my early endeavors to make Awareness Through Movement® more accessible (including one of my greatest — and most significant — failures), I addressed the ways we talk about the method and our approaches to teaching ATM, suggesting how we might improve. 

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Third time’s the charm

In keeping with the commitment that I’d made to focus on the practice and teaching of Awareness Through Movement® lessons a couple of years ago, I started offering a new course, RETURNING TO THE SOURCE (RTTS), based on the question:

“What do I need to know about an ATM® to teach it well?”

Since then more than 250 Feldenkrais® teachers around the world have benefited from what this course has to offer. 

Thing is, so has the course . . . and so have I. 

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The Lesson Locator continues to improve

The Lesson Locator team continues to improve the search engine behind the scenes. We’ve been both developing the final phases of Version 1.0 and we also added more lessons to those Locator searches.

Enhancing how the Lesson Locator works

The last remaining major step is to update the incomplete and inconsistent Position data currently being used by the Locator.

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That fateful day

It was a balmy blue-sky autumn morning in the Big Apple. As the guest trainer at the Manhattan Feldenkrais® Teacher Training, I started the day teaching the next installment in a long series of Awareness Through Movement® lessons.

Soon after I’d begun, Anastasi Siotas, a fellow member of the faculty, approached me quietly and whispered in my ear that an airplane had just flown into the World Trade Center. I thought he was joking. I mean, that couldn’t be true, could it?! Wanting to stay focused on the trainees and the ATM® class I was guiding them through, I shooed him away1.

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Where the conscious and unconscious meet

Soon after I’d started teaching Awareness Through Movement® classes, my Feldenkrais® mentor, Edna Rossenas from the San Francisco training, asked me to record the lessons. Keeping my promise to do so was one of the inspirations for recording the first Strasbourg International Feldenkrais Teacher Training, back in the early 1990s. 

It also meant that when Mick McCarthy, who I’d studied with and worked for doing group facilitation, suggested, many years beforehand, that I listen to my own teaching — saying that if someone else is going to pay for my classes I should at least have some idea how what I’m saying sounds on the receiving end. I, like most people, didn’t like how my voice sounded on my answering machine (yes, I’m that old). Be that as it may, I understood the challenge and appreciated its value. 

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From the lesson into life

For the past thirty years or so, I’ve been offering an (almost) annual Awareness Through Movement® summer camp. A desire to give students the kind of ATM® intensive Moshe Feldenkrais offered in his weekend workshops — and that I’d experienced during our summer-long training sessions — was what inspired me to offer what’s now turned into a recurring ritual. 

One night, many years ago, after an ATM class one dark winter evening, I was struck by what happened as the students prepared to leave. Touching the knob to the bathroom door, picking up a glass to fill it with water, putting on a coat or shoe . . . the moment someone touched something, I saw them shifting back to their former ways of holding and moving themselves. 

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Say hello to my little friend

In Awareness Through Movement, Moshe used a wooden artist’s model to illustrate the student’s positions in the lessons that make up the second part of the book. What with a picture being worth a thousand words, this was a commonsense way to make the written descriptions unambiguous and understandable. Using the wooden model rather than an actual person to demonstrate the positions allowed Moshe to respect his self-imposed prohibition against having the teacher — and, by extension, any person — demonstrate the lesson. 

In keeping with this approach, I’d hoped to use a wooden artist’s model in my Awareness Through Movement® classes and to illuminate the Back into Action handbook.

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Three years old and thriving

In 2004, more than two decades after I completed the Amherst Feldenkrais® training, the International Feldenkrais Federation published the 11th and final volume of the Alexander Yanai Awareness Through Movement® lessons, consisting of the transcripts of 550 classes that Moshe Feldenkrais taught between from the early 1950s to the late 1970s.

This compilation instantly became the go-to resource for Moshe’s work. After having had only a limited number of lessons for so long, it was thrilling to have this encyclopedia of ATM® available.

It was also incredibly frustrating. Locating the lesson you wanted in the massive eleven volume collection of lessons was ridiculously difficult.

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Let freedom ring

July 4th was the debut of DEGREES OF A FREEDOM, an Awareness Through Movement® lesson that I’d composed the week before in honor and celebration of Independence Day in the US of A.

I knew I’d be presenting to fellow Feldenkrais® teachers during our early morning international online study group and, just a little later, to a group including them, students from the public classes and workshops I’ve taught both locally and afar, and my far-flung friends, all of who would be at my free online class celebrating Independence Day. This was one of my main motivations for taking on the project.

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