Since I wrote about the AY a Day grassroots peer study group last week, I keep thinking about what I’ve gotten from participating that I didn’t mention. This benefit isn’t a thing; it’s a feeling. I refer to camaraderie, that sense of community and fellowship, of mutual trust and friendship that develops over time.
What makes the group precious is not just knowing that the group will be meeting every day or that they are remarkably welcoming to everyone who shows up. What makes it matter is that there is a place to connect with other folks interested in — and equally passionate about— doing, investigating, and understanding Feldenkrais’ treasure trove of lessons. It’s a feeling of having found my compatriots and the sense of belonging that it creates. I’m sure that’s due, at least partly, to it being one of those all too rare situations where there is no hierarchy. Any teacher or trainee can sign up to present an ATM class, and anyone can join the conversation afterward.
Because many participants return and lots of them keep showing up for long periods, you get to know each other. I continue to revel in shared moments of discovery and transformation, enjoy witnessing people’s teaching skills develop and their comprehension mature, and learn from and with them. It has been great to reconnect with former teachers, classmates, folks I’d met at conferences and workshops, and graduates from my teacher training and postgraduate programs.
In addition, I have gotten to know colleagues I may never have encountered otherwise. For instance, while traveling last month, I met up with Yaelle Kestin, who I became acquainted with thanks to the group, for a fascinating and enlightening conversation at a Parisian sidewalk cafe. As an Israeli, Yaelle has been checking the original Hebrew recordings of the translations we use, providing invaluable insights into how Moshe taught, and offering crucial corrections to the texts.
Naomi Gingold is another person I met and got to know through AY a Day. She is also a journalist, podcast editor/producer, and ethnographer who has lived and reported from across Asia for National Public Radio, the World, and the BBC. Recently, she sent me a link to a Not the Cat podcast episode she and her co-host Jacky Ahn Yang created. It’s the moving story of Raymond, a beloved rockstar and frontman for the band Idiots, and what happened after he got involved in the peaceful street protests in Myanmar last year. Though the podcast is coming together under the harshest conditions, this report relates to what I’m writing about here because it speaks to the importance of community.
I am most grateful to Kwan, the founder and coordinator of the project, for having the foresight, courage, and commitment to bring it into being and to everyone who continues to show up, breathe life into this priceless endeavor, and develop our profession.
Tomorrow, 1 June 2022, is the 5th anniversary of the group. Kwan Wong organized a selection of master teachers to present a unique series of lessons to mark the occasion. Here’s the schedule:
- June 1, Wednesday
- June 3, Friday
Mia Segal 6 pm PT
- June 6, Monday
- June 8, Wednesday
- June 10, Friday
- June 13, Monday
The AY group meets twice a day: at 8:00 AM US Pacific time and again at 6:00 PM US Pacific time. The teachers will present their lessons live at 8:00 AM, and then Kwan will play the recordings that evening at 6:00 PM — except for Mia Segal, who will be teaching only at 6:00 PM on Friday, 3 June.
If you’re a Feldenkrais teacher or trainee and have yet to join, you can register for the group here. If you’re not a member of the profession but would like to experience the method, please check out the spin-off project from the AY group known as the Daily Improvement Collective.
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