MOVEMENT AWARENESS AND POTENTIAL
Articulating a pedagogical approach
The work we have been developing offers a pedagogical approach that is part of a fantastic myriad of body-movement awareness work; addressing how the body/mind can effectively develop more ease and choice through greater body-movement understanding. From standing work to being on the floor, the aim is to develop our proprioception or Body/Movement Awareness in a very direct way, by asking us, offering time and a framework, to notice detail in our bodies, and how we move.
"If we attempt to carry out an action with awareness- that is to follow it in detail- we soon discover that even the simplest and common of actions, such as getting up from a chair, is a mystery and we have no idea at all of how it is done."
- Moshe Feldenkrais
The work we have developed partially focuses on having an individual movement experience. While we work with overarching principles from anatomical studies and empirical research on the structuring of a movement class; we recognise that approaches, methods and techniques sometimes share principles, and sometimes differ. Questions can emerge, but within these differences in approach, we always bring our own unique bodies to the work. Thus, we recognise there are options, and that understanding individual (body) structural differences as part of the conversation, is an essential aspect of learning about body-movement either in Yoga, Feldenkrais or Ideo-kinesis.
Below are a few of the ideas we focus on
If we have time and a framework in a movement class to ask questions about how we choose to approach movement and the process we undertake, eventually we can become our own teacher as part of the learning process.
While stability and flexibility are aspects of movement, focusing on mobility is also key. External concepts about shape, or holding ourselves in a posture do not create a full picture of movement, and this is not what happens in everyday life. Most people, who are able to do so, move in day to day life. We put on our clothes, walk down stairs, do gardening or paint houses etc. We sit on chairs at desks and stand up to walk, hopefully, with ease and joy, as we want to continue later in life.
People may speak about issues like lower-back pain, stiff and sore joints, reccurring injuries, or issues with a particular joint or 'anatomical region'. Often, however, the ways of attempting to rectify or modify do not pay enough attention to the "how" of any movement, the approach, mind state, process, quality, sequencing, and effort of movement, as well as, the alignment of the joints. So a lot of repetitions of an unuseful approach and execution, probably will not benefit us.
We work to help develop an understanding of the elements and articulations within a movement, rather than just arriving in a shape without understanding or being aware of how we chose to get there, and thus forfeitting some of the most important parts of learning through movement. We will look at considering any missed steps or places of access that individuals are not utilising, or are skipping, when practicing a posture/movement. This can create a greater level of efficiency, and thus preservation.
Another aspect of the work is gaining an understanding of what our individual movement preferences, or habits, are. By seeing options or choices within a specific form, we can actively question what pathways we sequence through, and how we perform movement in terms of effort or quality. We try to identify our habits and the "how" of movement, and thus "why". These are issues that, most likely, cannot be fully understood in just one moment, so to make change, curiousity, self-awareness, consistency and discipline are needed.
In terms of the body-mind, how we approach whatever it is we do, is part of the outcome or result. Often correcting from the perspective of form, or end result, or holding a shape, can be reductive in terms of movement feedback, and less translatable to what our bodies actually do from day to day, as they shift from movement to movement and in dialogue with our surroundings. We need to be able ask questions about how we move, or maintain dynamicism in a posture, and that is the context we are working to facilitate- being able to stay awake in choice, dynamic and responsive.
Awareness of the small movements that make up larger movements, thus the process of movement, supports more complex movement. If the more simple smaller patterns are inefficient, repeating patterns that require a composite of various righting reactions, equilibrium responses, reflexes and development patterns by gripping muscles to create a shape, will not result in coordinated or efficient complex movement.
Below are some specific examples of issues that may be covered in class, be it Yoga, Feldenkrais or Ideo-Kinesis, alongside a bit of rationale and context.
Also, for a broader context, see Somatic Movement Education HistoryPDF.
Learning about Body-Theory is always useful in any body/movement/posture study, so we've included some references, citations, for further reading, reflection and research.
Flexing and extending the spine. Are the flexors and the extensors the prime movers or the antagonists and when do they change from one to the other.
"1. Agonists or prime movers, effect the required movement of the bone(s)
2. Antagonists lengthen to allow the movement of the bone or bones. Since practically every muscle acting on a bony lever is matched by muscle which moves the bone in the opposite direction, muscles may be either agonists or antagonists depending on the direction of movement"
- Lulu Sweigard
Human Movement Potential
"The object in exploring a fuller range of spinal flexion is to learn what it feels like to reduce the contraction of the extensors"
- Moshe Feldenkrais
The Potent Self
An introduction to moving focused on developmental patterns.
How can we utilise developmental movement patterns to create awareness, efficiency and clarity in movement. These patterns exist in Yoga and Feldenkrais method and Ideo-Kinesis (voluntary movement.)
"The developmental process establishes the basic patterns of all our movement."
"Development is not a linear process but occurs in overlapping waves with each stage containing elements of all the others. Because each previous stage underlies and supports each successive stage, any incomplete development or skipping of any stage leads to percpetual/movement problems. By returning to these basic patterns, we can repattern our responses and establish more efficient nervous pathways to support our movement"
- Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen
Sensing, Feeling and Action
An introduction to Alignment through Imagery
How can imagery support our Alignment. What is the intrinsic-role of the nervous system.
'Only by changing the co-ordination of muscles toward patterns of balanced action can the structure simultaneously be brought into better alignment and increased conformity with principles of mechanical balance.
The application of imagined movement as a teaching method departs from volitional techniques by emphasising change in the sub cortically controlled neuromuscular co-ordination.
Concentration on the image of movement will let the central nervous system choose the most efficient neuromuscular co-ordination for it's performance, namely, the innate reflexes and feedback mechanisms."
- Lulu Sweigard
Human Movement Potential
We all use our bodies and can enhance our use, performance, awareness, and approach. This work approaches moving from the inside out, where each individual can connect to themselves and others, learning crucial information about the body, and making new discoveries about our structure and habits; things that support all aspects of movement. The main focus of the work is to develop our proprioception, and our ability to think-feel and facilitate a deeper sense of body, movement, space/time awareness, release tension, improve coordination, range and integration.
"Movement is life, life is a process, improve the quality of the
process and you improve the quality of life itself"
- Moshe Feldenkrais.