The Grammar of Human Development: Interview with Aliza Stewart

Awareness Through Movement® classes, in my opinion, are really the greatest gift - they have to do with the grammar of movement, starting with those essential things babies do and discover in the first two or three years of life.

The way that they learn, nobody’s teaching them.

We only see and know that the milestone is here, when there is a clear change in the field of gravity, from lying on the back to going to the side, from lying on the back and going to the stomach, from stomach to crawling. But in between there might be a month, two months, three months, where all kinds of things are happening and it looks completely random. And out of that randomness comes the next, what we call, “the next stage of mobility”. How does the baby learn to do that without any teachers?

Awareness Through Movement® lessons, and there are many of them, thousands of them that Dr. Feldenkrais has composed, I would say, they are really like compositions. People who have worked for many, many years can take this grammar and create their own stories or compositions with that, with those basic movements. The movements, the lessons, really imitate the learning of the baby.

Each person starts becoming aware of how they do what they do and compare it to other ways of doing the same thing. You train your kinesthetic sense, you train your proprioceptive sense. How am I in space?

I can feel like this and I can feel like that. You make little distinctions. I would say fine distinctions, actually, enormous, and the finer they are, the more enormous they are, because they make a difference that makes the difference.

The compositions that people learn when they come to a class, Awareness Through Movement® lessons, they can take parts of them or the whole lesson to do at home. And the reports from people when they get up from the floor, most of the time, are really glowing, because they experience themselves differently. They feel taller, lighter, more in the feet, more grounded, more floating. It always depends on how the person starts.

What is the change that this particular nervous system needs?

Sometimes emotional changes, many times. You don’t have two brains, you have one. And they know now, that it’s not a zone here and a zone here and there’s no communication between the zones. They know now that those zones communicate all the time. And you can use one for the other; if you are injured in one, the other one comes in….

The emotional and sensory-motor life are completely connected. The thinking, the feeling, and the moving are completely connected.