The Training begins as life begins – in the learning of fundamental movements that make life possible. You will revisit the early movements of the baby and toddler, which introduce the strategies of variation, awareness and effort reduction. You will build on this foundation and progress with more complex variations that develop various kinds of attention and the ability to sense and orient oneself in space.
The Awareness Through Movement® lessons (ATM lessons) will demonstrate Dr. Feldenkrais’ understanding of brain plasticity and the links necessary to enlarge brain maps. Here are some of the links:
- Attending to various components or building blocks of movement.
- Making sensory differentiations and distinctions.
- Using awareness to make these distinctions.
- Learning to take time between thinking and acting to allow for awareness.
- Slowing down and reducing the volume of stimuli.
- Enhancing kinesthetic and proprioceptive senses.
- Sensing unnecessary inhibition and excitation.
- Reducing the anxiety of having to achieve something.
- Learning to use the support of the floor for shifting weight and lifting parts of the body.
- Multi-tasking by using foreground and background attention and various rhythms simultaneously.
You will develop preliminary skills for Functional Integration® (FI) having to do with the sensitivity of your touch. These skills emerge from some aspects of the Awareness Through Movement lessons, such as learning to reduce effort, experiencing the sensation of lightness, following with one’s hands the movements of another, and experiencing how the appropriate touch affects one’s own movements.
Lectures, papers, and digital media about anatomy, brain research, and learning will be provided and there will be some required reading of Dr. Feldenkrais’ books and visual media recordings.
You will learn a series of Awareness Through Movement lessons, each one developing a particular function: working with gentle movements of the hands to reduce excitation in the brain, learning to arch the back towards a “bridge” position, learning to do a Judo roll, preparing to do a head stand, improving swimming motions, improving breathing, learning to move the head and neck in all possible directions, and improving the use of the voice. The ATM® lessons will be analyzed for the function they illuminate, the movement logic behind the steps, and the accuracy of the language used in the directions. Training faculty will create many opportunities for you to prepare for teaching Awareness Through Movement lessons to the public, culminating in a supervised practicum where each one of you will teach ATM (at least twice) and receive the feedback necessary to improve and succeed.
In Functional Integration, you will practice observing, following and guiding another person's movement with your touch. The way in which you will learn to make contact will facilitate an internal experience of relief and change for each person you work with – the same experience you had when doing Awareness Through Movement lessons. You will learn simple, basic structures for Functional Integration lessons and the manual techniques to communicate them.
There will be a lot of time spent on observation and assessment of people’s movement, their symmetries and asymmetries, and how they shift and bear their weight. You will learn to check your own organization and understand the connection between its quality and the non-verbal dialogue taking place between you and the person you're working with. You will also be encouraged to begin practicing with friends and family.
As in year 1, discussion, reading and viewing of subjects pertinent to the training will be part of the curriculum.
In this year, there will be equal focus on the practice and understanding of ATM lessons and the development of FI skills. The ATM lessons will be based mostly on lessons Dr. Feldenkrais constructed over many years in his studio in Israel. As in year 2, most of the lessons are arranged in series around a single movement pattern, but the movements in these particular ATMs are much more complex and demand a high level of organization. Here are some examples: squatting, sitting on the heels, highly differentiated movements of the ribs, poses similar to Yoga (broken down to small components which are taught slowly and through awareness to avoid injuries), well-organized sitting, standing and walking. The lessons will not only deal with movement skills but with learning how to learn and how to teach.
In regards to Functional Integration, you will learn how to structure a lesson. Lessons will be demonstrated by the Trainer, who will then discuss the client assessment process and the logic behind the FI's structure. The demonstration will be broken down into a series of techniques and then practiced by the trainees. Trainees will also be encouraged to build their own structures for FI lessons based on Awareness Through Movement lessons that they have experienced. The focus of the learning will be on touch, sensing minute changes in the movements of the clients and thinking at the same time how to offer alternatives.
Lectures, papers and digital media: trainees will be assigned reading and the preparation of presentations on the reading. They will practice Functional Integration between segments and will be asked to keep written records as a way to develop the skill of writing case studies.
Emphasis in Functional Integration will be on learning by doing. The Training will arrange for opportunities to practice giving actual FI lessons to peers and to the public. Mentoring and apprenticeship will be encouraged through the selection of experienced guest practitioners to mentor trainees in-between segments. There will be a series of practicums in which trainees give lessons to volunteers from the public. These practicums are held in preparation for the final practicum, where students are supervised and assessed as to their qualifications for certification, and advised about how to continue their learning.
Through this year trainees will continue to study Awareness Through Movement lessons while creating techniques to adapt these lessons into FI lessons for people whose disabilities prevent them from class participation. The ATM lessons will also be designed to illustrate how different lessons from different series are connected and affect each other. This will allow trainees to sense in themselves that movement follows a System Theory principle: all parts are connected and improvement in one cannot happen without the improvement of the whole.
The Training will offer presentations by teachers who specialize in child development and the anatomy of movement.
Each student will receive 12 Functional Integration lessons during the training, 3 per year given by the educational staff.