I am often asked by Awareness Through Movement ® students what they should do in between classes. I have some answers to this question that often surprise people: Firstly, you don’t have to do anything. However, if you feel curious to do more, take a few minutes to see what you remember of the lesson, and do whatever pieces you remember, in whatever order, with awareness. How often? As often as interests you. Stay curious.

Recently, though, I mentioned off-handedly, after a Walking Awareness Through Movement class, that you could “play with this stuff” when you’re out walking anytime. A student asked pointedly, “How do you play?”

In important ways, playing is quite different from remembering parts of the class. Below is a first approximation of a handy-dandy cheat sheet:


How to play with the Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement process when you’re not in class.

In play, there are infinite ways to get to the same destination
In play, there is no destination, just the journey
In play, there is your experience of yourself
You may experience play as effervescent flow
or as gummed up confusion or anything else under the sun

It is play if you are aware of yourself in a state of play

What follows are not instructions, but suggestions. They are in no particular order. I offer no recommended time limits or numbers of repetitions:

  • Choose to begin, or notice you have begun, playing.
  • Turn your attention to your breath. Open to sensation.
  • Identify a certain movement or part of a movement that may be interesting to you (it feels great; it doesn’t feel great; you want to master it better; it jumps into your attention and announces itself, etc.)
    • Exaggerate it a bit. Really get to know it.
    • Slow it down. Sense what is happening in other parts of yourself as you make the movement. (You could follow this train for hours.)
    • Change the rhythm of the movement. Imagine it going to different pieces of music. Now it’s Marvin Gaye, now it’s Vivaldi…
    • Experiment with coordinating the movement with your breath. If you’re already coordinating it with your breath, reverse the coordination (place the inhale where you were exhaling and vice versa). Alternatively, free the rhythm of your breath so that it moves independently of the rhythm of your movement.
    • Change your foundation. For example, if you’re standing on two feet as you make the movement, try shifting your weight slightly to a different part of your feet, forward, back, right or left. Feel how each different position changes your movement. You can change your foundation more radically, too. If you’re standing, do the movement sitting, on hands and knees, lying on your back, your side, or your belly!
    • Change the orientation of your eyes. If they’re open, close them, and vice versa. If your open eyes are fixed downward, fix them slightly upward, or right, or left. Unfix your eyes; move them in ways that interest you.
  • As you explore, notice if you are wondering if you are doing it right. Laugh aloud at the notion.
    Notice if you are telling yourself that you’re doing it wrong. Repeat after me, “There is no wrong movement, there is no wrong movement, there is no…”
  • Notice if you are choosing not to be playful because others might catch you at it. Here are some remedies:
    • Make your movements like 007 secret agent movements. No one could see something that small.
    • Imagine the movements or the small changes in emphasis you’re exploring, rather than doing them in space.
    • Pretend you’re doing tai chi in the park.
    • Pretend you are five years old.
    • Do it with a five-year-old. Even the Queen is given a pass when playing with kids.
    • Get over yourself. No one’s paying attention to you.
  • Turn your attention to your breath. Open to sensation.
  • Choose to end, or notice you have ended, your play session.
  • Make a play-date for another time.

Here is a little inspiration for your play:


(Originally published August 2011)

How Do You Play?
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