In an Awareness Through Movement Lesson, a practitioner guides her students into a series of movement explorations which are designed to shed light on a certain movement pattern of function such as : sitting, standing, bending, reaching etc… The aim of the lesson is not to perform the movement to its full extent necessarily, rather, it is to explore various elements of that movement which could eventually make this movement easier and more effortless.
Within the lesson, the students are encouraged to breathe easy and face challenge with patience. Rather than push oneself to make it work, the student is encouraged to try different tactics that can help. We will talk about these tactics later.
The lesson usually begins with a scan, a practice which encourages the student to “check in” with what they are sensing in different parts of themselves, or how these parts are represented in their imagination or self-image. A scan is a meditative practice which is present in many other techniques such as yoga.
Following a scan, the student is invited to perform a certain movement, usually a reference movement, which they will be working towards improving.
The students are then guided through series of explorations where they are invited to move different parts of themselves and see for themselves how adding elements to the movement can make it easier.
They are encouraged to try to perform a movement the habitual way, and to access a non-habitual way. For example, if my habit is to interlace my fingers in such a way that my right thumb is closest to me, I am encouraged to also try the other way around with my left thumb closest to me. This allows me to explore a movement within a space that is slightly unfamiliar and therefore add a new way of being into my movement and learning.
At the end of the lesson, the students are then asked to perform the reference movement which they performed at the beginning of the lesson and see if it has changed. They are asked: what has changed? And how has these explorations changed what they sense in different parts of themselves.
Ideally, an Awareness Through Movement lesson aims to shed light on elements that can make moving easier, elements which are usually neglected in our day-to-day life due to our daily habits (like sitting for hours at a time etc..) An Awareness Through Movement lesson should be regarded as time that you dedicate to yourself, to what you are sensing a feeling and to focusing on how you sense yourself moving. It can be a form of self-care and a space to explore without judgement, as we used to do as children.