How does an Awareness Through Movement class usually go?
Awareness Through Movement classes are a type of somatic movement classes. They are more concerned with quality than quantity. In an Awareness Through Movement Lesson, a practitioner guides her students into a series of movement explorations. These sequences improve movement patterns or function such as : sitting, standing, bending, reaching. The aim of the lesson is not to perform the movement to its full extent. Rather, it is to explore various elements of that movement which could eventually make this movement easier and more effortless. In other words, the aim is to move mindfully with awareness.
Within the lesson..
The practitioner encourages her students to breathe easy and face challenge with patience. Rather than push oneself to make it work, the student can 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 or feeling. The teacher practitoner guides her student into series of check in questions. These questions address how the different parts are feeling and sensing. A scan is a meditative practice which is present in many other techniques such as yoga.
Following a scan, the teacher practitioner invites her students 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. As they move different parts of themselves, they see for themselves how adding elements to the movement can make it easier, effortless.
They are encouraged to try to perform a movement the habitual way, and to access a non-habitual way. These novel combinations are called variations. By learning new non-habitual ways of moving, the students add to their embodied vocabulary. They are then invited into series of repetitions which will help them consolidate this new knowledge so that it’s accessible for them in daily life.
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 sense the ways in which it has improved. The practitioner guides her student into a scan where they are asked: what has changed? And how has these explorations changed what they sense in different parts of themselves.
The goal of Awareness Through Movement lessons
is to shed light on elements that can make a movement pattern easier. Above all, those are elements which are usually neglected in our day-to-day life due to our daily habits like sitting for hours at a time. In other words, Awareness Through Movement lesson should be regarded as time that you dedicate to yourself, to what you are sensing a feeling, to focusing on how you sense yourself moving so that you gain awareness and eliminate effort. It can be a form of self-care and a space to explore without judgement, surrounding your movement with patience and curiosity is a safe environment, that in itself can make movement become easier.
Here is a video where different people talk about their experience in an Awareness Through Movement class.