How to get the best results from Awareness Through Movement®

How to get the best results from Awareness Through Movement®

Excerpts from Learn to Learn: A Manual by Moshe Feldenkrais

Do Everything Very Slowly

To enable everybody – without exception – to learn, there should be plenty of time for everybody to assimilate the idea of the movement as well as the leisure to get used to the novelty of the situation. There should be sufficient time to perceive, and organize oneself.

Look for the Pleasant Sensation

Pleasure relaxes the breathing to become simple and easy. Excessive striving-to-improve impedes learning. It is less important to learn new feats of skill than it is to master the way to learn new skills.

Do Not Try to Do Well

Only when we have learned to write fluently and pleasurably can we write as fast as we wish, or more beautifully. But “trying” to write faster makes the writing illegible and ugly. Learn to do well, but do not try. The countenance of trying hard betrays the inner conviction of being unable or of not being good enough.

Do Not Try to Do “Nicely”

A performance is nice to watch when the person applies himself harmoniously. This means that no part of him is being directed to anything else but the job at hand. Intent to do nicely when learning introduces disharmony. Some of the attention is mis-directed, which introduces self-consciousness instead of awareness. Each and all the parts of ourself should cooperate to the final achievement only to the extent that it is useful.

Insist on Easy, Light Movement

Learning takes place through our nervous system, which is so structured as to detect and select, from among our trials and errors, the more effective trial. We sense differences and select the good from the useless: that is, we differentiate.

It is Easier to Tell Differences When the Effort is Light

The lighter the effort we make, the faster is our learning of any skill. We stop improving when we sense no difference in the effort made or in the movement.

Do Not Concentrate

Do not concentrate if concentration means to you directing your attention to one particular important point to the utmost of your ability. Therefore, do not concentrate, but rather, attend well to the entire situation, your body, and your surroundings by scanning the whole sufficiently to become aware of any change or difference, concentrating just enough to perceive it.

Do a Little Less Than You Can

By doing a little less than you really can, you will attain a higher performance than the one you can now conceive.

Adjust to Your Capabilities

If you are unable to do exactly as instructed because of injury or incapacity, follow the instruction “approximately”, and you will gradually do better.

Never Overcome Pain if for Some Reason You Feel Pain

Do the movement just short of reaching the extent that causes pain. Gently repeating the movement short of pain will enable you after a few minutes to extend the range of your ability more than you would accomplish by overcoming pain.

What is Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement?