A colleague asked me if I was going to be posting these awareness ideas as mp3s. There are some great podcasts out there, a lot of proper Awareness Through Movement lessons of various lengths and many of them absolutely free – a quick search on iTunes will connect you to some great material. The Feldenkrais Guild UK has been producing mini podcasts for the last two years as part of Feldenkrais Awareness Week, and this year we will be giving them away in CD format, but you can still download them all from our website. His question made me realise something. We always talk about two different ways of teaching Feldenkrais, but it is not true, there are three ways, working through a sequence of movements that lead to new ways of being and doing (Awareness Through Movement, or ATM), experiencing the same processes directly through touch in a one-to-one lesson (Functional Integration, or FI) and most importantly, applying these new possibilities for yourself in your daily activities, ideas for which are often given as homework after private sessions. This third process should be emphasised much more than it is by Feldenkrais teachers when we talk about what we do. This is not about following a formal lesson sequence, it is about experimenting with the way you walk, sit, bend down, dance, play your instrument, even the way you brush your teeth. I have more to say on this subject, but if I do not get on with giving you some ideas to play with then yet another “tomorrow” will go by without an actual posting from me!
Exploring Your Sitting Bones:
If you sit forward on you chair it can become a great place to do Feldenkrais, with the short term benefit of giving you a little break during the working day, and the long term benefit of improving your sitting posture in a way that can really benefit your spine and hip joints.
Can you feel your sitting bones underneath you? If you are not used to sensing their position you can find them easily by reaching underneath your buttocks with your hands. How do you do this? Do you rock over to the left to lift your right buttock, or does your head stay pretty central? The less your head moves right and left as you shift weight on your buttocks, the more your spine has to flex to each side, whereas the more your head moves the less your spine is bending. The great thing about this is that the movement that is less likely to draw attention to your fidgeting is the one that is most stimulating for your spine. If you are sitting in front of a desk, try out these movements with your hands resting on it, as this will enable you to allow your shoulders to soften more and more as your pelvis and rib cage curve left and right. Otherwise you may like to rest your hands palms upward on your thighs.
As you get better at sensing your sitting bones you can be more refined in your movements – can you make a small circle around one sitting bone only? Notice if you tend to hold your breath when you are concentrating and make sure you let yourself breath freely as you play. The roundness of your circle is an indicator that you are improving your muscular awareness around each hip joint in a very precise and accurate manner.
For general instructions click here.
More ideas for sitting awareness will follow later in the week.