Movement is life. But in which way, which mental state, can movement be performed? For example:
- Moving the body to perform a task.
- Moving the body to explore oneself and one’s movements.
This could be a sliding scale. On one side already learned, canned (boxed and shipped) habitual movements, like scratching the head or putting one foot in front of the other while walking. Maybe most of our every day habitual conversations and speaking patterns could be on that side too. On the other side I would put this: moving without performing any specific task other than deepening the awareness of ourselves and our (spatial) relation to the environment.
When brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, playing tennis, putting on socks, doing Yoga, lifting weights in the gym, exploring Feldenkrais lessons, where would you position the slider on my Zombie-Hyperawareness-Scale?
When engaging in movement exploration in somatic education, we are encouraged to direct our attention to the sensations, qualities, and nuances of our movements in the present moment. We could call that “Mindful Movement” lessons, of which there certainly are many different types, schools, teachers and qualities.
But what is a good lesson? What is a movement (and movement sequence, and a movement quality) that leads to all the great benefits listed in today’s blog post?
This is my contribution for today, this question: What makes for a good lesson?
It’s a question you can ask yourself while engaging in lessons of various types, schools and teachers. It’s a question I’ve already asked myself probably tens of thousands of times.
I finish today’s blog post with some clippings and pickings of a conversation I had with ChatGPT about Mindfulness, Feldenkrais, and other somatic education practices. It’s a list of some of the things and benefits I would look for in and after a good lesson. Here’s ChatGPT’s writing:
In somatic education practices, the emphasis on present-moment awareness during movement exploration serves several purposes:
- Sensory Perception: By paying close attention to the sensory feedback of movement, individuals can deepen their awareness of how their body moves, the quality of movement, and any subtle shifts or patterns within their own kinesthetic experience.
- Non-Judgmental Observation: Present-moment awareness in movement exploration encourages non-judgmental observation of the body’s responses, sensations, and limitations. It allows individuals to witness their movement patterns and habits without evaluating or imposing preconceived notions.
- Refinement and Learning: Through heightened present-moment awareness, individuals can refine their movement patterns and explore new possibilities. By noticing subtle changes and variations in movement, they can learn to move with greater efficiency, ease, and adaptability.
Alfons: What are the real life benefits of “Sensory Perception, individuals can deepen their awareness of how their body moves, the quality of movement, and any subtle shifts or patterns within their own kinesthetic experience” ?
ChatGPT: Deepening sensory perception and awareness of one’s body movement can have several real-life benefits. Here are some of the potential advantages:
- Improved Body Awareness: Developing a heightened sensory perception allows individuals to become more attuned to their body’s signals, sensations, and movements. This increased awareness can help detect early signs of discomfort, tension, or imbalances, enabling timely adjustments and preventive measures.
- Enhanced Movement Efficiency: By deepening their awareness of movement quality, individuals can refine their motor patterns and optimize movement efficiency. They become more conscious of unnecessary tension, inefficient habits, or compensatory movements, allowing for smoother and more coordinated actions.
- Injury Prevention: Sensory perception enables individuals to notice subtle shifts, imbalances, or potential risks during movement. This awareness can aid in identifying movement patterns that may contribute to strain, overuse, or injury. By making adjustments based on sensory feedback, individuals can reduce the likelihood of injuries and promote safer movement practices.
- Pain Management: Heightened sensory perception can provide valuable information about how movements affect the body, including areas of discomfort or pain. By recognizing the impact of certain movements on pain levels, individuals can make more informed choices, modify movement strategies, and find ways to reduce pain or discomfort.
- Movement Confidence and Skill Development: Increased sensory awareness fosters a sense of agency and control over one’s movements. It allows individuals to refine their movement skills, explore new possibilities, and develop a greater range of movement options. This increased confidence can positively impact activities such as sports, dance, or performing arts.
- Emotional Regulation: Sensory perception is not limited to physical sensations but also includes the emotions and psychological states that arise during movement. By deepening their awareness of these internal experiences, individuals can develop a better understanding of the mind-body connection and cultivate strategies for emotional regulation and stress management.
- Mindfulness and Presence: Sensory perception and movement awareness are integral components of mindfulness practices. By engaging in mindful movement and being fully present in the sensory experience of each movement, individuals can cultivate a deeper sense of mindfulness and connection with the present moment.
These benefits can extend beyond specific movement practices and have a positive impact on daily life.