What do we do in Feldenkrais-inspired somatic movement classes?

I sent a quite elaborate and lengthy class description to Priscilla, my marvellous organiser for my upcoming online class, my contribution to her series, “Live with LULU”.

The class is free and open to the public upon RSVPing, the date is Thursday, March 31st, 2022, 6:00pm-7:30pm EST / 3:00pm-4:30pm PST, the RSVP sign-up form is here, you’re welcome: https://forms.gle/Xt1pT3XKiH9y9pSL8

And while I was thinking about my elaborate and lengthy class description this morning, I was thinking that I might have served them a stack of recipes rather than the menu. Therefore, I was thinking about what I could say what we actually be doing. And since thinking is one thing, and writing down thoughts another thing, please hear… er… read… the thing… it is what it is (says love):

What do we try to experience?

  • Improvements in our movements, in terms of smoother, easier, lighter, less painful, more pleasurable, warmer, more relaxed, better coordinated, better distributed and load balanced, better connected, using less effort, …
  • Becoming more aware of our physical selves, one’s parts/areas (e.g. the shape of the shoulder blade), and how they move, and connect and influence each other
  • Afterwards, feeling better than when we started

So, after having described some of the experiences we try to experience, or at least I try to help you to experience, I thought it would also make sense to describe what I do not consider when I plan classes:

What is not the primary purpose of my classes?

  • They are not designed for entertainment purposes, and thus might not work well to entertain a general audience
  • They do not work well for cardio or building muscle mass, even though they might help to improve your Calisthenics, Weight-Lifting, Pilates, Yoga, Gyrotonic, etc. practice

How do we achieve these experiences?

Here’s where I often stumble or confuse myself in my explanations. I try to supplement the first point (What do we try to experience) with explanations. Maybe to make my point, or to prove my point, heaven knows why.

There’s many things we will do, for example, introduce non-habitual movements, make differentiations, experiment with the reversal of proximal and distal, shift our attention in movement initiation, shorten chronically contracted muscles to release them, use reference movements and rests to make comparisons, …

How do I not teach?

I don’t use instructions on how to do something “correctly”, rather I create learning situations to allow the before mentioned experiences to appear.

What’s new?

The question I discovered recently is something about the theme of a lesson, as a movement teacher would call it, or the story, as a storyteller would call it. How do single events, or single movements, match together? How do we create a consistent narrative, where every new movement contributes to the development of the story, er, theme? What is an embellishment, what a distraction, what a relevant contribution?

How do I pick movements? What kind of movements qualify? Which movements qualify, which don’t? Which movements do relate to each other? Which movements do relate to each other closely enough? Which movements do relate to each other closely enough to… to… to achieve these experiences?

And how do I find movements that I didn’t know in the first place? Well, here we have the art and craft of storytelling. Here we solve this last question through writing, or speaking. An author is only an author if he writes, and the successful ones would add: daily. If he writes daily. And in movement? Through moving, if we move, if we move daily, I suppose.