Year 1’s immersion in ATMs will establish the foundations of the Feldenkrais Method ®, as students develop attention to and awareness of themselves in movement, as well as begin to develop their observational skills vis-à-vis others. You will be introduced to the skeleton and the role of gravity, to muscular tonus, and to the importance of breathing. You will also come to understand the rudiments of rest, stability, ground, basic directions, orientation, self-image, imagination, rhythm, patterns, variation, “neutrality,” and their relevance to movement and learning. Principles of minimizing effort and of reversibility will be emphasized. From the beginning, it will be underscored that the Feldenkrais Method ® consists of both FI and ATM, and that learning to learn may be facilitated through verbal or hands-on guidance, or through a combination of the two. Students will begin to touch others this year in such a manner that touch becomes a safe and subtle means of communication (rather than as an instrument to change others).
Year 2 will focus on the structure of ATMs and how to teach ATM lessons. Some ATMs will be more complex or challenging and build on lessons of Year 1; others will represent a return to basics, as students figure out how ATMs are constructed and why they are as they are. The training this year will address, among other things, clear communication of scanning, positions, movements, and transitions in orientation; attention to one’s own voice and how it connects with others; adjusting lessons to particular groups or individuals; and other basic teacher-student interactions, including issues of emotion, trauma, regression and so forth. Discussions of muscular and neurological learning will occur. FI practice this year will move beyond touch to “technique” as students increasingly recognize how their own movements affect those whom they touch; they will begin to grasp FI as a potential dialogue. Students will also be encouraged to begin practicing with friends and family this year.
Year 3, students will begin to relate and integrate the self-explorations of themselves that they have done in earlier years, to FI’s and FI practice. Aspects of ATM movements will be translated or related to possible FI “techniques,” using rollers, the artificial floor, or tables. Students will continue to refine their touch through ATMs. They will observe one another working and also consider how work in kneeling, sitting, and standing relates to functions of crawling, sitting, and walking.
Year 4, along with an emphasis on putting together coherent FIs, aims to leave students or trainees with mastery of a “big picture” that integrates the “details” they have learned as to how the Feldenkrais Method works. The focus will be on what makes a good FI, how ATMs can help, and when it is important to trust oneself and deviate from recipes or expectations. In addition to dealing with the overall shape of a lesson, Year 4 will address how to create conditions for learning, how to listen to what clients do and do not say or express, how to relate a Feldenkrais lesson to what a particular client takes as an issue, and how to end a lesson. Students will be supervised as they work with outside clients. Issues of professional ethics, entrepreneurship, and participation in the Feldenkrais community will also be addressed.