What if you’re not confident about teaching Awareness Through Movement®?
Lots of Feldenkrais® practitioners find Awareness Through Movement® classes a safe way to start building a practice. Others are terrified to teach Awareness Through Movement for a variety of reasons. We were talking about this in our Success Circle call just this week, and I wanted to share a bit from that call with you.
For many people, the basic problem of confidence in teaching Awareness Through Movement is compounded by not having adequate teaching resources. Generally speaking, the lessons you did in your training are not the best lessons to begin learning to teach Awareness Through Movement to the public… and personally, I don’t think that the Alexander Yanai lessons are the best for your learning, either, if you’re not confident – although there’s a nearly endless supply of them!
What does make a good resource for a Feldenkrais practitioner who’s building a practice and wants to increase confidence in teaching Awareness Through Movement? Here are several criteria I find useful:
- The lessons are constructed simply.
- They are easy for the student to do.
- They’re discrete lessons – they begin and end in one session, rather than running on for days, like the lessons in training programs do.
- They cover a wide range of functions so they’re useful for almost any client group.
I’m sure you already know about the several series of lessons Moshe Feldenkrais recorded – it’s likely you may even have them. They’re unquestionably wonderful, and for some Feldenkrais Practitioners, they’re a little pricey.
Did you know there’s a series of “classic,” discrete lessons at a really great price?
I’m talking about the first set of Awareness Through Movement recordings I’m aware of that was NOT in Moshe’s voice. It was made by Bruce Holmes, who was one of my classmates in Moshe’s San Francisco training, waaay back in the ‘70s! We got to know each other pretty well right away because we shared a flat on Haight Street that first summer.
Bruce made a series of 48 Awareness Through Movement lessons that are now available on a CD for the astonishing price of $40! You can find those Feldenkrais Lessons right here.
I recommend them highly because they fit all the criteria I listed above and they’re an economical resource for Feldenkrais practitioners. They’re perfect if you want to increase your confidence in teaching Awareness through Movement, expand your repertoire of classic lessons, or just lie on the floor and take care of yourself.
How do you use these resources to increase your confidence in teaching Awareness Through Movement?
In the beginning, when I was among the terrified to teach ATM – I started some small, low-fee groups at rec centers and senior centers. I had a few classes each week and they were on the same schedule, so Week 1 for one group was Week 1 for everyone. I taught the same lesson to everyone and I’m not ashamed to say that I used notes to do it! Sometimes I made a transcript and used it while I taught. I knew I had to make it as easy as I could for myself, because otherwise, I wouldn’t do it!
Here are some of the ways teaching simple, easy Awareness Through Movement lessons helped me build my confidence –
- The structure of each lesson began to make sense as I watched older and younger people do it in all those different settings – and because some of the groups were bigger, I began to realize how to watch the group to get the information I needed.
- I saw where people struggled and I began to differentiate between the struggle that came from not understanding my words, not being able to think outside their current box and not having the physical capacity to do what I was asking. Once I could see one thing as different from another, I knew what I needed to do to help them.
- I learned how to vary what I said so that people could understand the steps more easily. Giving directions is really important and we often need more practice doing it, because even though your words make sense to you, you aren’t necessarily speaking to everyone in the room.
- I found out when I could leave out certain parts of the lesson — in a small group, you probably don’t need all the variations you need in a bigger group — and you have to learn what to pay attention to in order to be able to make the experience relevant for your students!
- I started to know lessons well enough to teach without notes and I stopped being afraid of what to do next if I forgot what came next… and that happened a lot!
If you’re having trouble building confidence in your practice skills, becoming adept at teaching Awareness Through Movement can help significantly. Not only does it help with teaching ATM itself, it also gives you a strong base for understanding how to construct Functional Integration lessons.
And if you’re looking for resources to help you build your confidence in teaching Awareness Through Movement, check out Bruce’s Feldenkrais Lessons … and tell him I said “hey!”