While, for most Americans, an ATM is a machine from which we get cash, in Feldenkrais, an ATM is a lesson from which we get better self-organization and improvement. It stands for Awareness Through Movement.
A typical lesson involves a group of students lying on mats on the floor while the teacher guides them through a series of movements.
I have also taught a series of ATMs in chairs at Senior Centers for the Feldenkrais Foundation, as well as a class for Seniors at the Y in Washington Heights.
There are thousands of ATMs. Some lessons are athletic, others involve working solely with the imagination. This one was adapted into a dance. This one features a baby doing many things that look like Awareness Through Movement.
Contact me to schedule a lesson for your rehearsal process, your arts group.
Private ATMS also available
What to Expect in a Class
A Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement class usually begins with the participants lying on the floor on a mat, while the teacher provides verbal instruction. The first few minutes of a class give the students some time and guidance in noticing where they are and how their bodies are organized in the moment.
Then, the students will be guided through a series of slow, gentle movements – lying on the back, the side or the belly depending on the lesson. Each lesson is designed to provide a renewed understanding of how parts of the body relate to each other and to the whole.
Each lesson focuses on a different movement sequence or organization and each one is adapted to the people in the room. Some lessons can be quite small (there are eye lessons and jaw lessons, for example) and others are more expansive (like a lesson that moves from the floor to standing.) Each one helps the nervous system understand something about self-organization.
At the end of a lesson, students will be guided to sense themselves in standing. Many will feel taller, wider or lighter, depending on the lesson and the person. Some of my students have called the whole experience a Moving Meditation. And certainly, like a meditation practice, we work with attention and awareness – but sometimes it can be as basic as trying to figure out how to grab your foot from a new angle.