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Do You Move with Awareness?

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

I hope this year is starting well for you. Better than the last one, at least.

I often use the phrase “Movement with Awareness” to describe what I teach. I am not wholly satisfied with the term, but it’s been useful.

You see, I teach movement classes, but they certainly don’t fit into the “exercise” category. If you know the Feldenkrais Method®, you are familiar with the experience, but you may find it difficult to name what it is that we actually do in those classes.

I use movement to allow the brain to change, to learn, to grow. Movement is a rich field open for exploration. It allows us to examine how we function, what makes us tick; it also allows us to introduce small, controlled changes into what we do, and see how these changes make a difference.

All this exploration requires presence of mind, attention, or as we call it, awareness. If your mind wanders and you just move mechanically, the “exercise” loses its meaning completely.

So you see, this is fundamentally different from what we know as exercise. When you watch a movie or listen to music while doing your 30 minutes on the treadmill or the stationary bike, you accelerate your heart rate and build muscle mass. These are valuable things in themselves, but they don’t change your brain. They don’t improve your habitual patterns of action.

When we move with awareness we can examine our habitual patterns. We get the opportunity to find better options. We review our brain maps and make them clearer, sharper, more detailed. We can improve our functioning.

At the same time, we practice mindfulness: we call our mind to stay on the object of exploration, we come back to it when our mind wanders. And what fascinates me in this path is that it is a path of growth, learning and change for the better. You don't repeat a movement just because more is better; you don't imitate the teacher; you don't seek achievement or pursue a goal. Instead, you play, you vary, you stay open to the experience and awake to your sensations and perceptions.

That's why movement with awareness is so valuable to me. It makes me a better version of myself, one step at a time.

Michael Landau


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