Saturday, August 24, 2013
back at the beginning..getting clearer
Today I went to day 1 of year 1 of the newest feldenkrais training in nyc. Partly to make up missed days, and partly to see how things have changed for me, after two years. Boy, have they changed. When I began the program, I spent the first year in constant anxiety over whether or not I could even learn this stuff. During the atm lessons, I would feel so incompetent because I could not distinguish what I was feeling much of the time.
Today, the atm lessons were enjoyable! I was shocked. All the insecurity that often comes up for me around these training atms --just wasn't there. I could live with not being able to sense some things What was happening during the movements was much more clear than before (though probably not much more organized! , and I did not feel the need to push myself too far. Rest more, do less movements is my new mantra. I feel like the first two years of the program were to teach us how to go about doing the lessons. This is a lifetime practice, like ashtanga. The movements even felt pleasurable at times, which was a new feeling for me. The lessons in the first few segments are ones that are appropriate to teach the public - ie. to teach someone unfamiliar with the method, whereas the lessons we have halfway through the training, are much more advanced, and meant to give us the sensory skills to teach effectively and to do one on one work.
One of the ideas that David, the head of the program here, emphasized today, was that by "trying" to accomplish something in the lessons, with the movements, we create hindrances for ourselves. Not trying to get anywhere will paradoxically help you progress faster with the movements. I have been reading Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind, lately and it recounts studies that come to similar conclusions. In one study, people who are made to verbalize their thinking when working on a problem that requires insight (rather than logic) will actually reduce their chance of solving the problem. In others, feelings of stress or anxiety (even stress of getting a good reward) will limit a person's ability to recognize unconscious or semi-conscious data/impulses/etc. I can attest that being stressed out because I can't tell which side a movement feels easier/harder on does not help me sense anything else in the lesson. Having a relaxed attitude and letting the confusion stay, just that, as confusion, allows me to eventually (or not) have it become clearer.
(as an aside, this reminds me of my dropback challenges. Trying too hard literally makes me bring my head up too early- literally leading with the head causes a total fail. more on that perhaps next week)
Training was still exhausting, however..that doesn't ever seem to change! When my brain is tired..I am tired, and no amount of sugar or chocolate or coffee will change that.
I go back tomorrow, for more. At least this means that making up days in the training this way will be enjoyable. Good thing since I have a lot of days to make up.