On January 3rd, nearly 50 participants rang in the New Year by learning something new about themselves. The 2nd DC Feldenkrais Festival offered the public an opportunity to engage in as many as five Awareness Through Movement (ATM) exercises, and, for a lucky handful, to experience Functional Integration (FI).
ATM and FI are, respectively, the group and individual formats of the Feldenkrais Method, a unique form of exploratory somatic education that can help people of any age or background to discover new and more comfortable ways to move.
Just like the 1st Festival, this event took place in a preschool classroom, an appropriate setting to revisit the non-goal-oriented curiosity of childhood. Led by Carol Regan, Seth Dellinger, Ingrid Willenz-Isaacs, Alex Devlin, Chrish Kresge and Arona Primalani, Festival attendees re-investigated the rich sensory experiences that correspond to such simple acts as rolling, twisting, turning, shifting weight and walking.
Those who came included people facing long-term challenges to their mobility, multi-tasking busy bees seeking to reduce stress levels, and several performing artists looking for new ways to express themselves creatively.
Following one of the morning classes, I had an interesting conversation with two members of the local contact improv (CI) dance community, a leader of a local Circlesinging vocal jam group and a former dancer seeking to regain some of the joy in movement that she felt she had lost in the process of aging.
One of the dancers said that, in his experience, connecting harmoniously with another dancer was not possible without having a deep inner connection with himself. Building on this idea, we discussed how the kind of self-knowledge gained through a process like Awareness Through Movement could provide a powerful impulse for many creative endeavors.
I later heard from a couple of different people that on the night after the event they slept better than they had in ages and woke up feeling refreshed. Now that is something that all of us could use a bit more of, isn’t it?!
These are just a couple of examples of how participants at the 2nd DC Feldenkrais Festival made discoveries about themselves that they could take with them to more fully enjoy the things that bring meaning to their lives.
Stay tuned – plans for the 3rd DC Feldenkrais Festival on March 21st are already underway!
Meanwhile, if you would like to find out what parts of your life could be refreshed by the experience of Awareness Through Movement, why not join a weekly class? (If you’re not in the Washington DC area, check here)