Studying ATM at Home

Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (known as ATM) lessons are powerful learning tools for self-improvement, whether studied in class or at home. Please read this page before using my free streaming audio ATM lessons.

Your Responsibilities as a Feldenkrais ATM Student (right below) are essential reading. Scroll down for practical tips like what to wear and what to lie on. And if you’re looking for a little more context, here’s one page summarizing what ATM is and how to do it.

Your Responsibilities as a FELDENKRAIS ATM Student:

  • If you have any concerns whatsoever about beginning a movement and awareness self-study program, check with your doctor.
  • Breathe, relax, and take your time. The lessons are designed to prompt neuroplastic changes in your brain, rewiring habits of movement and awareness to create more effective and pleasurable self-use. There’s no value for hurried action in the natural human learning process the Feldenkrais Method harnesses.
  • Never continue movements that are increasing your discomfort. Rather, take even slight increases in discomfort as a curiosity prompt and a source of creative inspiration: how can you enjoy yourself more in these or similar movements, in the very next moment? You should adapt the movements as necessary. There is nothing in Feldenkrais Method lessons that will benefit you if your nervous system perceives a threat. Increasing discomfort qualifies as a threat, even if we’ve built habits of ignoring it in other aspects of our lives. It’s essential to your learning and improvement that you don’t ignore discomfort during Feldenkrais study.
  • Avoid “autopilot” (rote movement repetition). ATM movements have little to no value when you’re not attending to them. Feeling bored of a movement? Sense around your whole body; you’ll probably quickly find a sensation you weren’t aware of. How is it related to the current movement? Or rest: rest your attention and pause or ignore the lesson for a few moments — you need the break!
  • Exercise your curiosity, improve your comfort, and cultivate your fascination with yourself. The Feldenkrais Method is designed to teach you how to learn from yourself. You can pause the recording any time to rest or to play more with movements you are particularly enjoying.

Practical Study Tips

  • You’ll need to be able to lie down on a carpeted floor or a blanket or cloth mat for about an hour. Yoga mats generally have too much friction, though a bath towel on top of a yoga mat can work.
  • The in-browser streaming audio players works well from all computers, laptops, and mobile devices with a web browser. It’s really easy to listen through your smartphone, tablet, or laptop — put it next to you on the floor! If you have any trouble, please email me.
  • Dress in layers or be sure the room is warm enough. This is not aerobic or strength-based exercise; these lessons are a challenge to your awareness, coordination, and self-use, and we learn and improve in those spheres most efficiently using slow and often small movements.
  • Have a bath towel or two nearby to fold to different heights for head support as needed. You’ll find that different heights are more comfortable for different positions (lying on your back, side, or front). It’s assumed that you’ll take the time to place whatever support you need under your head at the beginning of the lesson, and with every change of position. Unless required for your comfort, using a regular pillow or cervical roll for your neck is not recommended because it dampens the free movement of the head.
  • The directions are always relative to you, in your current position. For example, lying on your back the ceiling is forward, not up. Up is toward the top of your mat. Or, lying on your right side, forward is toward the wall in front of you, the ceiling is to your left, up is still toward the top of your mat. I’ll repeat and clarify directions frequently.
  • If you “get lost” it’s usually easiest just to wait until the directions clarify things. You may back up the recording, but even if you don’t you’ll often find your way after a minute or two.
  • If you find you can’t get comfortable and you are unable to alter the movements in a way that helps, you can skip a lesson and come back to it after trying other lessons. They are all very different. The order of lessons and series on this site is one that works well for many people, but not all.
  • It’s best to do a whole lesson in one session. If you need to pause and return to it later, continue it by improvising on movements your remember from the first part of the lesson for a few minutes before resuming playing the recording.
  • Don’t do more than one lesson in a row without getting up to walk around and taking at least 10-20 minutes to rest. One lesson per day or one every couple of days is an excellent rate of study. Less often is fine too! You can make a “workshop” and do several in a row, but take a leisurely pause before moving into the next one.
  • It can be very rewarding to do lessons shortly before bed, as people often report sleeping very well after doing a lesson, and the brain rest time is great for integrating new learning.

Interested in more tips and descriptions about this learning-from-yourself process? Try this page.

OK, now head back over to the ATM streaming audio lessons page and dive in!