We do movement slowly in the Awareness Through Movement lessons. Can you tell us why slow movement is valuable?
The Feldenkrais Method involves slow movements but is not “about slow movements” per se; in fact as practioners advance in their understanding of the method there are quite dynamic movements, like shoulderstands, headstands, judo rolls and even handstands.
Feldenkrais is not about doing movement a certain way, it’s about learning to understand how you do movements a certain way.
The “slow movements” are a valuable tool to begin the process of becoming more aware of ourselves. It’s like if you discovered a new forest trail and wanted to go down it, if you ran down it you would not notice too much about the terrain other than what you were navigating to stay safe. If you were walking slowly you’d be able to simultaneously sense your environments, the scents, sounds, colors and also the feeling of your breathing and any little sensations from the unveven surface under your feet…
The benefit of slow movement is that you become aware of what you are doing. When your attention is focused in such a way, only possible by initially slow movements, you also have the potential to enter into an “embodied state” that can give people a huge sense of ease and joy.
What are some ways people are not listening to their own truth and are unaware of it?
There’s a term in Psychology called “confirmation bias” which is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.
I believe this is consistent with a process of “living our truth” or knowing ourselves. I think it’s a hard habit to break. We develop a very keen self-image and then cling to it to help us feel safe and on a directed course. Just as our self-image can be skewed so can our image of what we are doing and how we are living. We have to be cautious of living from a way that we were told, and then losing the ability to differentiate what we have learned as truth and what we have imitated.
How can people bring Awareness Through Movement lessons into their everyday practice to continue enjoying the benefits from your workshops?
There are so many little gems in any given Awareness Through Movement lesson. It is not important to remember the whole lesson, just to take note of what is particularly interesting to you. What is the essence of that moment? Maybe you learn that you can use your left leg differently than your right. Maybe you discover you breathe predominantly in the same way in all given conditions or that your ability to turn your head is different on one side or the other.
Whatever the discovery, the student can enjoy an autonomous process of learning where in life that shows up and how they can continue to become more aware of how those differences make a global affect on their physical or even menta/emotional functioning.
How did you build your own practice and self-care as a beginner and how has that changed?
Building self-practice is not about knowledge or sequencing, it’s about discipline. It has to come naturally and done at a time that feels right otherwise it won’t stick, won’t become a practice.
For me my self-practice hasn’t changed from when I was a beginner. It started with a “beginner’s mind” (open and curious!) and it remains so. My revelations and insights are deeper as my overall awareness has drastically improved but my self-practice doesn’t change.
How has your Feldenkrais training and experience informed your approach to bodywork?
My bodywork background is in Thai-style deep tissue work. I used to belive that if the client wasn’t feeling deep sensation then nothing was happening. I now believe the opposite. It has been my experience that intensity actually negates sensitivity and that the nervous system reacts to strong sensation but can learn from gentle touch.
My bodywork now is not about “doing something” to my clients or finding satisfaction in muscular change, which will inevitably reverse back anyway. I am now interested in helping my students/clients feel themselves better, move better, breathe better and deepen their overall body awareness.
What is your philosophy of personal development?
Personal development for me is sifting through what is fashionable or trendy in the “wellness world.” I feel people lean too heavily on other people’s ideas and beliefs and not on their own. I am interested in doing my best to peel back the layers to really understand myself in ways that are resonant and meaningful to me. I favor any method that encourages the student/practioner to be their own teacher/guide. Who else can truly know us better than ourselves!?
I think awareness is the core of personal development and the core of the Feldenrais Method.
Do you feel that self-awareness and self-acceptance may be an antidote to depression and isolation?
I don’t know if self-awareness is an antidote to depression and isolation. I think that self-awareness comes way before self-acceptance.
Depression is a complicated and plaguing condition. I am not a doctor or neurobiologist so I can’t speak to what happens in the brain when we become self-aware and I doubt that there is any empirical evidence of it at all.
Self-awarenss speaks for itself. It is the opposite of the control of our emotions and perceptions, it is pure being. My concept is that self-awarenss is somehow a basic knowing of being billions of cells and electrical impulses forming matter joining, infinitely with the matter around us. But before all that it is just feeling, a sense of wholeness and connectivity and there’s a magic in that that can help us feel less alone.
Who finds Feldenkrais?
Most commonly the people who are drawn to the Feldenkrais Method are those who have already injured themselves in one way or another or have come to a point in their aging process where they have a deep understanding of self-preservation.
I do work with children occasionally and many people in their 20s and 30s. I think this population arguably stand the possibility of experiencing the most meaningful long-term effects. If we can learn to move, think, act with less strain and in a more easeful and pleasant way BEFORE we ever injure ourselves, we might actually be able to withstand some of the demise of the aging process!
Tara Eden has been exploring movement as medicine for as long as she can remember. She believes movement is the key to a feeling of personal freedom, empowerment, creativity and peace of mind.
For over 20 years Tara has studied various components of movement: Using the Body as a Tool of Expression and Communication (BFA in Theater), Movement for Self-Empowerment & Breath-led Movement (Ashtanga Practioner) Movement as Therapy (Certificate in Dance/Movement Therapy), for Physical Fitness and Wellbeing (Yoga Teacher, RYT 500) and Awareness Through Movement™ (Feldenkrais Method™).
While based in New York City, Tara taught vinyasa and hatha yoga and brought it to the Hasidic Jewish community, inner city middle school, private high school, and private homes.
Tara’s fascination with the body prompted her to learn Thai Massage and years later, she relocated to Thailand to study with Master Pichest Boonthumme.
Today Tara practices Integrated Bodywork which helps the receiver illuminate their “dark areas” that create chronic tension (body & mind), facilitating deep relaxation, body awareness and more comfortable and efficient movement and/or breathing patterns.
Currently based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Tara’s project constantly evolves and she teaches internationally workshops and classes in Somatic Movement, Awareness Through Movement™and Somatic Yoga (building asana from sensory awareness and functional body architecture), as well as offers private Awareness Through Movement™ lessons and Integrated Bodywork sessions.