“ Awareness Through Movement” (ATM) classes, of which there are at least a thousand, cover all the nuanced and surprising ways in which we are potentially capable of moving. In these classes, groups are guided towards slowing down and becoming more mindful about how they move, so that they can understand what their habitual self-organisation might be and discover how to organise themselves for movement that feels both more pleasurable and more powerful. Much unlike conventional exercise regimes, the intention in an ATM class is less oriented towards exercising the body so as to make it move or look a certain way and more oriented towards exercising attention, learning how to develop a certain self-caring quality of attention and an ability to direct that kind of attention back and forth between an inwards sensing of the bodily foundations of the self and an outwards sensing of the world around us.
The medium for this gentle training of attention, which could otherwise be phrased as a training of the brain, are the various sequences of functional movements which compose ATM classes. The movements, approached in a trial and error, playful manner are keys to unlocking improvements in our ability to harness the whole of ourselves, in a coordinated fashion, so as to make our movement pain free, more efficient and even, with practice, more graceful, elegant and easy. Together, the playfully approached movements and the state of self-caring attention afford the opportunity for reviewing and revising the details of our current muscular habits, the ways we habitually organise ourselves for tasks such as reaching, pushing or walking for example, while presenting possibilities for something different, less difficult, less hampered by unnecessary efforts, or at the very least more choice and other options.
If you prefer some experiential understanding of ATM, try out the short ATM above, helpful for hip pain or for anyone with hips!