Errors are essential, and there is no right way to move, only better ways

Extract adapted from
The brain’s way of healing: Stories of remarkable recoveries and discoveries
By Norman Doidge MD Scribe Books

Feldenkrais didn’t correct errors or “fix” people.

He emphasized:

Do not be serious, eager, avoiding any wrong move. The kind of learning that goes with Awareness Through Movement is a source of pleasurable sensations, which lose their clarity if anything dims the pleasure of it all … Errors cannot be avoided.”

To teach people to leave a problematic habit behind, he encouraged them to try random movements until they found one that worked better for them. Instead of correcting errors, he encouraged them to notice lack of flow in barely detectable movements. They learn, he insisted, from their own movements, not from him.

In ATM lessons he encouraged pupils to set aside the critical faculty:

Don’t you decide how to do the movement; let your nervous system decide. It has millions of years of experience.”

In a sense, he was asking his pupils to perform a psychoanalytic free association – using movement, instead of words – so that their own spontaneous movement solutions would emerge.


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