Touch, making contact: fingers, palms, arms and pelvis…
Maggie introduced her Awareness Through Movement class this morning, with a presentation on neuro plasticity: the structuring of experience within the brain, and the influence of Brain-Derived Neutrophic Factor (BDNF).
I don’t really understand how it works but she seemed to be describing a switching mechanism in the brains neuro chemistry that shift between the development of new patterns and the use of established patterns – well that’s a gross simplification, but it did start me thinking about how I might work in a more detailed way with audience experience at a neuro-psychological level.
After this talk we paired off and where asked to make contact with out partner by sitting in chairs opposite each other and placing out right palms together in front ourselves, and exploring what we do and feel. After a few minutes, Maggie invited us to talk with each other about our experience of this contact, and then asked us to give an account of what our partner told us to the rest of the group. I enjoyed this test of our listening and recollection.
We then repeated this task with a focus on exploring how we could feel more comfortable within ourselves through postural adjustments, shifting our weight on the chair, initiating the forward/backward motion of our palms in space from subtle movements in our pelvises, and eventually through the inclusion of our sternums in the gentle push-pull action.
Paying attention to my own organisation on the chair, feet on the floor, and feeling through my hand, into Lizzie’s hand, through her hand and into her posture, provided me with a great experience of the Feldenkrais Functional Integration work as an interaction between two nervous systems: two systems, working together as a third system.
In the third part of the lesson we did an Awareness Through Movement lesson that involved ballancing books (folders) on our right foot, and exploring our ability to gently and easilly tilt this book in various axes: forwards/backwards and left/right. Afterwards, I was suprised at how softly this foot fell to the floor when we where asked to plonk it down onto the floor, and how much softer was the ripple effect of this action through th erest of my pelvis and thorax – the other foot by contrast caused a mild jolt through my pelvis upto my head (movement of spine).