What to Expect in an ABM Neuromovement® Transformational Movement Lesson
A TML (Transformational Movement Lesson) is a group class taught by Anat Baniel Method® (ABM) Neuromovement® practitioners. They are usually done in lying (on mats or blankets), in sitting on the floor or on a chair, and occasionally in standing.
You should come in comfortable clothing that you can easily move in and wear socks unless otherwise instructed. The teacher (practitioner) will read/use words to guide the students through the lesson. Rarely will he/she correct you, for the intent is to gain more freedom in your mind and body. You will have to explore movements yourself, within certain parameters that will be provided in words for you.
It is very important that you feel safe and are comfortable in the lesson. If at any time you experience any pain or discomfort, find a way to change your positioning or get some cushions or support to decrease the pain, or ask your teacher for assistance. There is no “toughing” it out in these lessons. If you are in pain or uncomfortable you will miss the opportunity to pay attention to yourself during the movement and notice small differences that could lead to change.
The lessons are slow and gentle, for students of any age and any ability. A skilled teacher will provide variations to accommodate those with special needs of any sort. If you are unable to do a movement without experiencing discomfort or for any other reason just do the movement in your imagination. Try to imagine every aspect of the movement in as much detail as possible.
You should do each movement gently and slowly with a great deal of attention. There should be no stretching or straining. Some lessons may resemble stretching but do not fall into that habit. Take it as an opportunity to reset your limits, and challenge yourself to stop, even when you know you can do more. You will gain so much more by doing less in these movements, and begin to pick up on finer and finer differences in the lessons as you continue your practice. Each movement is like a sentence, there is a beginning, middle and end. Then try to take a short pause and repeat the movement again and again, exploring different areas that are participating or not participating. You should always be looking for ways to reduce the effort and to do less.
Your teacher will ask you some rhetorical questions, or questions to bring your attention to certain aspects of yourself or the movement. You do not need to answer these out-loud but just allow them to guide your experience. Often they will be highlighting areas that are working hard and do not need to be involved. These are habits that you may not have noticed in the past. Take this as an opportunity to connect and lessen that effort. There are often lots of short rests provided for you, but at any time you feel the need to, take a rest. Lie on your back or in a comfortable position for you and rest your mind and body. This especially applies for lessons involving the eyes, these can be quite taxing if you are not used to them, so rest if you become dizzy or feel uncomfortable.
These lessons have been created in a way that provides the opportunity for change, however, you may not always experience massive shifts. On the other hand, at times you may feel quite asymmetrical at the end of the lesson, or emotionally shifted. These differences are important aspects of neuroplasticity. Your brain needs to notice differences to create new pathways. Do not try to equalize the differences by stretching, and be gentle in your exertion immediately
after lessons. Allow the changes to be noticed, find enjoyment in the positive shifts that you are experiencing. Let your brain know what feels good.
You may not always be asked about your experiences in the class. Don’t take this as an insult but as the opportunity to savour your experiences as your own. You do not necessarily have the words to communicate the changes you have experienced.
“I am not interested in flexible bodies, I am interested in flexible minds”
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais