SURF’S UP 2020

 In Jenny's Blog

The other day at a local surf-break I was watching a surfer catching wave after wave, his young daughter draped koala-like over his back, laughing together and enjoying every ride and wipe-out. He would choose a wave, pop up to stand, occasionally ride in and sometimes flop back in to the surf. Together they would surface in fits of laughter and then paddle back out to repeat their game. He made it look completely effortless and he showed no sign of slowing down. This was a beautiful display of quality movement. I finished my swim, caught a wave in, and eventually headed home.

Recently a friend asked me if she and her partner could come along to classes. She wondered if it may help them cope better with the rigours of their surf holidays. After a few daily surf sessions, the tired, aching neck, shoulders, and niggles from old back injuries start to interrupt the daily surf itinerary. This inspired me to work on this Workshop for January 11th. Obviously, they are brilliant movers already, but perhaps finding more efficient movement, and some good warm-up and cool-down sequences, will provide some tools to get them through their week. 

In an ATM (Awareness Through Movement ®) class, we are learning to find and refine quality in our movement. The hallmarks of quality are comfort, ease, reversibility, ability to breath throughout the movement, and congruence with your intention. Added to this, it is graceful or aesthetically pleasing.

With any activity, we develop habits around how we perform. Some habits are helpful, and others may cause pain, stiffness, and fatigue. After a long surfing session, muscles have had hours of repeated movement and/or holding patterns (for example, lying belly-down on your board, with your head and upper back raised during paddling). The nervous system puts up a “do not disturb” sign and we forget how to let go. We also get very adept at muscling through movements as we are oriented toward a goal, like catching that next wave. With the Feldenkrais Method we learn to use more of our body in a movement, meaning there will be less strain on one particular area. If you can manoeuvre your board around with the sense of how to involve arms connected to your torso, this will mean you shouldn’t pull up so sore in the neck and shoulders the following day.

The learning in an ATM class is through moving slowly enough and with enough focus to notice qualities like smoothness, precision, and ease of effort – in just the right quantity to accomplish what you wish to do.

On Saturday 11th January from 8am to 10am I am teaching a couple of ATMs for Surfers with the aim of helping the young ones find some good warm-up and cool-down movement sequences. Salty Dogs will gain from finding improved flexibility and ways to find whole body movement, in the hope that old injuries do not re-appear. Look forward to seeing you on the floor! Check out the details here:

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