As we look forward to FAMI 2012 with much anticipation (registration is now open!), here’s a final look back on FAMI 2011 through Priti’s eyes, ears, and…touch! Soak up her wonderful insight & read on for FAMI praise~
Life After FAMI by Priti Radhakrishnan
It has only been three months since FAMI. Somehow it feels longer. In my mind, much of the dust has settled, and I’m able to concretize the ways in which my teaching is different, the ways in which my relationship to pilates is different as a result of FAMI.
Not long ago I was a student in the Kane School teacher training program; I can crisply recall Kelly (Kane) telling me and my fellow teacher trainees to make sure our map of the body was strong, to know where we were headed before embarking on the journey of touch. Now, after FAMI, when I use my hands to palpate, I know that I possess a clearer sense of where I am going. It is a refined intuition, a more mature instinct than it was a few months ago. My hands, it seems, have a mind of their own. They find the muscle or the bone they are looking for, and have an intention for where to go next, and a deeper understanding of where from they came. In cuing or adjusting with my hands there is little hesitation or even thought, just an ability to navigate that seemingly does not come from my mind. As a newer teacher, it is a powerful transformation to succumb to trusting one’s own intuition – and in doing so, I have found a space, a moment, in which healing is possible.
In addition to teaching clients, FAMI has changed my ability and my confidence toteach other movement professionals. Since July, I had the opportunity to teach four Teacher’s Labs at Kinected. At FAMI we were challenged to think differently about our own exploration of the human body, to redefine our learning process of bones and muscles. As mentioned in an earlier post, we were asked to think out of the box – to view anatomy as dynamic, not static, to think of groups of muscles in terms of movement, and to understand the meaning behind words and actions. In doing so, my comfort level with the body, and teaching what I know to others, radically shifted. I began to teach labs to other movement professionals, designing the time in a way that participants could absorb the anatomy by experiencing it in their own bodies. It felt completely different to teach teachers, after seeing the diaphragm itself, and the relationship to muscles that attach to the ribcage such as the scalenes or the quadratus lumborum. A new template for learning the body emerged for me, learning the bones, then the muscles, through movement, touches, names and actions. Anatomy no longer feels daunting to me, it feels like it fits.
Before I sign off, I want to share with you that I reached out to folks from the conference to ask them if they feel like their teaching practice has changed after FAMI. The responses were eloquent…I’ve enclosed excerpts from their emails below.
“No matter how many times I viewed the iliopsoas (for example) in Trail Guide to the Human Body or looked at my Netter flash cards, I would always question the accuracy of my description, whether I was describing it internally to myself or describing it to a client for cueing purposes. Now that I have seen it in prosection, gazed upon the muscle fibers and actually touched it, I feel that I can trust my concept and understanding of the muscle. It is much easier to visualize something that you have actually seen and touched.
In the study of human anatomy and the anatomy of movement, so much time is spent dissecting the human body into its component parts, identifying the actions of individual muscles. This is a necessary evil in the learning process, but it often results in a fragmented and two-dimensional understanding of the human body that is less than accurate. Seeing how the muscles lie, one on top of the other, enveloped in and divided by fascia, made me realize that although we often talk about isolating a single muscle in an exercise, there will always be several structures at work.
We were guided toward this understanding by the incredible FAMI faculty, all experts in their fields; these gifted lecturers were brimming with knowledge and the genuine desire to share that knowledge. Under their supervision, I got to touch the spinal cord and the nerves of the brachial plexus. I held a human heart. I was blown away to discover just how incredibly smooth articular cartilage actually is. Holding the tiny and perfectly crafted bones of the inner ear was another impressive moment. After seeing a total knee replacement, it is still hard to fathom that someone had the guts to saw off the ends of two giant bones and replace them with man-made imitations in metal and plastic – and that it actually works!
I could go on and on about these “wow” moments. The best part about having this new knowledge, resulting from a true visceral experience, is that I can tell it’s really going to stick – the information is a part of me. I now view the human body with appreciation and reverence, as a wonderful paradox: beautiful simplicity encompassing endless complexity.”
Lauren Alzamora Pilates Instructor & Teacher Trainer, Kinected
“I find that one can never review anatomy too often. A new level of understanding sinks in each time. Getting to see prosections has aided in my being able to envision proper or more beneficial biomechanics, which in turn helps me troubleshoot my clients’ movement dysfunctions. Being literally reminded of the three-dimensionality and interdependence of the body (“the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone…”) in such a way is so much more effective than looking at an anatomical chart or reading a list of muscles. As a pilates instructor, whether in the rehab department at the hospital or in my private practice, I only hope that I can teach with the passion and genuine joy that Dr. Laitman and Dr. Reidenberg do as I continue to help others learn about their bodies through movement.”
Steven Fetherhuff, PMA Certified Pilates Instructor Integrative Care Center, Affiliated with Hospital for Special Surgery
Through interesting out-of-the-box lectures and Gross Anatomy Lab sessions, I was able to immediately expand my sense of the body as a 3-dimensional, dynamic being. Looking at and handling real specimens is both a privilege and a new mode of understanding muscles, bones and nerves in unexpected and crucial ways. We all have some grey areas in relation to the shapes of specific muscles, the sizes of certain bones, how certain joints behave, etc. When you are able to concretely explore, with the adept aid of enthusiastic professionals in the medical field, there is a huge advantage…
We also learned about common difficulties and injuries, and this is an integral part of the domain of movement professions. It is an area of great responsibility precisely because I am not a medical practitioner, and therefore, there lies a need to understand what is appropriate and safe to do with clients. I feel more comfortable in addressing clients’ injuries and conditions because I have a clearer sense of what is happening internally, and what certain common issues actually are.
In working with clients after the workshop, I found myself picturing parts of the body how they actually are and from the inside, and with a better understanding of innate musculo-skeletal structures by touch, and their associated movements.
The FAMI Workshop provides an open door to real learning because it is about exploring the most important elements of the body for movement professionals. It is the best anatomy course I have ever taken! Thank you FAMI!”
Sandrine Harris, Recipient of the 2010 FAMI Student Scholarship; Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, Kinesoma