Sue, a cranial ostheopath of thirty five years experience, had some very interesting comments about the psycho-physical benefits of being supported by air. During an ATM lesson she had found that placing her foot on a ball leaning against the wall was wonderfully helpful. This had immediately eased the excruciating pain in her pelvis which she had experienced when placing the foot directly on the bare wall. (The pain had taken her straight back to a traumatic road accident over twenty years previously.) Lying on the air-table had a similarly beneficial effect on Sue. She observed later:

“It was definitely to do with the softness which suddenly opened things up: You are not resisting because you are not resisted. That enables something to happen and that’s when you suddenly go “Oh, it doesn’t hurt any more!”

What I see in the air work is that it allows the freedom of one’s system to integrate with itself instead of reacting (to the wall or the feeling of threat)... It’s the yielding which enables you to escape the reactive pattern.

If you have impingement from outside, you are aware of what is impinging and that puts you into the external dialogue. Working with air one is dialoguing with oneself. It made me aware how little I have done that in my life, or should I rather say how constant the external dialogue is and how much one moves to the pressure of the external dialogue.

One of the most important things I learned from that: If something is the truth, it applies to every level of being. So if what one is feeling in one’s physical system is how much one opposes what is met in life, that is probably also the case in other areas, whether it’s interaction in relationships or something else.

I always feel light and free and invigorated after a Functional Integration session. But this time [on the air-table] I felt much more open. It’s just no barriers! – Oh, it’s not a loss of sense of the skeleton, but I’m not impinged by the concrete form. I feel very like I could bounce around. Free as a cloud, that sort of thing. ... So it’s all much more open – in all directions. One’s awareness is not so restricted. It’s as if one could project outwards”.

See Resources for an article on Functional Integration as Dialogue entitled: “Feldenkrais Learning in the Light of David’s Dialogue Model”

Escaping reactive patterns