Quite often after a lesson, particularly an early or first lesson a student will ask me ‘How do I do this for myself?’ And quite often my reply will start with a question:
“Who just did it now?”
That often results in some interesting discussion. Quite often along the lines of the student saying ‘well, you did it, you put your hands on me and moved me into a different position’ and we might find ourselves going into how the changes happened – that the student was able to stop engaging some muscles – an act which the teacher cannot physically carry out.
We might then go into a consideration of how come it felt like ‘something the teacher did’. Sometimes there might be a discussion around our sense of feeling and we might find out that our systems physically ignore a constant signal. This relates to the changes in a lesson.
We might have been engaging some muscles for a long time. If we continue to engage them for long enough we stop sensing it, stop feeling it. We are now no longer aware that we are doing something with those muscles – but we can still stop that muscular engagement! If this happens when a teacher has placed their hands on the student it can feel as if the teacher ‘did it’ or ‘moved the student’.
The students may really like this discussion and might conclude that they did stop something that they were doing and then we come to a place which seems to be full-circle when they ask:
‘So how do I achieve that? What I achieved when you put your hands on me?’
This sounds like the original ‘how do I do this for myself question?’ And it is similar but we haven’t gone full-circle back to the same starting point. It’s as if we’re now one step up on a ‘spiral staircase’. The student has moved on from ‘you did this to me’ or ‘you moved me into a different position’ to ‘you helped me to stop something which I could no longer detect that I was doing’.
But they would still like to know how to stop this by themselves. Then we are in a great place to continue our learning.