Loose comfortable pants and a small pillow for head support is all you need for the Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class at Tawazon Studio. ATM is a 60-minute class where you learn to train and understand your body and breathing habits.
In a calm and sunny room, the session starts with all the students lying on their backs breathing regularly and trying to imagine, through a scanning technique, the prints their heels, calves, thighs, buttocks, back, neck and head leave on the floor. “If your neck had ink on it, what print would it leave on the floor?” asks Marwa el-Sawi, a certified ATM instructor.
This process is structured to make the students gain awareness about their bodies and their relation to gravity through simple questions by the instructor about how they feel, what feels light and what feels heavy, which body parts rest well, and which ones are uncomfortable on the floor.
Breathing control is the next step. The students are asked to breath using the see-sawing technique which consists of inhaling air into the chest then pushing it back to the stomach, and then back again to the chest while exhaling. This process allows internal insight within the body and especially the respiratory system.
Afterwards the students assume several body postures while see-saw breathing. This allows more knowledge of our bodies: how we stand, sit and bend, how flexible we are and how we see and feel different body parts. Coordination is important as the student is required to take a specific position on the floor while still concentrating on his breathing technique. If any strain or discomfort occurs, students are asked to rest and only imagine the position in their heads.
After each position the students stretch out and breathe regularly for a couple of minutes to recognize the effect of their last position and what feels different, body-wise.
“I feel taller and my shoulders are wider,” says a student after the session is over. “Try to remember how your body felt after the session and recreate the feeling during the day,” says el-Sawi. She adds that there is no wrong feeling during an ATM session; every sensation a person gets during the class is right.
Tawazon Studio is on Youssef el-Guindy Street, building number 5, second floor. The ATM classes are offered on Sundays at 3:30 PM. The session costs LE50 but the first class is for free.