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“…rest is the vital principle which recuperates. It regalvanizes the nerve-centres, collects the scattered forces and so reinvigorates the body.” Genevieve Stebbins, Dynamic Breathing and Harmonic Gymnastics ©1892

I was in a dance class the other day where we were moving in 4/4. One of the steps was a syncopated turn in 3 counts, and then a rest. 1, 2 and 3, rest. As the instructor repeated the words, I remembered someone recently asking why we rest in Awareness Through Movement® lessons. I had explained the need to integrate the movement, how we don’t allow this space in our daily lives.

As we turned, then paused, I realized that the rest was not just a break. It was part of the movement. Like the pause between breaths, the “rest” in a lesson is part of the melody, full of life and import.

Feldenkrais said, “Movement is life. Without movement, life is unthinkable.” But to intentionally choose stillness with awareness is part of the movement, like being the ocean, rising, cresting, resting, in order to begin again. It’s like winter in a four season climate, the earth pauses in its symphony to rest. Spring, summer, fall, rest. Unlike hanging out on the couch watching TV or going to sleep at night, taking time in the day to pause and actually experience the paradoxical movement of stillness connects me with the dance of life.