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Anatomy of Movement: Form vs. Function

Does form follow function or does function follow form? It is a little like the chicken and the egg, what came first? The human structure has evolved for hundreds of thousands of years to a unique upright stance. Yet this form depends on function (moving in gravity) to achieve its structure.

Humans are born with a spine. The curves of the spine, however, depends on working against gravity as the child develops and matures. Moshe Feldenkrais knew working with a person’s function (called functional integration) has a profound effect on form (creating neurological changes in the brain for instance). If one is able to learn (a function), then dramatic improvements (in form) are possible.

Rather than looking at form and function as two separate components, think of them as an integrated whole. One cannot exist without the other. Awareness Through Movement lessons are a wonderful way to discover the interplay between your form and function.

We may begin by scanning the imprint of ourselves (form) on the floor. As we progress through the sequence of movements (function) during the lesson, our contact (form) changes on the floor. By the end of the lesson, the experience of one’s form and function may be quite different from the beginning.

Function is more than just moving, it is also sensing, feeling and thinking. You may sense your form as taller and lighter, while your actions are freer and easier. It is the thinking that connects the two and is also enhanced in the process.

Conduct your own study of form and function with S3NSE’s online Awareness Through Movement Zoom lessons. For more information visit

Remember you are not only what you eat but what you do.


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