awareness through the body
Awareness through the Body is a comprehensive curriculum of exercises that aim to raise awareness and to enable children to become conscious of their own perceptions and abilities so that they may actualize their full individual potential. The activities are creative and the children enjoy them. Gradually, almost without their knowing it, they develop concentration, focus, relaxation, and a sense of accomplishment. The first steps towards self-mastery are taken.
Classes begin by bringing the individuals into a state of receptivity so they can more easily become a witness of the many movements in their inner and outer world. The exercises lead the students to discover the complexity of human nature, and show them how to effectively manage that complexity.
The teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo form the foundation of the ATB program whose goal is awakening and growth of consciousness so the being may be ready to participate in the next step of evolution. This general framework has been supplemented by elements borrowed from a range of disciplines: hatha yoga, martial arts, dance, Taoism, physiotherapy, relaxation and breathing techniques. These elements have been adapted to facilitate the attainment of the goal and to suit the age and development of the children to whom they are presented. Originally the ATB curriculum was developed for the Auroville educational system including children from 4 to 14. Here at Udavi, where the program has been running for the last five years, it has been modified for a different context. At present the classes are offered only to students in 7th through 10th standards.
Children are allowed to learn and grow together in an atmosphere of protected freedom and harmony. It fosters the value of human unity which is one of the key points in the Auroville Charter.
Several principles underlie the ATB work. Fundamental is the concept of the “witness attitude” the observer within. By positioning ourselves in the witness attitude we allow ourselves to contact higher states of consciousness. Going deep enough we can discover the presence which is beyond mental and vital and physical movements yet which holds them all. This is a journey of self-discovery that continues throughout life. Basically it is understood that we are complex beings composed of different interrelated planes. Teaching is always a dialogue; students and teachers are always learning from each other and from the situation. Every moment in life, each activity, is an opportunity for expanding awareness. For the children there are three guidelines for the attitude in the ATB classroom: First, take care of yourself. Second, take care of the others. Third, take care of the materials. In this work students and teachers unfold together.