My name is: Niki De Saint Amour.
My stomping ground is: I am based between San Diego and NYC.
I’m known for being: I am a somatic educator and researcher in the method of Feldenkrais. The method is somatic (related to the body) education that works intimately with the prefrontal cortex, the “curiosity” part of the brain. By using subtle physical engagement, the brain is reoriented towards a process rather than a goal.
I teach awareness through movement, which is the “learning how to learn” part of the Feldenkrais Method, as it is experienced through gentle movements executed while primarily supine. Each movement is meant to bring one’s attention to an expansive physical state. Attention is where awareness begins. Awareness begets ever-evolving ways to know oneself. The outcome of this cultivated awareness is more self-feeling and self-perceiving, which compounds into self-knowing.
I’m talking about: With the many distractions we are faced with, it’s hard to focus and pay attention. The Feldenkrais method is designed to increase the field of attention towards expansiveness, and what can also be called mindfulness.
Feldenkrais works by tricking your nervous system to adapt with ease to unknowns, which are the moments where we find an intensification of our growth. What happens when we accept our continual forming/body shape instead of seeking permanence? We discover that our lives are an adventure, an emotional odyssey, a myth.
Through the Feldenkrais method we cultivate the tools and resources within ourselves to navigate all the difficulties the journey of life may bring with grace and ease.
You can find it at: I work one-on-one with people online, helping them get out of their thinking mind and into their feeling body. Sessions can be booked at somatic-reality.com. I also teach two group classes a week on Wednesdays & Sundays @ 12:30pm EST at theinvinciblehall.com.
My interest was sparked when: I have been teaching somatic education for over a decade, exploring movement through various modalities. I have done intensive study with Tom Meyers of Anatomy Trains, Judith Aston of Aston Kinetics and my mentor in Feldenkrais Method, Lavinia Plonka.
A few years ago, I attended Lavinia’s 7-week workshop focused on resetting the nervous system. The experience was transformative. I grew a quality of attention within myself and found a more connected sense of living.
How it works is: I have a background in jiujitsu and locomotive/gymnastic movement, which interplays with elements of the methods found in Feldenkrais. The martial arts of jiujitsu and judo informed the development of the method. It’s unique in that it de-conditions our physical habits in order to adapt to the present moment. Our habits and conditioning are hidden within our muscular posture. Contrary to psychoanalysis, Moshe Feldenkrais looked at patterns in the body. He addressed muscular habits in order to transition a mental neurosis into an easeful physical state by bringing a person’s musculature into harmony with gravity. When your body is in a state of balance, so is your mind.
After a session, students practitioners find that they have a profoundly different perception of themselves. The inner and outer worlds feel united. Often people report feeling a sense of peace as they become more connected to their experiences.
My hope is that students walk away from a session in awe of the mystery of living. I hope they find awe & wonder within their bodies.
Mindfulness is important to me because: The word “mindfulness” has become a trend and misunderstood. I do not use the word. Instead, I think about the qualities mindfulness evokes within me: expansiveness, attention, and awareness.
Instead of fullness, the place I aspire to is void because within the void lies creativity. Awareness is spaciousness.
This quality of awareness has helped me become more gentle with myself and, therefore, I relate better to others.
One truth that’s so important, but is difficult to retain is: Awakening through awareness refines our sensitivity, making us more attuned to pleasure, which in turn encourages creativity and expansiveness, adding even more pleasure to the joys of being alive. This is a divine truth.