Course Schedule: Sundays 12.00-14.00
Input from students that took the course:
Julia, PhD student in Biology: I’m happy to be a part of this wonderful group. As a strong supporter for a multidisciplinary approach on campus, I appreciate the opportunity of a great learning journey, between the body and mind within a research context.
Gur, PhD student in Physics: In the framework of movement and body practice combined with anthropomorphic and abstract scientific discussions, the course provides a unique platform of connection with the scientific creative process. The course was extremely fun, while at the same time providing a very unique set of soft-skills for scientific thinking.
Alon, PhD student in Biology: The course is like a poyke. A pot to slow-cook your ideas and mix them with disciplines that are too far on campus. Eventually, like in a good meal, you fill yourself with motivation and a clear mind for another day in the lab.
This course is an experiential course and not a quantitative science course. In this course the body sensations and actions are the object of subjective exploration. The objective of the course is to enable the mind to inhabit new territories and make new connections between different parts of the mind/brain. Our sensory-motor experience is the ground of our mind and cultivating this ground benefits the whole mind.
During the two-hour class, the body-mind of the student learns first to relax and recuperate from the stress of her or his demanding life. This relaxation is achieved by lying down on the studio floor and paying attention to breath, weight and the multitude of body sensations. The student, through improvised movement, begins to discover what her/his body-mind happens to do, what movement or pose feel good, feel right. This mindful improvisation creates a sense of wellbeing, promotes health and integration and awakens curiosity, creativity and awareness of general and deep patterns of reality, perhaps subconsciously initially.
In each class a specific theme or object of investigation will be explored. For instance, moving from different body parts and even body systems, movement in relation to gravity, patterns of relationship between body parts, relationships between different sense modalities, relationship with others through touch and weight and through sight. Solo, duet and group improvisations will be explored with specific guidelines. The attitude is focused and playful.
In this fertile ground the student will then be invited to show (so to speak) his scientific questions, articulating them, thematically, metaphorically, experientially, translating them into patterns that can be embodied imagistically, and in space and shared with the group playfully. One student guided the group in a simulation of protein interaction with our whole bodies. Mathematical relationships can be revealed through relationships between body parts and bodies in space. A state of relaxed alfa wave brain pattern as I am rolling on the floor and contemplating something can be the ground for an Aha moment.
All nature is pattern and we, as nature, embody these patterns and they can be revealed to us through us recognizing them in ourselves and together. We see our course as a transdisciplinary practice that can be viewed as a soft skill, or a night science skill. Scientists often speak of different nonscientific activities or situations that they feel aid their science. Our course is an attempt to consciously cultivate these situations in a methodological way through exploring basic presence in the embodied here and now.
After 4 semesters of offering this course, we have gathered a small group of students that have repeatedly taken the course during their studies. You never get it. It is a lifelong process of learning and enhancing one’s presence and awareness and in this sense, it is an invaluable support for the scientific life journey.