Last week in lecture, a few guest speakers came to discuss animal behaviors, human’s self-awareness through movements, and etc. One of the speakers was Deborah Forster who has a PhD in cognitive science from UCSD.
Dr. Forster walked the students through a series of movements to bring self-awareness to our bodies. She explained that the movements are similar to meditation because they help human beings to pay attention to their bodies and learn more about them. Also, she emphasized on the fact that they were called movements instead of exercises because the purpose of the movements was to bring awareness to our human bodies but not to overwork our muscles to a uncomfortable level.
We began with moving our heads up and down, and then she asked us to find a focal point when we look up. After find the focal point, we did a few basic movements. The movements were similar to stretching, which include moving our heads and shoulders. Then she asked us to look up again and whether our focal points have changed. Most of us agreed that our focal points have gotten higher than the ones before the movements, including myself. I was impressed by the fact that my body and my head moved in a wider range because of the basic movements. Seeing a higher focal point proved that our movements became wider, which gave me a funny feeling. I did not even realize that my focal point has changed at first. However, the result made me pay more attention and think more of my own body. I wondered how easily our bodies could be altered by such basic movements and the fact that people seldom pay attention to their own bodies because they are very distracted by the things around them and forget about inner self.
Dr. Forster’s exercise reminds me of yoga and mediation, yet they are slightly different. Although the movements and yoga both bring self-awareness to human bodies, yoga teaches people to slow down and pay attention their bodies through different poses, which are sometimes extreme. However, her exercise only takes a few simple movements to show us that our bodies are capable to do more things than we expect. Through the basic stretches, we take a minute to pay attention to our bodies instead of all the other things we worry about every day.
Moreover, Dr. Forster not only brings self-awareness to people through teaching the movements, she also promotes the idea of intersections of art and science. Although she did not get into a lot of details, but she teaches contemplative movement to architecture students at Woodbury in Barrio Logan. She also mentioned that she assigned them a project to combine what they learn from the contemplative movement and architectural ideas. The project shows that the students become more creative through the combination of art and science and that the intersection helps people to explore and learn more in both fields. Therefore, her contemplate movement not only brings self-awareness to human bodies but also demonstrates that science help people to take on different perspectives in art.