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Free While Constrained: a miniseries

Lessons learned in quarantine

At the height of the early pandemic lockdown in the USA I taught my newly online weekly class some challenging lessons as a supportive somatic metaphor. I offered these explorations as a way to practice responding to life’s new limits – the constraints of quarantine – with sensitivity, curiosity, and grace. The students and I also were craving sophisticated lessons to sink our teeth into as a nurturing escape from our fears.

Over the year I’ve chosen to add all of the April 2020 lessons to Straight from Class, our always-growing collection of additional lessons for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors. Patrons may find additional learning value by exploring them in the same sequence the live class enjoyed. You could do as many as one or even two per day. Taking a few days off or up to a week between them is great too.

The first two lessons are free to all, provide learning context, and are referenced in the April lessons; if you’re already familiar with these March lessons you might skip them. For access the rest of the miniseries, please login to your Patron account (then use your browser’s back and refresh buttons) or join the Feldenkrais Project as a Patron: click to learn more about donation or our donor benefits.

Note: the March 31 and all four April lessons are more difficult than most of our lessons, and are not recommended for Feldenkrais beginners.

March 24: Arms Like a Skeleton, with a Bias (FREE): Back-lying. This quiet, simple presentation of a classic Feldenkrais lesson becomes the background for a potent exploration: how does seeking and sensing our natural spinal bias – and resting our attention with it or away from it – affect how we move, feel, and function? Recorded near the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, this lesson starts with a four-minute talk about embodied equanimity.

March 31: We didn’t publish this day’s recording as a Feldenkrais Project lesson, but the lesson I taught was a combination of Advanced Twisting Part 1 and Part 2 (FREE): Back-lying, tilting the crossed legs to organize the flexors and extensors, and eventually using the tilted crossed legs as a constraint to help learn more suppleness of the spine, chest, shoulders, and neck. Part 2: learning better upright organization, with awareness of and sensitivity to one’s own biases.

April 7: Moving Your Head and Legs Backward (Patrons only): Mostly front-lying, frequently one knee pulled up your mat. A sophisticated exploration of primary arching organizations in combination with twisting and pushing off the ground, from head to toes. Begins with a brief “ATM rules” reminder about taking care of yourself in challenging lessons.

April 14: Free While Constrained: Quiet Head, Twisting Spine (Patrons only): Back-lying. In this lesson you’ll explore your options for moving freely while your head is constrained under the gentle weight of your hands. Among other benefits, it’s designed to improve everyday movements of the carriage of the head, as well as the coordination and ease of our whole self while we orient our head one way and move our bodies another.

April 21: Buttocks Organizing the Spine (Patrons only): Mostly front-lying. Exploring and integrating contractions of the buttocks with different movements and configurations of the axis (pelvis, spine, and head).

April 28: Free While Constrained: Side-Bent, Stepping Down (Patrons only): See the Curiosities tab for student feedback I read to the class right before this lesson was recorded. Mostly back-lying, some front-lying. Enjoy the rich internal reconfigurations and freedoms that are prompted as you learn how to use your legs and pelvis with ease while your head, spine, ribs, and shoulders are constrained in a gentle side-bent position. Themes of skeletal support and sensing your primary spinal bias are also touched on. The bias is discussed briefly after the lesson.

Enjoyed the through-lines of this series? You can continue following the progress of the live class: the three lessons that comprise “The Main Event” in our Rock and Roll! (and Rotate) miniseries were recorded May 5, 12, and 19, 2020.

We all thrive when more people are doing more Feldenkrais. Please share this resource!

2 Comments. Leave new

  • As Melbourne (Australia) is now in our 4th COVID Lockdown I am starting the Free While Constrained Miniseries. Thankyou Nick for all your wonderful classes.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      May 28, 2021 1:27 pm

      Hang in there. I’ve been so amazed by how wise and response Australia has been to the Covid realities. Honored to be part of supporting you through this. And thanks for your generous support of The FP!


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