When you’re ready to explore the lessons visit our Easier Sitting collection.
For many people sitting and driving — two of the modern world’s most common demands on us — are frequently challenging or even painful. During my career as a Feldenkrais teacher, I’ve noticed that most people who come to me with concerns about discomfort in sitting have the idea (consciously or unconsciously) that if they could just find the “right” chair and the “right” way to sit in that chair they would be able to engage in sedentary activities for hours without moving much.
I used to believe this, too, when I was studying to become a concert pianist. My intended livelihood required me to sit on a piano bench for 3-5 hours a day. I was rarely comfortable for much of that time, but I did what we so often think we have to do: I hunkered down into the position I thought was best, accepted the pain, and got my practice hours in. Over the years the unnecessary efforts, pain, and inefficiency of my static sitting began to interfere with the freedom of my arms and fingers for playing the piano. I developed repetitive strain injuries that traditional medical approaches couldn’t relieve. Luckily I discovered the Feldenkrais Method, which helped almost instantly when I began to think about myself as a whole and support myself far more dynamically.
In the 20 years since, my understanding about sitting has been maturing. Though I frequently study and teach lessons that benefit sitting, I thought it was time to share some of my learning more directly.
In December 2017, I recorded the first of these lessons, Driving and Dynamic Sitting 1 which I designed to help you develop your learning-from-yourself skills through guided awareness and movement experiments, and to intellectually stimulate you about options available in sitting.
The strategy I used was to divide movements into three planes (here’s a simple graphic and explanation from elsewhere on the web), then lead the students through experiments about how thinking, sensing, and moving in one or more planes can create much more dynamic and creative self-images of pleasurable, sustainable, dynamic sitting, even while somewhat confined in the driver’s seat.
With these new self-images in mind, and some floor-seated practice at the beginning and end of the lesson, you can experiment more with how you sit in everyday life. I’m seeking to offer options of movement and weight-bearing that give you a lively, curious, dynamic relationship with the seats in your life, instead of a passive, static one. Particularly in the first lesson the idea is getting to know how the use of your whole spine in the sagittal plane (front/back or rounding/arching) affects your movements in the transverse plane (also called the horizontal plane: turning, looking around your horizon).
In early 2018 I recorded Driving and Dynamic Sitting 2, an entirely chair-seated lesson. In this lesson we explore the sit bones in detail in all three planes of movement, using basic seated Feldenkrais material made popular in Relaxercise, by David and Kaethe Zemach-Bersin and Mark Reese, my favorite Feldenkrais handbook. If you’d like some related lessons with text and illustrations to study after doing my lessons, here’s an Amazon link.
Later that year I recorded the Easier Sitting Workshop presenting these same principles through different lessons. The workshop is perhaps the best place to start, so I’ve put it at the beginning of the Easier Sitting collection, but you can also begin studying this collection with either Driving and Dynamic Sitting lesson.
My primary hope with these recordings is that you’ll begin to discover that you have a lot more options available while seated, including in the car. Over time, you’ll continue to discover more and more comfortable sitting by studying these lessons, paying attention to yourself, and improvising on what you’ve learned in regular life situations.
Safety first: As stated clearly in the recordings, if you’re working on how you sit and move in your car seat, please practice only when the car is parked.
– Nick Strauss-Klein
When you’re ready to explore the lessons please visit our Easier Sitting collection.