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Lessons for Freeing the Spine, Chest, Shoulders, and Neck

A course of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) audio lessons. Each can be studied on its own, or you can work your way through the whole series to learn in-depth how to better organize your torso to reduce pain and stress, and improve your comfort, flexibility, breathing, posture, balance, and power.

Lessons can be repeated as you wish, so follow your curiosity! If a lesson isn’t comfortable initially, it’s fine to skip it and come back to it later; you don’t have to go through them in this order. When there’s a close link between adjacent lessons, it’s mentioned in the Context tab of the lesson notes.

Freeing the Spine, Chest, Shoulders, & Neck - Feldenkrais Method with Nick Strauss-Klein

Before you begin read this first to learn your responsibilities as an ATM student and practical tips to help you get the most from your studies.

Scroll down and click on a lesson title to go to its audio player, interactive lesson notes, and discussion comments. Descriptions of each lesson give you a sense of its aim, though everyone’s learning process is unique and you may find other benefits.

1. The Ultimate Self-Hug »

Back-lying, learning to use the feet – and later, the arms in a self-hug position – to roll the body and reach to the sides. Setting up later lessons in this collection through developing suppleness of the torso and integration of the feet and eyes as they relate to smooth weight-shifting. "Walking" the hips and shoulders along the floor. Recorded in a series of classes about posture, balance, and grace.

2. Simple Twisting »

Back-lying, often both knees bent. Tipping crossed legs and eventually "triangle arms" to gently twist, turn, and roll the body, in order to learn more awareness, control, and coordination of the major flexor and extensor muscles of the torso.

3. The Periscope »

Side-lying, using a reference movement of the arm standing like a periscope. This lesson softens, mobilizes, and integrates the use of the chest and shoulders.

4. Softening the Ribs »

Lying on the back and sides, with some rolling transfers between, hands often on the lower ribs, learning to sense and soften the ribs, spine, and shoulder blades and integrate their movement with the pelvis and legs.

5. Reaching, Rolling, and Ribs »

Back-lying, side-lying, and learning to transition between the two efficiently and comfortably. What happens when we reach so far we can't help but change orientation? A more advanced lesson (it's ok, as always, to skip or return to it later).

6. Spine Like a Chain, Freeing the Shoulder Girdle »

Back-lying, knees bent, learning to gradually lift and lower the pelvis and spine. This variant of a classic Feldenkrais lesson cultivates awareness especially around the middle and upper spine and ribs, the shoulder blades, sternum, and C7 (seventh cervical vertebra) region.

7. Chanukia, the Candle Holder Lesson »

Mostly in back-lying, knees bent. Using a precise configuration of the shoulders and elbows to mobilize and build awareness of movements and relationships of the shoulders, shoulder blades, clavicles, sternum, spine, head, pelvis, and the whole rib structure.

8. Bending Sideways »

Framed with standing explorations of shifting weight, this back-lying lesson explores important and often underrepresented functions (in our self-image of movement) of bending sideways, and connects them to improving balance, and our use of the hips, spine, chest, neck, head, and functions of the legs and feet.

9. Spine Like a Chain, with a Bias »

Lying on the back, knees bent. This lesson explores the basic human function of the legs pushing the pelvis forward into the world. It creates opportunities to better sense and articulate the spine and ribs, and organize the flexor and extensor muscles, all within the frame of discovering and using your natural spinal bias.

10. Advanced Twisting Part 1 »

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.

11. Advanced Twisting Part 2 »

Prerequisite lesson: Advanced Twisting Part 1. Back-lying, using the tilted crossed legs as a constraint to help learn more suppleness and better upright organization of the spine, chest, shoulders, and neck, with awareness of and sensitivity to one's own biases.

After you complete the collection, returning to favorite lessons or progressing through from the beginning again will yield new insights. It can be very surprising to new Feldenkrais students how lessons you “know” are a completely different, valuable experience on subsequent explorations.

You might also want to browse our Learning Guides for ideas to help bridge your Feldenkrais learning into everyday life, or continue your studies with our Learning the Limbs, from the Center collection.

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

1 Comment. Leave new

  • I arrived at this site nursing an overuse injury to my thumb and wrist; so I decided to begin my exploration with this series. It was magic, and opened up the channels of arms and ribs and heart. A wonderful way to begin the immersion into feldenkrais

    Reply

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