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Getting Oriented

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Welcome!

On behalf of our global listener community, and the donors whose generosity powers the Feldenkrais Project, we are glad you're here! We think it makes the world a kinder place when more people are learning how to move and feel better. In case you're wondering how to say it, Feldenkrais rhymes with "paradise"!

The Feldenkrais Method harnesses neuroplasticity, the brain's curiosity-based ability to change and improve itself and our body's behavior. It's our vision to enable and support this learning birthright for everyone on the internet with no barrier to entry.

Please explore our freely offered lessons below! While most Feldenkrais classes are an hour, Getting Oriented is our series of eight short Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lessons and brief talks designed to introduce or refresh the basics. We'll cover some of the movements, guided attention techniques, and learning principles that Feldenkrais ATM study utilizes most often.

We hope you enjoy these lessons – if you do, please share them! And if you have the means, please join the Feldenkrais Project to support our work and enjoy our donor benefits!

– Nick Strauss-Klein, creator and voice of the Feldenkrais Project

Click on a track title to go to its audio player, interactive study notes, and listener discussion.
FAQ is below

Descriptions of each lesson give you a sense of its aim, though everyone's learning process is unique and you may find other benefits.

Back to Basics

5 minutes

Talk: We Can Learn to be Better for Ourselves, Moment to Moment

An introduction to this Getting Oriented series, and to Lesson 1. Nick talks about why Feldenkrais helps, how Feldenkrais ATM lessons work, and how to take care of yourself and learn as much as you can.

35 minutes

Lesson 1: Spinal Support and a Powerful Pelvis

Back-lying, often tilting one bent knee. Improve the comfort, awareness, and organization of your hip joints, pelvis, back, chest, shoulders, neck, and head. Starts with a “body scan,” an awareness technique used at the beginning of most lessons.

3 minutes

Talk: Reducing Excess Effort and Sensing the Skeleton

Intro to Lesson 2. Nick talks about the antigravity function of bones and the challenge of learning to sense what better skeletal organization actually feels like.

24 min, chair-seated

Lesson 2: Dynamic Sitting and Chair Clock

Explore and improve seated uprightness by getting to know your sitbones and learning to feel more clearly where plumb is. Discover different ways of moving and supporting yourself in a chair through explorations with the head, shoulders, chest, spine, pelvis, and feet.

Access Your Axis

6 minutes

Talk: The Why and How of Growing Taller

An intro to lessons 3 and 4. Nick talks about the function of vertebrae and the axis, maximum skeletal length, unnecessary shortening, why trying hard can’t make us longer, and the power of imagery.

36 minutes

Lesson 3: Length Without Effort

Begins in standing briefly, then mostly back-lying, knees bent. Relating and improving turning and twisting functions from your head down to your feet and back, and becoming more sensitive to the movement and length possibilities between them.

26 min, chair-seated

Lesson 4: Sitting and Turning with Length

Improve turning and twisting while seated in chair. Access and enjoy your full length in motion even while seated, including head and eyes, pelvis and knees, and everything in between.

Stretch Without Strain

5 minutes

Talk: How We Respond to Strain

An intro to Lesson 5. Nick recaps our explorations so far and talks about the choices we have when we sense strain, the dangers of “should,” and the value of choosing curiosity.

39 minutes

Lesson 5: Stretch without Strain

Feldenkrais isn’t stretching, it’s learning! Mostly side-lying. Learn greater ease and mobility of your shoulders, neck, ribs, and hips, and discover how a reference twist of sweeping a long, straight arm sideways through the air can improve without any strain at all!

3 minutes

Talk: A Radical Idea About Muscles

An intro to Lesson 6. Nick talks about how our muscles are rarely acting of their own accord, and how there’s usually a skill and awareness-based path to reducing unintended muscular efforts.

23 minutes

Lesson 6: Strength Without Excess

Feldenkrais isn’t exercise, it’s learning! Back-lying, often hands and head configured like a sit-up, learning to skillfully draw elbows and knees together by sensing and regulating the flexors AND the extensors.

More Feldenkrais Essentials

37 minutes

Lesson 7: Freeing Your Breath and Spine

Various positions, using what the Feldenkrais community calls “paradoxical breathing.” The back-lying first 16 minutes can be studied alone. Discover more pleasurable, adaptable breathing using 360 degree experiments with the chest and abdomen, and find a more supple, supportive spine along the way!

26 minutes

Lesson 8: Simple Floor Clock

Mostly back-lying, knees bent. (Begins briefly in standing, then sitting on the floor.) Using a mental image of a clock face on your mat, learn to better sense and coordinate essential arcing movements of your pelvis, and how they relate to your whole self.

39 minutes

NEW! Lesson 9: Relaxing Your Neck and Jaw

Back-lying, often knees bent. Relax with simple Awareness Through Movement techniques designed to reduce stress and pain and improve function. You'll also discover pleasant connections of the jaw and neck with your breath, tongue, lumbar spine, and pelvis. Often very helpful for TMJ problems.

11 minutes

Interview: MindBodyRadio Talks to Nick Strauss-Klein

Nick talks about how he discovered Feldenkrais, what the method is, and what he’s trying to accomplish with the Feldenkrais Project.

Frequently Asked Questions

I've explored all these lessons. What now?

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Please donate if you can!

You won't find this much high quality Feldenkrais content offered in the spirit of gratitude and generosity anywhere else online. We are passionately pursuing our vision of "Feldenkrais for all!"

Our audio lessons are 100% funded by heartfelt freewill donations from our listeners. These donations fund The Feldenkrais Project’s efforts to 1) offer all our visitors and donors the best learning experience and technology possible, 2) add new content, and 3) spread the word.

Nick spends 50-100 hours on The FP each month. Additionally, paying our technical bills and compensating our part-time staff for the work Nick can’t do on his own requires around $20,000 annually. Your support really matters!

We are proud of our awesome thank you benefits for donors! Depending on how you give, these can include mp3 downloads, more detailed lesson notes and cross-references, 60 additional lessons with another new lesson every month, and even quarterly live video Project updates and lessons with Nick.

By donating as little as $3 per month you can join the Feldenkrais Project, enjoy donor benefits, and support our work to share the life-changing benefits of Feldenkrais study as widely as possible.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • I’m a Pilates teacher and I did Lesson 1 of Getting Oriented today on March 16, 2020 – the first day I am not teaching myself because of an effort to protect my family and community from COVID-19 and the first day both of my young daughters are home from school. I have been following the Feldenkrais Project since last fall and know that it is a powerful place for me to find a sense of calm and grounding. Thank you, Nick, not just for making this amazing method widely available but also for your gifts as a teacher, to invite us all in with such ease and grace and clarity. I’ll be sharing the Feldenkrais Project with all my students as a resource to rely upon as they navigate the challenging times ahead.

    Reply
  • Jean Pierre Dagenais
    May 16, 2022 2:05 pm

    I had a stroke 18 months ago. Initially, I was paralyzed on my right side (arm and leg). My right arm has fully recovered, but my right leg is still weak.
    What lessons would you recommend to strengthen my right leg and my core muscles.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      May 16, 2022 3:28 pm

      Hard to say from a distance — do you have an option of a few 1:1 lessons with a Feldenkrais teacher sometime? Generally speaking, regardless of why folks come to Feldenkrais everyone should work through this Getting Oriented series first if you haven’t already. A generalized study of the Feldenkrais Method should have a positive impact on your recovery. You can also pay close attention to which lessons seem to evoke a change in sensation or ability in the region, or just give you a hunch that they’re related to what your interested in. By consulting the collection descriptions, lesson descriptions, or Related Lessons tabs you can chase down threads of curiosity.

      Reply

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