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Deep Dive: Free While Constrained

Judy: As Melbourne (Australia) is now in our 4th Covid lockdown I am starting the Free While Constrained Deep Dive. Thank you Nick for all your wonderful classes.


Our Deep Dives gather standalone Feldenkrais Project lessons into themed courses of study. Newcomers, we recommend exploring our homepage collections first for a more generalized intro to Feldenkrais.

Lessons learned in quarantine

In April 2020, at the height of the early pandemic lockdown in the USA, I taught my newly online weekly class four 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 time the recordings all became Feldenkrais Project Patrons Monthly lessons.

There’s great value in exploring them in the same sequence and cadence the live class enjoyed. You can even make your own “workshop” by doing 1-2 lessons per day, with time between lessons to rest. Taking a few days off or up to a week between them is great too.

– Nick Strauss-Klein

The first three lessons are freely offered (donor-supported)

For access to the rest of this Deep Dive you’ll need to sign in or join the Feldenkrais Project as a Patron-level donor. Click to learn more about donation or our donor benefits.

Introduction

These lessons include concepts and skills referenced in the April lessons below.


Arms Like a Skeleton, with a Bias
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.

Advanced Twisting Part 1 and  Part 2
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 and sensitivity to one’s own biases. Recorded prior to the pandemic, I taught a version of these lessons the week before the lessons below began.

April 2020


1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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).

4) 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.


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 & Roll! (and Rotate) Deep Dive immediately followed these lessons.

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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply

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