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Frequently Asked Questions

Click for answers from Nick Strauss-Klein, creator and voice of The Feldenkrais Project. Add your own questions in the comments section below and Nick will reply!

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

23 Comments. Leave new

  • Nick Strauss-Klein
    March 7, 2019 11:27 am

    Do you have another basic question about the Feldenkrais Project not answered above? Post it here! Or use Contact Us under the About menu, above.

    Reply
  • Looking for a lesson for anxiety. Can’t afford anything.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      August 19, 2019 11:12 am

      Hello! Our website is designed to be used and shared even if you lack funds. All Feldenkrais lessons will quiet the nervous system and address the anxiety pattern, but it’s nice to find ones that are particularly accessible or potent for this purpose. I recommend using the lesson search bar (homepage, below the collection buttons) to look for “breathing”. The top two results are a great place to start. Also collection 1, number 1, and begin working your way through the lessons, skipping (for now) any lesson that you can’t make pleasant for yourself within 10 minutes of the start of the lesson.

      Reply
  • I’m new to the Feldenkrais project. I know that strength is not the intended result, but if I substitute the Feldenkrais exercises for yoga will I lose muscle strength?
    I find I prefer it because it’s too easy to strain a muscle in yoga – but I need to maintain strong back muscles particularly. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      September 25, 2019 4:51 pm

      Welcome! This is a great question. You’re right that Feldenkrais isn’t a replacement for traditional exercise, but it can make us stronger: when we’re better organized for the movements we intend, we can deliver force more efficiently and powerfully.

      For your muscle strength question, it depends on what kind of yoga practice you do, but perhaps in the short term you could do less yoga and substitute more of another physical activity you enjoy, something as simple as walking or biking or swimming. As you get better organized through Feldenkrais study, you may enjoy returning to yoga with a new awareness, and find yourself less likely to strain.

      Finally I would add that there are Feldenkrais lessons which stimulate muscle strength in a more traditional way (in addition to the neuromuscular learning that is the primary goal). For example, check out the Spine Like a Chain lessons in our collection Lessons for Freeing the Spine, Chest, Shoulders, and Neck.

      Reply
  • Hello Nick I really enjoy doing Feldenkrais and am very grateful for your audio lessons!! I was wondering if you have any tips. Sometimes when I do the lesson I get very drowsy and my mind starts to wander of or fall half asleep and I cant seem to feel resting as to actually feel hahah. Do you have any tips how to deal with this?

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      January 14, 2020 1:50 pm

      Studying Feldenkrais is like holding up a powerful mirror to yourself: it will tend to show you how you’re really feeling! With that in mind, it may simply be that you’re needing some more rest. That said, there’s another element, too: our lessons are designed to move your brain as far as possible from flight-or-flight mode and into rest-recharge-learn mode, where we’re more capable of lasting neuroplastic change. Getting a bit drowsy or drifty during the process is normal! It’s ok to take a break, rest/doze for a while, and resume the recording (or rewind). Even if you feel like you’re a little dreamy, you’ll still be learning. As an example: drifty, dreamy, pre-verbal, non-intellectual babies are doing the most substantial neuroplastic learning of their lives! They’re not concerned with maintaining a sharp adult consciousness as they move and explore, and we don’t have to be either!

      Reply
      • Daniel Schmitz
        January 1, 2021 5:30 pm

        Thank you for your initiating question and response comment. They create context for my question. I, too, have at times fallen asleep during a lesson. For me, I know this is an outcome of simply being tired. My question (hopefully Nick is listening) is about lesson length. Many lessons are about 60 minutes in length. I’m curious about the shorter-length lessons. Can you help me understand the difference in impact/benefit when comparing short versus long-form sessions. This will help me approach the task of lesson choice. Thank you 🙂

        Reply
        • Nick Strauss-Klein
          January 3, 2021 3:03 pm

          Like all things in real human learning, the optimal lesson length really depends on the individual, and their state in the current moment. Comfort and honest curiosity are the best guide. If either is diminishing, you won’t be learning too much if you choose to “stick it out” through the end of the lesson.

          I enjoy the hour-long format because I really like to make time for a full scan at the beginning, and lots of rests and variations, plus a little discussion. And an hour happens to work well for my own ATM learning most times. For me there’s a fullness, a deep-dive about it that I don’t usually feel from shorter lessons.

          That said, there’s a lot of consensus that 45 minutes is a really good lesson length for most people most of the time, so I assume people will “rest out” of some parts of my hour-long classes as needed, or even pause and return to a lesson (that’s discussed in the FAQ above).

          Shorter lessons can be great, too, especially if doing them gets someone studying when an hour is unavailable, or feels like too much.

          In the long term, engaging in ATM study can be a moment or a few minutes of literal “awareness through movement”: turning a household task into a lesson by slowing down and paying attention, for example. I dip into ATM thinking all the time. Life is an ongoing Feldenkrais lesson, if we listen closely to ourselves.

          And…I also crave getting down on the floor for a formal lesson (whether it’s 20, 40, or 60 minutes) whenever I can.

          Hope that helps! Feel free to follow up.

          Reply
          • Hi Nick…please forgive me if this has been answered many times. Can you do the exercises in bed under covers? I wake up in middle of night and it is too cold to get on floor. But the weight of blankets changes sensations and makes knees, for example, really hard to glide. Thanks for your amazing gifts!

          • Nick Strauss-Klein
            January 29, 2021 1:24 pm

            Great question! As always, in Feldenkrais we use movement to produce sensory experiences that our brains can learn and improve from, so the quality of movement and the sensory feedback it produces is important. But any approximation of a lesson that is curious and pleasant for you (that’s the quality minimum) can become a lesson, it may just be a bit different in where it points you because of the limitations caused by the environment (covers). Like a lot of people, I do little bits of Feldenkrais lessons in bed that are easy: breathing movements, subtle shifts of the head, proximal movements of the spine, chest, shoulders. Movements of the hands and feet. Back-lying, knees bent, I find that bed covers get in the way of knee tipping movements too much for my taste, but that situation is conducive for playing a different mini-lesson game: relaxing the legs into the friction of the covers! With the covers keeping your knees from falling to the side, how can you play with sensing and reducing habitual efforts of balancing them? This is offered just as a creative example of playing/learning within the constraints you find yourself in.

  • Wow! What an amazing resource! Thank you!

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    • Oops! Sent too soon… I had open heart surgery and during the recovery I believe my posture of protecting my sternum led to frozen shoulder, so my once flexible yoga body has discomfort almost at all times in many places- which led me to Feldenkreis! I’m pretty new to this and would love to know any experience of others with complicated issues such as this. Can I hope one day to get my flexibility back and be pain-free? I’m going in with an open mind but just super curious of your insights with others who have been cracked down the middle or any suggestions you may have to be aware of. 🙂

      Reply
      • Nick Strauss-Klein
        March 15, 2020 6:30 am

        There are amazing stories of ease and improvement throughout the Feldenkrais learning world, having come in all kinds of situations. I’m guessing you’ve heard some already and that may be part of why you’re here? The important thing is to remember that you’re teaching yourself a process of self-care and self-learning. It’s designed to improve all aspects of human function, so in time I believe you’ll begin to find what you’re looking for. Along the way you’ll probably also find a lot of other interesting, pleasant things. Learning isn’t linear, and it’s not a fix or cure but a way forward that we’re promoting. Curiosity and a healthy self-exploration process can work wonders.

        Reply
  • Isabelle Waters
    October 24, 2020 8:52 pm

    Curiosity regarding Feldenkrais and Sleep

    Dear Nick,

    Firstly, thank you for developing and making this resource available – I am now a regular student and patron.

    I have been practicing for several months now. In this time, I have noticed my sleep has become more and more disrupted. I wake more frequently, and when I do, I find myself in unusual and awkward positions. For example, I woke to find my head bent almost at a right angle, as if I was rehearsing or mirroring a class. Sometimes it’s as though I am ‘improvising’ Feldenkrais in my sleep. Another curiosity is that these positions are often paradoxically comfortable, but feel strange/foreign at the same time, as if someone else as put me in them..

    On the one hand, this is of great interest, to observe my movement changing unconsciously. But on the other hand, I find I am less comfortable getting asleep than I used to be, and have started to dislike soft beds or ‘sleeping’ positions. It’s as though I want to be moving in my sleep, which in turn wakes me up, and then struggle to find a comfortable position once I’m awake..

    I’m wondering if you have some comments or insights into this and or any resources that I could read about neuroplasticity and sleep.. Very general questions I know. I have read Norman Doidge and am starting to read some of Feldenkrais’ writings, but I feel that the relationship between sleep and practice is somehow neglected(?)

    I look forward to your response.

    Isabelle

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      October 25, 2020 2:48 pm

      Dear Isabelle,

      This is a fascinating description of an interesting phenomenon. Sorry to hear your rest is a bit disturbed right now, but I’m happy to hear your nuance and curiosity about the issue. I think that shows that a process is underway which will continue to shift things, hopefully for the better soon!

      I have experienced and frequently heard of sleep quality changing as people dive into Feldenkrais study, but in truth it’s usually on the improvement spectrum, so I don’t have a lot of experience with questions like yours. I’m asking myself now: if sleep usually changes, what’s to say it shouldn’t be unstable for a period in the process? Processes of change and learning are by nature unstable.

      I really resonate with your line about “paradoxically comfortable…strange/foreign” positions: I do remember waking up with that feeling in my early Feldenkrais studies, and I’ve heard others describe it too. We are capable of resting in all sorts of unusual positions outside of cultural sleep norms. (As you may have caught in some lessons I often ask students to picture the crazy positions house cats can sleep in when we’re looking for rests within a lesson.)

      Your sense that your bed is too soft and your old go-to sleeping positions aren’t quite appropriate right now also resonates. Both may simply be true, and maybe you haven’t found reliable alternatives yet. I regularly recommend to students, friends, and family to move in the direction of firmer beds over time. I believe it’s easier and healthier to move naturally in our sleep when we’re not being swallowed up by softness.

      All of this is to say I don’t have a lot of direct help to offer, but I do think your process fits in neuroplastic norms. The best, most direct Feldenkrais resource I know (I’ve used it myself) is Michael Krugman’s Sounder Sleep. Maybe give that a try.

      I also expect this will continue to shift and change and that a kind of equilibrium will come eventually, and I hope you can rest well soon! Please feel free to be back in touch and let me know how it’s going.

      Thanks for listening, and for your Patron support of the Feldenkrais Project.

      Nick

      Reply
  • Thank you for this wonderful resource! The first lesson was very helpful but I’m wondering if I should repeat it for some days before moving on? Without practice, I’m not sure how to integrate it in practical life.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      March 29, 2022 8:42 am

      Great question! Your brain does the most important learning from these lessons automatically, through the process of neuroplasticity. All you have to do to make the most of that process is support your own kinesthetic curiosity by remaining comfortable, relaxed, and genuinely curious about what you’re feeling as you explore lessons. If that remains the case you can repeat lessons as many times as you like! But if they become rote or performative at all, or you find yourself distracted, you should move on to another lesson.

      Many people work through an entire collection, then begin it again for a second or even third time or more. You’ll find you experience the lessons differently, and that’s a sign that you’re integrating the generalized neuromusculoskeletal learning that Feldenkrais study points at.

      It’s also possible to do brief, improvised “reminders” of lessons. Lie down, get quiet and attentive, and explore a few of whichever movements you remember from a lesson. Can you improve their quality (not quantity) in just a few movements?

      Reply
  • Boryana Ruseva
    May 16, 2022 6:19 am

    Hello,

    I would first like to thank you for all of the information and lessons that you offer! They are a great and valuable resource and I applaud you for creating this amazing project!

    As for my question, since getting into the Feldenkrais method for the purpose of creating more ease, awareness and comfort in my body, I have come to feel great changes in the way I relate to my body in everyday situations. As a long time anxiety sufferer who usually is pretty hard on herself, it is really helpful that this method encourages more ease and less effort – this is really valuable when translated into mental activity, work-life balance and other aspects of life.

    Now I have this confusion within me that arises. I also practice things like running, yoga, qigong, sometimes calisthenics or different fitness exercises. Each of these is completely different in the way that it works the body and I try to apply some of the Feldenkrais knowledge in these practices, but I find them rather having conflicting goals and patterns, so it’s hard for me.

    I always try to ask myself how can I bring more awareness into the movements that I do, how can I bring more ease and pleasure into what I do, how can I involve the body in a way that doesn’t strain it or push it.

    However, for example in yoga there are poses where there is discomfort while trying to balance a pose, in fitness there is pressure that needs to be applied in order to stimulate blood flow to the muscle, afterwards there is soreness and pain. And I do enjoy the stretches in yoga and I do enjoy doing ab exercises, for example, because they make me feel strong and powerful. But they also cause some pain and strain, so should I continue doing them?

    I hope I made my question clear enough, I just want to understand how to apply the method to other types of exercise where there inevitably is some pain, some soreness and some stretching involved.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      May 16, 2022 11:22 am

      This is a really good question, and very well-articulated. First I want to share that I personally enjoy all sorts of vigorous exercise, and some of the most devoted Felden-fans I know are high-performance athletes. There’s no inherent conflict between Feldenkrais and yoga, fitness, etc. Quite the opposite! In fact more and more professional athletes are discovering that Feldenkrais is perfect for taking their skills even higher. And I’m close friends with a yoga instructor who is always bringing Feldenkrais sensitivity into his yoga practice. There is always some way to adapt and avoid pain in any yoga pose you’re learning – ask your instructor. If you’re holding still in a painful pose I would contend you are not benefitting, you’re just training your willpower (not a good thing).

      It’s always a question of how you do what you do, and I think you’re onto it already since you write that you’re bringing Feldenkrais thinking into other modalities and athletics. When I’m doing interval sprints I’m definitely pushing my body hard…as hard as I can, in fact! But I’ve prepared myself, and I’m listening constantly throughout myself, for how I feel as I exert. I know what delivering force efficiently through my bones feels like. I know what a well-organized, whole body effort with integrated breathing feels like. I know the safe ranges of my joints. I know when I need to rest. All these things I’ve learned to sense in great details in Feldenkrais lessons.

      I also know what a healthy muscular soreness feels like after a workout or dynamic stretch, and what an injured soreness feels like. If I feel the latter, I’m definitely going to work out very differently next time! If you feel pain and strain after your abs exercises, sensations that don’t just feel like fatigue or muscle building sensations, I would definitely back off of speed, repetitions, and resistance and work on the how you’re doing that exercise, how you’re integrating your whole self into it, distributing the effort, and minimizing unnecessary efforts. If you’re doing any static stretching, it’s worth googling dynamic vs static stretching. Sports sciences has a solid consensus now away from static stretches.

      One more thought that might help: the point of Feldenkrais isn’t gentleness and ease. Rather those are required for the kind of learning we do in lessons. The point is to be able to do what you wish to do with your life as effectively, satisfyingly, and sustainably as you can. Amazingly we’re wired to feel good when we’re behaving like that, and of course there can be great pleasure in exerting yourself skillfully!

      Hope that helps. Big topic – this is just some overview thoughts.

      Reply
      • Boryana Ruseva
        May 16, 2022 12:07 pm

        Thank you lots, Nick!

        You answered my question in incredible depth, I definitely have to reread it a couple of times to grasp all of the content and knowledge contained within. It is a very big topic indeed and I’m fascinated by the way very little movements can have such a impact on the way we relate to our body.

        I understand that it’s a matter of exploration, I’m just getting started with this concept of body awareness and getting un-used to feeling pain, strain and pushing my way through different exercises, trying to do them perfectly or doing too much. Unsurprisingly enough, this tells me a lot about how I do most things in life and how these tendencies exist in me in general.

        Thank you for your help, I’ll keep finding what feels good and listening to my body’s wisdom.

        Reply
        • Nick Strauss-Klein
          May 16, 2022 3:40 pm

          You are not alone in seeing these kinds of “suffer through it” tendencies throughout life, not just in movement. Our culture doesn’t emphasize or reward handling yourself with internal skillfulness. Over the years hundreds of students have commented to me that the analogy of asking questions, considering what you’re experiencing, and finding your own healthier way to do things escapes the bounds of Feldenkrais lessons and sneaks into the rest of life. It sure has for me, and I consider it a gift every day!

          Reply

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