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Agile Hips, Knees, and Feet

Recorded live in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class, the lesson below is copyright Nick Strauss-Klein, for personal use only. This and all our audio lessons are 100% donor-supported. Read this before you begin for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below. Click the other lesson note tabs if you’re curious.

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Back-lying, knees bent, feet standing, exploring connections between the joints of the legs, and clarifying their relationship with the abdominal muscles, pelvis, back, breath, and head. Improving leg function by developing some movements into rapid action.
  • This lesson includes some sophisticated and challenging explorations. In some ways it is more advanced than many of the other Feldenkrais Project lessons. You may benefit from first exploring earlier lessons in the Learning the Limbs, from the Center collection.
  • As always, if you experience discomfort with a movement do less, go more slowly, rest more often, or even work entirely in your imagination
  • …or come back to this lesson later. If you can’t get comfortable with the early step of keeping one bent leg over yourself in the air and moving it (especially by when it returns for the second time around 15 minutes into the lesson), you could also explore the first two or three lessons in our collection called Standing, Walking, and Running, then return to this one.

Around 28 minutes in I break a cardinal rule of mine in ATM teaching: I refer several times to the horizontal plane, but I mean horizontal as it relates to the room, not to the person like usual (oops!). The circles I’m describing are happening within a plane parallel to the floor and the ceiling.

The use of rapid actions in this lesson is an unusual strategy in ATM lessons. It’s an interesting and practical challenge to learn to maintain easy, full breathing and have a sense of calm through your larger self while doing something quickly.

This lesson is found in the collection called Learning the Limbs, from the Center.

Like most of our lessons, this one can be studied out of context, but you may find additional learning value by approaching it in the order of the collection it’s in.


Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to download this lesson’s MP3 file.


Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view Nick’s comments about sources he used while developing this lesson.


Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view related lesson titles and links.

Comfort & Configuration
  • This lesson includes some sophisticated and challenging explorations. In some ways it is more advanced than many of the other Feldenkrais Project lessons. You may benefit from first exploring earlier lessons in the Learning the Limbs, from the Center collection.
  • As always, if you experience discomfort with a movement do less, go more slowly, rest more often, or even work entirely in your imagination
  • …or come back to this lesson later. If you can’t get comfortable with the early step of keeping one bent leg over yourself in the air and moving it (especially by when it returns for the second time around 15 minutes into the lesson), you could also explore the first two or three lessons in our collection called Standing, Walking, and Running, then return to this one.
Clarifications

Around 28 minutes in I break a cardinal rule of mine in ATM teaching: I refer several times to the horizontal plane, but I mean horizontal as it relates to the room, not to the person like usual (oops!). The circles I’m describing are happening within a plane parallel to the floor and the ceiling.

Curiosities

The use of rapid actions in this lesson is an unusual strategy in ATM lessons. It’s an interesting and practical challenge to learn to maintain easy, full breathing and have a sense of calm through your larger self while doing something quickly.

Context

This lesson is found in the collection called Learning the Limbs, from the Center.

Like most of our lessons, this one can be studied out of context, but you may find additional learning value by approaching it in the order of the collection it’s in.

Download

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to download this lesson’s MP3 file.

Source

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view Nick’s comments about sources he used while developing this lesson.

Related Lessons

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view related lesson titles and links.

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17 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Nick…I love love love Feldenkrais since discovering it earlier this year and I am enjoying all the great classes on this website and really appreciate you giving them to us!
    This particular class I find very challenging in one area and that is rubbing the feet on the floor in circles and then the pivoting them from side to side…
    the feeling that comes up for me when I get to this part is kind of indescribable… I feel awful ..lol… not sure of a better word? I have to rub my face whilst doing the feet rubbing….to calm myself down…
    basically it’s the same feeling I get when I see blood or operations on eyeballs! ?… like intense nerve strain? If that makes sense? It does make me aware that I probably need this class more than any other…
    Do you know what I mean Nick? Do I make sense? I would love feedback
    Thank you ?

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      December 10, 2019 4:56 pm

      Hi Lesley,

      It’s so interesting what some lessons can churn up in us. You do make sense! You sound curious and unafraid, which is a great place to be, but perhaps there’s room to do even less, to go even lighter, smaller, and quieter, if you explore these variations again soon? It can also be valuable to remember that we’re not trying to “succeed” at lessons, but rather to use them as opportunities to learn about ourselves. Sometimes we discover things that are intense, or even scary, and nothing needs to be repeatedly addressed directly, or even in the present. It may be valuable to return to this lesson (if you wish) much later, rather than diving in again soon. Follow your instinct and curiosity, and be loving to yourself as you choose! Feel free to reply again if you need to discuss more.

      Reply
  • Thanks Nick.. as soon as I read what you wrote I ‘got it’.
    . i try too hard, strain and rush in everything I do ..that’s why Feldenkrais has been life changing for me … this lesson was a great reminder and I got immediate physical proof
    … I will give it a miss for now and when I return to it I will go eeeeven sloooower ?

    Reply
  • Thanks, Nick, for this complex but clear lesson. I particularly valued it for improving organisation of the lower abdomen – liked the repeated reminders that it’s not about tightening abdo muscles. I’m full of warmth and vitality in this important area now, which is great. It is an excellent practice for martial arts and qigong where organisation here is a prerequisite for awareness of the lower dantian energy centre. Really helpful so I’ll be coming back to it!

    Reply
  • lasquilt@gmail.com
    January 16, 2020 10:40 am

    Love this one thank you so-o-o much!

    Reply
  • Thanks Nick

    Reply
  • When I first did this lesson I didn’t “get” it. As I have been doing your other lessons, I have become better able to “let go”. This letting go is all about trust. Holding on is about fear to to let go (Obviously). I cried this time… tears that have needed to be shed. Tears that could not be shed because I have been afraid to let go. A very cathartic experience. Does this make sense?

    Reply
    • It does to me, Pam. i had a reaction to a recent lesson that i found ‘hard’ (on a physical plane) but afterwards i found myself plunged into such old patterns of doom and gloom…. held somewhere on some visceral level. And definitely triggered. i know it is almost a year ago, but you asked if it made sense and no one answered… No-one does, apart from Nick, but you have to click that window below if you want to read a response that might have come. I hope you are well and still practising Feldenkrais…

      Reply
      • Nick Strauss-Klein
        October 8, 2021 10:00 am

        Thanks for continuing the conversation. We only recently (Sept 2021) implemented the opt-in checkbox that commenters can click to receive emails when others reply. Previously they just had to look at the page to know if someone responded. I hope for more and more listeners replying directly to each other, not just me!

        Reply
  • Thank you. I haven’t yet completed this intriguing and revealing lesson. It was making my brain itch in so many different places !???? I look forward to revisiting.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      January 7, 2021 7:04 am

      Glad you like the lesson, and it’s great that you stopped for now – it can be hard to listen to those internal messages of “enough,” but everyone should!

      Reply
  • Thank you Moshe and thank you Nick for what you bring to this work!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your reply , Sue, I look forward to doing the rest , my abdoman is very tight but, bloaded at the same time, so this comment gives me more hope, I been doing other movements that seem to help a little,too.

      Reply
      • No Sue,it didn’t help what i hoped.dd
        This again and by calf cramped.
        I was hoping to lay on my side, my cocyx bone gets sore, I didn’t find any connection s with that.
        Only with the knee and the heel and some with the toes and get.
        I was making the connection with my shoulder and hip, it’s interesting with the foot..

        Reply
  • Have post tibial tendon dysfunction and severe arthritis in my ankle caused by a ruptured tendon 20 years ago. . Have done ATM for 30years. Have been doing your feet and ankle lessons and feel some comfort. Am wearing orthotics , a soft brace, and supportive shoes. Do you think it’s a good idea to have my foot so constrained. My foot is flat. Feel like I have a Feldenkrais body but because of the pain, am getting joint soreness. Am 89.. Thanks

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      February 1, 2021 3:10 pm

      It’s very hard to advise from afar. First: safety is paramount, so don’t do anything that risks your balance or stability, and please consult with your doctor about any changes you might experiment with. Always have something or someone nearby to hold onto if you don’t normally explore other options for your feet. Within these constraints (safety and doctor’s permission), it sounds like perhaps you could do brief experiments with different footwear, or seeing how things feel without the brace or without the orthotics, at least on a soft carpet or on a soft natural surface like a lawn. It’s quite possible that along with your “Feldenkrais body” you will find more options for your feet when they are less constrained. You’re just looking to change the situation a little bit, then see how you feel and function in a safe environment. Disclaimer: this is not medical advice, and these are brief experiments, to be tried once in a while as suits your comfort and curiosity. It would be a fading in to new options if they are safe and effective as you discover them, no sudden changes. If you don’t like how something feels, don’t do it.

      Reply
  • From Ireland
    July 27, 2021 5:11 am

    Powerful lesson…has relieved my knees which were extremely hurting me…..many thanks.

    Reply

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