Workshop: Balance Myths, Facts, and Practice, Part 1 (Patrons)

Timestamps:

  • 0:23 Introduction and principles
  • 8:20 Lesson 1: Intro to Standing Games (24 minutes)
  • 32:45 Lesson 2: A More Supple Torso (40 minutes, back-lying)

For Part 2 of the workshop, click here.

In this workshop Nick shares practical tips, tools, and Feldenkrais lessons to improve your balance. He dispels common misunderstandings and highlights principles of physics and learning you can sense and practice on your own.

Before you begin read this for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below.

Recorded live in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class, this lesson is copyright Nick Strauss-Klein, for personal use only.

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Tip 1 – Interrupted?

Study tip: Interrupted or don’t have enough time? You can return to the lesson later today or tomorrow. Read how best to continue your learning on our FAQ page.

Tip 3 – Head Support

Study tip: It helps to have a large bath towel nearby when you start a lesson. You can fold it differently for comfortable head support in any configuration.

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Tip – what to wear

Study tip: Wear loose, comfortable clothes that are warm enough for quiet movement. Remove or avoid anything restrictive like belts or glasses.

Tip 5 – Discomfort

Study tip: If a configuration or movement causes any increase in discomfort, or you feel you just don’t want to do it, don’t! Make it smaller and slower, adapt it, or rest and imagine.

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Tip 4 – Padding

Study tip: Comfort first! Carpeted floors usually work well, but it’s great to have an extra mat or blanket nearby in case you need a softer surface in some configurations.

Tip – LESSS is more

LESSS is more: Light, Easy, Small, Slow, & Smooth movements will ease pains and improve your underlying neuromuscular habits faster than any other kind of movement, no matter who you are or what your training is!

Tip – Complete the Movement

Study tip: Complete one movement before beginning the next. You’ll improve faster if there’s enough time between movements that you feel fully at rest.

Tip – Rewinding

Study tip: Many instructions are repeated. If you get a little lost, rest and listen. You’ll often find your way. Or use the rewind button on the page or your mobile device.

Tip – Pause the recording

Study tip: If you’re really enjoying a movement and want to explore longer, or you just need a break for a while, pause the recording!

Tip – Directions are Relative

Study tip: Directions are always relative to your body. For example, if you’re lying on your back “up” is toward your head, and “forward” is toward the ceiling.

Browser/device size and audio player

Tech tip: On mobile or tablet? Once you start playing the audio, your device’s native playback controls should work well.

We offer over 50 free lessons, but this one's just for our Patron-level donors. You can learn about it in the free lesson notes and comments below, but to access the audio you’ll need to join The FP as a Patron. Learn more

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SAFETY FIRST! You need a solid, non-rolling chair (such as a dining room table chair) to stand directly behind for lessons #1 and #4 in this workshop. It should have a back around the height of your pelvis or belly button, so you can simply rest one or both hands on it whenever you’d like more stability.

If you need a break from standing you can also rest seated on the chair at any time, even pausing the recording as needed.

For lesson #2 you’ll need a smooth mat or carpeted floor and perhaps a towel to fold for head support. Don’t use a sticky yoga mat (too much friction).

A review of concepts discussed in this part of the workshop:

Feldenkrais is learning to learn from yourself. In Feldenkrais study you are responsible for creating your own internal learning environment. Be kind and gentle with yourself! Comfort is essential for efficient learning and improvement.

Balance is the intersection of physics and neurology. It is a never-ending process in our upright lives.

Feldenkrais movements are never imitative, performative, or rote. Instead they are exploratory and FUN, like the experiments of a baby learning to stand and walk. Remember that is how you originally learned to balance!

If you want to change how you behave, you can learn new skills (this path is long-lasting, self-reinforcing, sustainable, satisfying) or use willpower (this is short-term, self-destructive/unsustainable, rooted in feeling “not good enough”).

Willpower is what we use when we lack skill. Willpower is particularly useless for improving balance because it makes us rigid, and therefore less stable.

To learn new balance skills we’re instead training your sensitivity, self-regulation, and coordination.

After listening to Part 1 take a 10-30 minute break, then continue on to Part 2 of this workshop. You can take a longer break but it’s best to do the whole workshop in one day.

This workshop can be found in our Patrons Monthly collection, and in our Better Balance Deep Dive.

Recorded live in the summer of 2022.

Workshop description:

Our sense of balance is the intersection of physics and neurology. It’s a brilliant human solution to the fundamental challenge of gravity. In this workshop Nick shares practical tips and tools to improve balance. He’ll dispel common misunderstandings, highlight principles of physics and learning you can sense and practice on your own, and lead Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lessons designed to clarify and improve your sensitivity, suppleness, and coordination – the building blocks of healthy balance.

Feldenkrais newcomers are welcome. The only prerequisite is an ability to lie on a mat for some of our study time, and get back up again safely.

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3 Comments

  1. Fairlie Gibson on September 24, 2022 at 6:26 am

    By the end I felt more upright, centred and wider, shoulders and arms hung down in an easy manner. And yes, arms and shoulders swung more when I walked. Also when I walked it was a slow, more confident rolling kind of walk. Very pleasurable. Thank you – a great lesson.

  2. Chris T on October 6, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    Well, that was VERY nice. I feel my back being released and holding less tension. My feet feel softer and the weight more evenly distributed across the floor through the soles. My legs feel aligned and the weight supported more directly through the bones into the hips. My arms & shoulders were so free of tension they were hanging like wet spaghetti by my side and moving forward in unison on the forward step of my right foot – it was quite amusing. I feel taller, lighter, freer, my eyes relaxed – happier. Thanks

  3. Nancy-Laurel Pettersen on October 28, 2022 at 10:36 am

    I so appreciate the clarity of your instructions!! You make it very clear *why* explore on the floor to improve walking in the vertical. Thx!

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