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Workshop: Balance Myths, Facts, and Practice, Part 2 (Patrons)

Timestamps:

  • 0:23 Q&A
  • 5:00 Myths and Facts
  • 14:30 Lesson 3: Arms and Shoulders Rolling, Twisting, and Circling (32 minutes, side-lying)
  • 46:15 Lesson 4: Refined Standing Games (17 minutes)

NOTE: The followup email mentioned in the recording is in the Curiosities tab below the audio player.

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. Part one of the workshop is here.

63m
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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.

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 – 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 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 – 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.

Tip – Comments

Project tip: Leave a lesson comment below! It’s a great way to give feedback or ask a question, and it helps google find us so we can achieve The Feldenkrais Project’s vision!

Tip – Join!

Join the Project! If you already have, thank you for your support! Members and Patrons see streamlined lesson pages, and can access the Related Lessons and Source tabs below.

Tip – skip a lesson

Study tip: If you can’t find a comfortable way to do the initial movements or configuration of a lesson, it’s ok to skip it for now and go on to another lesson.

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.

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.

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 – 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 – What’s New

Community tip: See what Nick and other Felden-fans are interested in right now. Check out What’s New at the bottom of our homepage for recent blog posts and listener comments.

Tip – Technical Difficulties

Tech tip: If you have any trouble with the audio player, reboot your browser. That solves most issues. If not, please contact Nick.

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.

Tip – Lesson names

What’s in a lesson title? Lessons are about an hour unless a shorter duration is shown in the title. Thanks to our donors they’re freely offered unless marked “Patrons” – those are how we thank our Patron-level donors.

Tip 2 – Social Sharing

Project tip: Try the social buttons below. Please help us to achieve our vision: spreading the life-changing benefits of Feldenkrais study as widely as possible!

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.

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

If you are a Patron, please log in:

For lesson #3 you’ll need a smooth mat or carpeted floor, and a lot of floor space. Please get your chair out of the way. You’ll probably want a bath towel or two to fold for head support in side-lying.

If it’s difficult to lie on your side don’t hesitate to make the floor softer with additional mats or blankets. If necessary you could even do this lesson only lying on one side.

If the large arm clock is uncomfortable or too challenging please minimize or imagine the movements, and later you can practice something smaller: Side Clock: Shoulders (and Intro to Hip).

For lesson #4 SAFETY FIRST! You need a solid, non-rolling chair (such as a dining room table chair) to stand directly behind. 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.

In lesson #3 when you’re lying on your side and circling your arm along the floor (as if it is the hand of a huge clock that you’re lying on) the arm is always circling in the plane of the floor.

Much of the time this means your hand actually slides on the floor. Go slowly and gently, and whenever necessary for comfort you can allow your hand to lift away from the floor as you continue around the circle.

The free homework lessons mentioned at the end of the recording can be found in our Better Balance Deep Dive. More lessons are available for Feldenkrais Project donors in the Related Lessons tabs on both workshop pages.

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

BALANCE MYTHS AND FACTS

  • MYTH: Stability is about not moving. FACT: Balance is a dynamic process – we’re always moving, always “falling” and correcting ourselves. We’re like an upside down pendulum, but even more mobile because we’ve got hips (and ribs and necks – all sorts of soft joints).
  • MYTH: Balance is all about strength and effort. FACT: Trying hard or having muscles constantly contracted makes us rigid, raises our center of gravity over a rigid base (making us more susceptible to falling), and suppresses our natural means of adjusting our balance: agility, coordination, suppleness, an easy flowing breath, and a sensitive relationship with the support surface (the floor you’re standing on, or a chair).
  • MYTH: We must overwhelm our sense of balance to “practice” (think standing on one foot while reaching out, or only using an extremely demanding surface like a wobble disk). FACT: When we’re overwhelmed we may feel unsafe, threatened, uncomfortable, or bad about ourselves. Each of these suppresses our ability to learn. Being overwhelmed also causes all the balance challenges mentioned above in the strength myth. You’ll improve more and faster by sticking to more playful challenges (like our feet crossed games) and listening carefully to your sensations, ongoing ease (breathe!), body parts relationships (like head and pelvis), and NOT overwhelming your system.
  • MYTH: We necessarily have worse balance as we age. FACT: There’s some truth to this for everyone, and certainly statistical truth on a population scale. However we can ALWAYS learn, refine, and improve. And we have many systems and ample redundancy related to balance so we can often function well even if one or more systems is compromised. We balance with (among other things) our sensitive relationship to the support surface, our proprioception (knowing where our parts are; counterbalance skills), our vestibular system (inner-ear), and our visual system.

The lessons in this workshop create a light, playful, detailed balance challenge (standing with crossed legs), and work to improve the suppleness and detailed coordinations of your torso (back-lying: reaching down and twisting, side-lying: rotating and circling the shoulders and arms).

Part 1 of this workshop is here.

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.

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Got a question for Nick, or a thought about this lesson?

Use the comments section below! Public comments build our community and help search engines find us.

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7 Comments

  1. andrea on October 2, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    I knew those wobble disks were no good. Thanks for the lessons!

  2. robyn on October 3, 2022 at 2:49 am

    So far I have only done Part 1 & found the standing games with one foot in front of the other so informative. Tests earlier this year concluded I’ve lost the balance in my L ear, & Meniere’s is responsible for the hearing loss in my R ear, but I was able to get back onto my bike a day after a vertigo attack aweek ago! None of that standing on a squishy cushion in a corner with feet together & eyes closed, which hasn’t worked even for those whose balance appears normal. Thanks, Nick

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on October 3, 2022 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks for sharing that. I think you’ll really like Part 2 – in addition to two more lessons, we talk about those classic “balance training” activities. I’m mostly not a fan.

  3. Mashel on October 3, 2022 at 8:31 pm

    Hey Nick,
    Just did part 2. Was very helpful. Thank you. I was well disoriented. This is how I judge that it is helpful particularly. Got a few pointers to practice further my balance with the “feet game”.

    One question arose in my mind. When you’ve asked to do circles with the pelvis in the end of the ‘feet game;. I wondered right away: In which plain did you want us to do the circle (there are 3 plains 😉 )? You did point out later for the head to do circles parallel to the ceiling but not for the pelvis. I could fit in the three plains rotations for the pelvis but was kind of hurried since the “pelvis” time was up. so to speak. Especially since the are also two directions in each plain..

    Thanks!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on October 4, 2022 at 6:47 am

      I’m intending not to restrict the movement of the pelvis to one plane necessarily, because once we’re off the floor in standing most movements are more comfortable and efficient when they’re very three-dimensional.

      What kind of pelvis circles came to you most spontaneously and comfortably in that moment?

      (It’s an exploration, but I don’t want to be elusive: probably the circling would be mostly movement through the transverse, or parallel with the floor, plane.)

      • Mashel on October 4, 2022 at 5:25 pm

        For me, it was the pelvis 12 — 6 o’clock (when clock is standing up inside you facing your front or back) movement that came first. Then I started to think of the other 2 planes to make my feeling of pelvis 3D.

  4. Nigel Atkinson on March 3, 2023 at 6:22 am

    Such a rich lesson, thank you Nick.

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