Connecting the Legs and Chest (Patrons)

Mostly side-lying, exploring relationships of the head, spine, chest, and pelvis with a riddle: how do we actually lengthen a leg? Designed to bring awareness and improvement to an action we need for every step we take in the world, this lesson uses breath, foundation forces, and "hinging" at the feet and knees to connect our image of leg lengthening with our whole self, especially the chest.

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 – Rewinding

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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 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 – 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!

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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 – Technical Difficulties

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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.

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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.

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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 – 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!

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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Use what you need for comfortable head support in side-lying, but make sure your head is free to move as you learn to shift and roll yourself for different parts of this lesson.

In side-lying, the configuration described around 9:00 with the leg straight “as if standing” means that the ceiling side leg will be in line with your spine and head, like it is when you are standing up.

So, lying on your left side in this first occurrence, the home position is: the right leg long, resting its weight on the inside edge of the right foot, which is down near the bottom of your mat.

The other leg, the one on the floor side of your body (here it’s the left leg) is bent at 90 degrees at the hip and the knee, and simply rests on the ground throughout any movements you make with the long R leg.

We introduced on one side but spent very little time with a variation of laying the ceiling side arm down over the ceiling side hip, hand dangling out in space below the buttock, and lengthening that arm. This could easily be explored more, and on the other side, and even at the same time with lifting the foot, hinging at the knees.

Near the very end of the lesson, as we return one last time to explore lengthening the leg and lifting the head, I was purposely very subtle about their relationship. Exploring the different possibilities is valuable and fascinating.

You may also enjoy exploring more purposefully putting the head down while lengthening the leg, and lifting it up as the leg slides a little shorter on your mat.  In this coordination, you may notice a lovely relationship of your ribs alternately lifting and pressing against the ground.

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our always-growing collection of new lessons (one or more added every month) for Feldenkrais Project Patrons. It’s also in our Walking from Your Spine Deep Dive.

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Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

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

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12 Comments

  1. Rodolfo Torres on April 22, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    Wow, great lesson Nick. Clarified some of the head lifting stuff in the anti-gravity lesson for me which I did a couple of days back. Thanks!!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on April 23, 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks for reminding me of that connection! Updating Related Lessons based on this comment.

  2. taproot@redwing.net on April 22, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Great lesson Nick! Your explanation of how the hips, head and ribs move together was exceptionally clear.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on May 1, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      Awesome. You’ll see there’s a theme going on when I publish May’s Patron lesson! It’s a totally different ATM, but I’m really enjoying diving into hips/legs and torso!

  3. margit660@hotmail.com on May 1, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Many thanks for this wonderful lesson Nick. I felt my head by about 10 kg lighter at the end of the lesson and I feel now around my hips more mobile.

  4. Anne McDonald on June 16, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve done this lesson many times. But this time I learned new aspects of myself by playing around with my own variations. I was delighted with my discoveries! And as a result, I moved so easily! Nothing stood out to draw my attention to or away from just moving. Thanks for a great lesson Nick.

  5. Lauri on August 29, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Lovely lesson Nick, thank you! I really enjoy the Elizabeth Behringer CD that you referred to as the source of this lesson, and have often thought I would enjoy exploring the movement in more depth. This lesson brought me that experience.

  6. Amira Ghazalla on October 20, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    What a most beautiful lesson..
    bearing answers and inspiration where most needed.

    (a happy and most grateful newcomer to the patron lessons)

  7. Dorota Puchala on December 28, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Great lesson, but the most importantly beautiful style of teaching.
    It helps me integrate and experience the lesson in my body ,so I can teach it to my students tomorrow, with more clarity.

    Thank you Nick, always ????

    Dorota

  8. Lorraine on March 18, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you! I have a lot to think about and play with

  9. Claire Gunn on January 8, 2022 at 10:55 am

    First lesson as a patron ! I feel emotional because the Project has provided such wonderfully taught, quality experiences for me for a good few years. Emotional because I am now in a position to donate. And now I feel so very excited as I see all the new material I can explore!! A thousand thanks ????

    I noticed how hip biased I am in this lesson. So interesting how something (I’m thinking of lifting toes while heels stay together) can be easily found on one side and near impossible on the other. And interesting noticing my stubborn belief that I need to be symmetrical !

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on January 10, 2022 at 10:07 am

      Thanks so much for supporting The FP, and welcome to the Patrons lessons! We have so many that are truly among my favorite, most creative work. Symmetry is a funny one: we all feel the urge to be more symmetrical and there’s nothing wrong with that, except how quickly it can twist into internal strife! It’s one of those things in life where stepping back, letting go a little, and studying what’s actually there right now will, over time, lead you to more of what you want: symmetrical function. But trying to be symmetrical usually just reinforces asymmetrical habits.

      Anyway, enjoy! And thanks again.

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