Connecting Shoulders and Hips Part 1
Side-lying, improving functional relationships of the shoulders and hips through small and large movements. Constructing and improving your image of the "quadrilateral" of the torso while integrating the ribs, spine, neck, and head. Later, harnessing the suppleness of the quadrilateral to support reaching and circling the arm.
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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 – Rewinding
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Tip 1 – Interrupted?
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Tip – skip a lesson
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Tip – Pause the recording
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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 – 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 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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So…wow! Thanks Nick!
I already LOVE Feldenkrais and recommend it all the time. Just did part one and thrilled to bits. I’ve spent many, many, many hours on the floor in ATM classes when rehabbing my back from an injury years ago…and now as prevention/get the kinks out. LOVED this lesson, your voice, the pace and most of all the delicious experience of the changes. Going to donate now [very happily!] and nudge others to check you out & do the same. Much love, Rudy Hunter
Great class and I also gladly donate to keep it all going!
Thank you so much for your support! It really makes a difference in my ability to make time for the project.
I really liked the lessons, I previously suffered from a strain in my elbow.I outstarted with a very wobbly image of the 4 corners and it improved greatly.I like the idea of imagining a lot.Thanks for the lesson.It is greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much Nick, it was really sensual today for me 🙂
Greetings from Spain
Thanks from lockdown in Melbourne. cases back up to 113 today 🙁
I love your classes Nick, before lockdown I was participating in a weekly ATM class locally. i’m so delighted to have found your classes and to support your work through donation. This class has released a great deal of holding tension and troubles with one side of my body. Thank you, your energy cells light yet holding, a joy to experience :’
Oops! Some typos there, it was meant to say ‘your energy is light yet holding, a joy to experience ‘
Nice! I liked sweeping the ceiling side arm above the head and also reaching it out incrementally around a circle. Really felt a nice stretch and releasing in shoulder and hip (groin and low back) areas. Thanks for providing these lessons!
I’m grateful for the clarity of your explanations and your decision to stay away from technical, anatomical terms. I’m a physical therapist–I’ve worked a lot with older adults with neurological difficulties and I’m acutely aware of how ineffective we are at helping people understand how their bodies move. I always hated how we hide behind technical explanations that nobody (maybe even healthcare people) understands.
It’s interesting how precise anatomical discussion can be a limit on our skillfulness. I’m guilty as charged: much more interested in relationships and function of our parts than names!
I’m new to Feldenkrais and really enjoyed the new integration of the shoulder with the rest of the quadrilateral. I think there is more potential for this to happen if I understand how to use the image of the quadrilateral. I’m currently trying to feel those areas directly and just pay attention to the raw sensations of the areas then leave it up to some subconscious part of me to take over from there and use that information. Should I be doing anything more to get this image of the quadrilateral going so that everything works together better? I’m just not sure how to access that without just making a mental image and almost imagining that shape in my head as if it was a film projected onto my field of vision that I see where my eyes are.
Thanks for this fantastic question. You’ve articulated something very subtle, and I am sure that many who are new to Feldenkrais can benefit. You’re on the right track when you mention raw sensations and “some subconscious part of me”: your brain is wired to learn from your embodied experience of subtle variations of movement experiments, and simply being as present as possible in the safe, comfortable, curious lesson environment goes most of the distance in this learning. After all, it’s the same way you learned and organized yourself as a pre-verbal, pre-analytical baby, when you did the most efficient and life-changing motor learning you’ll ever do!
And also…you’re an intelligent, analytical adult, and we can leverage that part of our brains in the learning process, too. Your question about how to use image is great. While visualization is a valuable part of the imagery process, we’re arguably pointing you more toward kinesthetic imagination: with the thought of the quadrilateral in mind, how do actual and imagined movements relate to the idea of the image? Certainly visualization can help, but it’s not something that needs to be perfected, more of a jumping off point toward feeling sophisticated internal relationships more clearly.
Please feel free to reply to this comment if you want to discuss more, and thanks for your interest and support.
Thanks for this lesson Nick! I always find myself coming back to this lesson, when I have tension in mid to upper back, neck and shoulder area! It does amazing things for my upper back congestion! So very grateful!
Thank you, Thank you. Since I have COPD this has really helped me act on breathing without thinking about breathing. During Feldenkrais lessons I can go fully on auto pilot and give myself the freedom to just be with the movements without judging myself.
I have a general question in relation to lying on the side. I sometimes wonder when lying there should I just allow my waist to kind of sink down into the floor, even if that means my spine will not be straight anymore? (I know for example that Pilates people advice against the latter) And what about the shoulder I am lying on? I could have it kind of stacked under me which means I will be more liftet in the shoulder area, or I could let it allow to glide forward?
Within your comfort yes, you can let your waist rest, so you feel you’re fully resting on your side between times when you’re moving. Some people purposely put a few layers of a soft towel, or even a soft foam packing pad, underneath their waists if it’s hard to fully rest. And the shoulder you’re lying on will change as you move, since you’re rolling your weight at times more forward and more backward. Thanks for asking, and feel free to ask a follow-ups.