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Connecting Shoulders and Hips Part 2

Side-lying, further expanding the image of the shoulders and hips toward improving major postural and gait-related organizations of the torso. This lesson uses bending and thrusting the legs from the hips along with lengthening, arcing, and circling the arms. Prerequisite linked in lesson notes.


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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.

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Please be sure you are very comfortable with Connecting Shoulders and Hips Part 1 before exploring this lesson.

Also read the Comfort & Configuration lesson notes tab for Part 1 (they’re applicable for Part 2 also).

There’s one configuration difference with Part 1 which may not be initially clear: the resting side-lying position is generally less “square” in the legs. The knees are still bent and stacked on top of each other comfortably in front of you, but they’re not asked to be right in front of the hips like they are in Part 1. Rather, you may have less of a “lap” in this lesson (if you think of the side-lying position like sitting in a chair would be). To put it another way, the resting angle at the front of the hips is looser than Part 1’s 90 degrees, except where explicitly noted.

Copied from Connecting Shoulders and Hips Part 1 Curiosities:

While our limbs, the most distal parts of the body, usually do most of our direct interacting with the world, their muscle and bone structure is designed for refined, detailed tasks of enacting our intention in the world: touching things, balancing and orienting our weight on two little feet. They’re made to precisely direct muscular forces that come from more proximal (central) parts of us, not to create our efforts, as we sometimes think.

Despite this reality of physics and anatomy we often have the idea that our hands, feet, and limbs are the source of our power, but even the powerful leg muscles are designed to work in harmony with more powerful muscles of the torso and pelvis. Most of us spend little time improving the coordination and efficiency of our “center,” our proximal selves. This faulty self-image leads to self-use that creates wear and tear for our distal structures as they struggle without enough effective support from our powerful middle parts: carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, and many knee, ankle and foot troubles are a few common ailments often related to this phenomenon.

While improving the proximal/distal relationship is a regular goal in Feldenkrais lessons, this lesson starts our collection specifically designed to help you understand and improve the clarity, effectiveness, and ease of moving “from the center.”

For more about walking, check out Nick’s article called We Evolved for Easy Walking.

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

It can be helpful to continue on to the next lesson in the collection, which benefits from this learning, soon after this one. It’s called Rolling to Sitting, and Beyond.

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  1. Beth on January 13, 2018 at 10:28 am

    I did this lesson after a day of driving through three States and am grateful for your generous sharing of it. I’m feeling the constraints of sitting seat-belted (even with the most wonderful YogaBack support) melting away. Thank you!

  2. Lauri Sippel on September 22, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Wonderful lesson – thank you for bringing our attention to the work of Chevah. Blessings!

  3. Sue on March 6, 2019 at 6:02 am

    This lesson justs get better and better with repetition. The vitality of the torso that it creates feels like a wonderful warm glow. Quite something for someone, like me, who just cannot do core work with Pilates! Many thanks

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on March 6, 2019 at 10:24 am

      You’re welcome! Lovely to hear. I agree professionally and personally: repeating a lesson is only a matter of studying the same recording or text again, but the learning never repeats, and just gets better! We’re always meeting the lesson from a new moment, a different present self.

  4. Amira on May 26, 2019 at 10:08 am

    left me with a sense of joyful readiness… lovely. thank you.

  5. Margie on October 26, 2019 at 9:50 am

    You are an artist Nick. I felt you caught up in the web of your own words, releasing the essence of the movements they dictated

  6. Hara Julsing on March 13, 2020 at 7:15 am

    It’s Nice way to be aware of my body structure .
    It is a big help to feel fit ,special for my age ( 74)
    Thanks so much Nick. !!
    with love

  7. Marie on August 3, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for this fabulous lesson. After caring for my terminally ill mother for 7 months, not to mention the pandemic, my body has felt like one big knot of stress and tension. Since Mum passed away just over 2 weeks ago, aged 89, I have been doing one of your classes most days and gradually the knots are unraveling and I’m sleeping better. I particularly enjoyed this lessen and loved the feelings of movement and release it created. Thank you for your generosity in sharing this wonderful resource.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on August 25, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      It is my pleasure. So sorry to hear about your mother, and honored to be part of your process these weeks. Feldenkrais is indeed a welcome balm in grief – I have felt this personally.

  8. Karin on September 23, 2020 at 7:12 am

    A very potent release, thank you. When I first laid down I could feel pain in my right hip, by half way through the class it had gone! I also felt my jaw tension release as my hips and shoulders released. Again Nick, you paint so well with words and bring a fun, light and compassionate energy to the class helping us to love all of ourselves as we are 🙂

  9. Jean Dehmer on December 8, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Very delightful continuation of previous lesson (Connecting Hips and Shoulders 1) which left me wanting more because it was so good! Nearing the end, fantastic stretch in right hip when moving bent knee forward while rolling hip backward (and vice versa), especially when paired with sweeping arm overhead forward and backward. I have started doing these lessons from the Feldenkrais Project multiple times a week and am quickly feeling improvement in all sorts of ‘stuck’ areas of my body. Thanks Nick!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on December 8, 2020 at 10:57 am

      My pleasure, literally! I love these lessons, too. So pleased you’re diving in and finding improvement. Thanks for commenting on this and Part 1.

  10. Luisa on November 13, 2022 at 12:37 am

    I loved the flow of the lesson. I experienced feelings of pleasure, permission, possibility, pliability. At the end I had a sense of increased proportionality in myself and my surroundings. Thank you!

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