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Differentiating the Pelvic Floor Part 1 (35 min, Patrons)

Part 2 is here.

Back-lying. Refine your pelvic floor sensitivity, awareness, and control by learning how distinct, gentle contractions of the front and back of the pelvic floor are neurologically connected to movements of the pelvis, spine, hands, and lips. A brief chair-seated beginning helps you identify the four skeletal landmarks of the diamond-shaped pelvic floor.

35m
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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 – 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.

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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 – 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 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 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 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 – 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 – 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 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 – 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 2 – Social Sharing

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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!

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:

If you’re brand new to Feldenkrais pelvic floor lessons, start with Pelvic Floor Connections (37 min, Patrons) or Two Sitbones, Two Sides of the Pelvic Floor (31 min, Patrons) instead.

You’ll need a firm, level chair or stool for the first two minutes of this lesson.

The pelvic floor contractions resemble a Kegel exercise, but in Feldenkrais study these movements are much gentler and slower than how Kegels are usually taught.

Think LESSS is more: Light, Easy, Soft, Slow, Smooth movements of your pelvic floor give your brain sensory data it can learn and improve with, so you can refine your control. In addition to raising your sensitivity, doing continually LESSS will also help you avoid getting tired, since you’ll be doing this movement a lot.

Many people find pelvic floor lessons particularly emotionally or culturally challenging. We invite you to pause and take breaks as needed. It’s also not uncommon to need to pause for a bathroom break.

When you develop the “bell hand” and lips movements, I could have said more explicitly that you can experiment with gently drawing up the pelvic floor as you close your fingertips together and purse your lips, and letting it down gradually as you let your fingers and lips open and soften. You might pause the recording to play with this.

After pelvic floor Feldenkrais lessons you may begin to notice in your regular life that your pelvic floor is often more contracted than you find necessary or desirable. Noticing these moments is normal and useful: it’s a necessary step toward reducing excess effort and learning better function of the pelvic floor in all your activities.

When you do notice unnecessary pelvic floor tension, don’t immediately let it go. Instead take a moment to sense it, and then experiment with gradually relaxing the tension, while noticing changes throughout yourself.

About the pelvic floor, and Kegels

In addition to being related to issues of continence, digestion and elimination, and sexual function, the pelvic floor is connected to all other actions. Ideally it is dynamically changing every moment, adapting to and assisting everything we do, just like breathing and balancing.

Often when we think our pelvic floor is “weak” it actually just lacks variability in muscle tone. If we’re always holding it at a 9 out of 10, then there’s not much room to tighten it more when we need to!

And “strength training,” like traditional Kegels, is usually not very fruitful because brute force doesn’t get applied accurately or efficiently if we can’t sense and feel the details. When the efforts are intense, and/or we’re already chronically tight, we can’t sense and control our muscles clearly.

So one intention in these lessons is to learn to sense and use the minimum necessary tone for the moment. We’re more interested in lowering the bottom of the variability of your pelvic floor tone than raising the top.

This actually gives us a faster, stronger, and more thorough ability to increase pelvic floor tone precisely as needed, where needed, and only when needed.

After a break, continue on with Part 2. We recommend a break of at least 10 minutes, maximum of 24 hours, so that you can continue while the movements and sensations are fresh in your mind.

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our collection of lessons exclusively for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors.

It also appears in our Pelvic Floor: Less Is More course.

It was recorded in a FP Weekly Zoom class on May 17, 2022, then split into Part 1 and Part 2, and edited to improve flow, clarity, and audio quality.

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

The original hour-long class recording is in our Legacy and Alternate Lessons collection, under the title Improving Pelvic Floor Control and Ease (Patrons).

Splitting it into Part 1 and Part 2, and taking a break between them, is a better way for most people to study this lesson.

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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4 Comments

  1. Nick Strauss-Klein on June 29, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Comments from the original full-length version that was split into Part 1 and Part 2:

    Gertrude Schmidt on March 21, 2023 at 4:11 am:

    I do this lesson very carefully – with movements just between thinking and action – so I get a lot out of it without fatigue.

    This morning walking around – enjoying my relaxed feet touching the ground – thinking how this diamond shaped pelvic floor influences my breathing and connects my whole body – I found myself singing the lines of the song
    ‘Love Is All Around’ by Wet Wet Wet
    I feel it in my fingers
    I feel it in my toes
    Love that’s all around me
    And so the feeling grows

    Thanks Nick for your wonderful Feldenkrais project

    joan davis on March 27, 2023 at 1:15 am:

    More of the pelvic floor work please! It’s so intimately connected to my feelings of well being and confidence in the world. Thank you

  2. Joan Oliver Goldsmith on July 2, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    Amazingly enough, I improvised my way into exactly the final movement some months ago when I was trying to find something to relieve the cramps that accompany gastric distress. At that point I didn’t think about the pelvic floor but rather tightening and releasing the sphincters and the lower abdominals as I rocked slowly between 6 and 12 on the pelvic clock. I’ve found it very effective. I may burp or fart when I’m done, but the pain is greatly diminished.

    Also, an extremely nice resting position for this practice is the Yoga position “happy baby”. And who doesn’t want to be a happy baby?

  3. Pam Merten on July 9, 2023 at 11:02 am

    In the very beginning of the lesson during the body scan, my entire right side felt like raw nerves (difficult to explain…”physical”anxiety?) I have had a severe injury on that side…in the process of healing. At the end of this lesson, my right side experienced “physical” peace. Go figure!!

    Thanks, Nick!!

  4. Nigel Atkinson on August 12, 2023 at 5:18 am

    I experienced a deep sense of calm and well being after this lesson.

    Something to do with breathing and moving, the breath moving the whole self, particularly the ribs and pelvic floor.

    Making these connections gives an access to something profound.

    I appreciate the way you separated the lesson into to parts as there is a complex simplicity to the first part that benefits from the space you have given it.

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