Differentiating the Pelvic Floor Part 2 (25 min, Patrons)

Part 1 is a prerequisite for this lesson.

Back-lying, then chair-seated. Refine your pelvic floor sensitivity, awareness, and control by learning how the two sides of the pelvic floor can be differentiated. Link gentle contractions to side-bending movements of the legs, pelvis, spine, and head. Later, generate unusual sensory distinctions by sitting and moving on a towel "saddle" to further clarify the pelvic floor. Part 1 is a prerequisite for this lesson.

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 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 – 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!

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 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – Comments

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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 – 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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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 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 – 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

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For the end of this recording you’ll need a firm, level, non-rolling chair and a bath towel or hand towel. You’ll be rolling or folding the towel up to sit on in a peculiar way, so a few different sizes may be helpful to figure out what’s comfortable.

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 with letting your fingers and lips soften. You might pause the recording to play with this.

Here’s a brief reminder about the final movements of Part 1, if you wish to review before continuing on with Part 2.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, breathing easily. Gently and gradually draw up your pelvic floor as you tip your pelvis back, pubic bone coming closer to chin, lumbar flattening, abdomen shortening, ribs coming closer to pubic bone, tips of shoulders perhaps lifting, neck arching, head/eyes nodding upward a little. Relax all of that gradually, wait a breath or two, and repeat, perhaps experimenting with gathering up the whole pelvic floor, or the front or back of it.
  2. Same position, opposite kind of movement: Think of spilling out your pelvic floor, relaxing the sphincters as you tip your pelvis forward, pubic bone away from chin, lumbar and waist lift a little, belly lengthens and pushes forward, ribs move away from pubic bone, neck flattens, head and eyes look down a little. Relax all of that gradually, wait a breath or two, and repeat.
  3. Gently, slowly alternate.

About the pelvic floor, and Kegels

After doing pelvic floor 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.

In addition to being related to issues of continence, digestion and elimination, and sexual function, pelvic floor muscle tone is connected to all other human function. Ideally it is dynamically changing moment to moment as we breathe, balance, and walk, adapting to everything we do!

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 because things are always tight.

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 your pelvic floor tone variability 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.

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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3 Comments

  1. Nick Strauss-Klein on June 29, 2023 at 1:48 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. Nigel Atkinson on August 12, 2023 at 5:25 am

    I felt a sense of width and space in my pelvic floor like never before and that seems to equate to this sense of calm and well being.

    If we feel pinched and tight in the pelvic floor then this equates to feeling agitated on ourselves.

    A revelatory lesson for me.

  3. evelyn davis on March 20, 2024 at 8:56 pm

    After a fractured femur and surgery, my ability to get through more than two hours at night without a wee was very frustrating. I did five pelvic floor lessons in one week….and got it down to four or even five hours between visits! Brilliant brilliant. Amazing the power of awareness! Utterly amazing. Now that I can walk without crutches, my lumbar spinal stenosis has reared its ugly head again…..which lessons can I do that will help me shine the light of awareness onto that part of my back, please? All.thoughts and recommendations deeply welcome…..I.just can’t stand or walk for very long at all. Minutes only……

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