Drifting the Knees and Nose for Simpler Turns and Twists (Patrons)

Back-lying, knees bent. Drifting the knees to ease the spine and clarify its turning and twisting functions, with gentle integration of the shoulders and head. This quiet, deceptively simple lesson is a powerful reorganizer for your nervous system, adding grace and wholeness to all your movements. Typically also eases the neck, chest, lower back, hips, and the anxiety pattern.

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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Study tip: Wear loose, comfortable clothes that are warm enough for quiet movement. Remove or avoid anything restrictive like belts or glasses.

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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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It’s important that no effort is needed to keep your feet from sliding away from you when you’re lying on your back with feet standing, bent knees “effortlessly drifting.”

Making the lower legs nearly vertical (having the knees quite bent) helps with this.

Additionally – or if that’s not comfortable for you – a high friction surface or sticky socks may help.

Note that even very flexible folks should keep these movements small, probably just a few inches, though that may effortlessly grow during the lesson. The knees are not intended to approach the floor until the very end of the lesson when rolling toward sitting up is explored.

Move just as smoothly and gradually when returning to the home position, not just going into the movement.

On a second exploration of this lesson reversing all lefts and rights might be valuable. Note also how simple the lesson structure is. It’s a great one for improvisatory practice of some or all variations later, without the recording.

After class the students and I discussed how this lesson is a potent little study of some of the deepest wiring we have as the world’s only upright vertebrates. Our unique turning and twisting neurology co-evolved with our upright spine.

The lesson’s intention is to nudge us outside of our familiar ways of turning and twisting, so we can learn to use our axis more skillfully. This happens not by performing challenging or large movements, but by learning to attend more clearly to the details of our wholeness.

This kind of quiet, simple lesson structure – and its very simple ways of experiencing left and right – creates interesting neurological effects, which are discussed a bit in the recording.

To illustrate this I’ve copied some after-class student discussion into the comments section below. Please add your own!

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

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

It was recorded in a FP Weekly Zoom class on September 13, 2022, then edited to improve flow, clarity, and audio quality.

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  1. Nick Strauss-Klein on January 20, 2023 at 8:41 am

    I’ve taught this ATM many times, and I’ve noticed that it always generates very expressive student feedback. After this class one student called it “particularly drifty,” explaining she meant her mind, not just the body parts she enjoyed drifting. Another said she felt “otherworldly.”

    Then a third said this:

    For me there’s an “innerworldly-ness” about these lessons. Most of the time we’re really taught not to look inside much. Instead we’re taught to cope with the world outside. What I do in this class is direct my attention to an inner universe of information, possibilities, capabilities.

    What was your experience with this lesson?

  2. Sara Firman on January 20, 2023 at 11:59 am

    Agreeing with above comment that this leaves me wonderfully spacey and relaxed. Thank you as ever.

  3. Gertrude Schmidt on June 5, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    Yesterday I did this lesson for the 3d time and the twisting and turning at the end was so delightful I could go on for a long time. Lying quiet afterwards on my back I sensed the perfect orientation for my legs for standing.
    Getting up from my bed this morning just confirmed this sensation and my back acknowledged it with gradititude.

  4. Leah Landau on October 12, 2023 at 6:26 am

    i felt like i was lying in a pool of soft information. The helpful hint to do the class lazily and not attempt bigger movements until the end of the class was very helpful. This laziness cue allowed my attention to drift to the back of my awareness. I also had some moments of letting go through seperate hips, encouraged by the cue of leading through the bones, or allowing a boney participation through the whole body. Thank you!

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