Driving and Dynamic Sitting – Chair Practice

Clarify the skeletal support provided by our sitbones and discover their lively role (and roll!) in all seated movements. With some emphasis on side-bending, all three planes of movement are discussed, explored, and differentiated, first in "pure" forms, and then blended together into natural movements.

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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 – 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 – 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 – 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!

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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.

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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.

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.

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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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Tech tip: On mobile or tablet? Once you start playing the audio, your device’s native playback controls should work well.

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 – Technical Difficulties

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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.

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Driving and Dynamic Sitting – Floor Practice isn’t a prerequisite for this lesson, but you’ll hear it referenced in the recording. If you’re comfortable with sitting on the floor you could do that lesson first.

sit bones sitting

Here’s an illustration from Alexander Technique London to help you find your sitbones. Sometimes people are surprised by how relatively close to their midline the sitbones are. Click on the graphic to visit and read a post I can recommend called “Stand on your bottom, what?!”

A simple chair is needed for this lesson. Often a kitchen or dining room table chair provides the best level, firm (or lightly upholstered) surface. No armrests, if possible. You can sit back in the chair to rest any time you’d like, but generally the movements of the lesson are easiest to do and feel if you’re near the front of the chair and your knees are hip-width or wider, with your feet on the floor directly under your knees.

Safety first: if you’re working on how you sit and move in your car seat, please practice only when the car is parked.

I often use another name for the horizontal plane, the plane of turning movements. It’s the second one in this graphic. You’ll hear me call it the transverse plane.

Click here to read About Dynamic Sitting in which I discuss the origin and intended use of these Driving and Dynamic Sitting lessons.

As mentioned in the recording, each of the experiments in different planes of movement could function as a “mini lesson.” Feel free to break up this lesson into smaller parts. When you return to, sit down, rest and breathe for a moment, then just improvise for a minute or two on the movements you remember coming prior to where you are in the recording, then finally press play again. Once you know the lesson well, I hope very much that you’ll play with these new movements and sensations in all the chairs and driver’s seats in your life!

The meditation teaching I reference in the recording is from Andy Puddicombe’s amazing work at headspace.com. I’m really valuing it in my personal and professional life lately and I can heartily recommend this resource to beginning or experienced meditators.

This lesson is in our Easier Sitting collection.

Like most of our lessons, this one works well on its own, but you may find additional learning value by preceding it with Driving and Dynamic Sitting – Floor Practice, which explores closely related principles in floor-seated and back-lying positions, and is referenced in this recording.

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  1. Laurie on February 3, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    What a great lesson! I did the lesson on my saddle (on a rack, not the horse), and had some great discoveries. This helped me to realize how I’ve been inadvertently blocking my horses ribcage movement through my own “stuck places.” While at first I groaned as I love my lying down lessons, the amount of learning I gleaned for my riding (and driving too) made this another one of my favorites I will be coming back to again and again. Can’t wait to see what my horse says about it! Bet you didn’t know you were a riding instructor, Nick!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on April 23, 2018 at 9:01 am

      This is such an awesome application of this lesson. Thanks for letting me know! It will help me spread the word about it!

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