Dynamic Diagonal Lengthening (Patrons)

Mostly back-lying, small side-to-side rolls, often one hand connected to the opposite knee. This lesson uses subtle weight-shifting to help you effortlessly lengthen your spine and limbs, free your ribs, and improve diagonal relationships among the five lines of the body.

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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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.

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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 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.

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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

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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 – What’s New

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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.

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.

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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Note: Click the Context or Related Lessons tab for a companion lesson, A Dynamic “Core” Lengthens the Spine (Patrons), after you’ve done this one.

If it’s currently uncomfortable for you to lie on your belly, you may skip the brief front-lying explorations at the beginning and end of the lesson. Simply rest on your back and imagine for those few minutes.

Near the beginning of the lesson, when you’re lying on your back holding your left knee in left hand and your right knee in your right hand, please allow a comfortable distance between your legs as you shift and roll slightly side to side. Your bent legs shouldn’t be touching or pressed together.

I missed an obvious variation, which you may enjoy adding on subsequent listenings: after the steps in the latter half of the lesson where you “sustain the altitude” of one knee while moving the other from side-to-side, it’s great to explore a few more movements again without that sustained knee constraint. In other words, return to the familiar way of allowing both knees to move.

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our growing collection of new lessons for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors, one or more added every month. It also appears in our Deep Dive courses called Rock & Roll! (and Rotate) and The Illusion of Isolation.

Audio was captured during a live Zoom lesson on August 11, 2020, then edited for flow and clarity. The very next week the class went on to explore A Dynamic “Core” Lengthens the Spine (Patrons). Explore it next for a pair of lessons linked by five lines imagery and source.

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17 Comments

  1. Guido Setton on September 11, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    Hi Nick, I thought it was a great lesson.
    Question: what did Feldenkrais think or said (if anything) about the importance of stretching more in a traditional way like in Yoga?
    Is the ATM the ultimate goal of Feldenkrais or increasing the range of motion as well? It seems that is more about the insight generated by the movement and not so much about the range?

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on September 16, 2020 at 11:06 am

      Yes to your last question! I love the phrase “insight generated by the movement”. I often call lessons “sensation generators” designed to cultivate your curiosity. Ultimate goal is more about life than our bodies or even awareness: Moshe wanted us to be “more fully human,” living and accomplishing our dreams effectively, safely, and with deep satisfaction. I’m not the best on Moshe quotes and I don’t recall him talking about traditional stretch. I know he did not find thinking of muscles without a brain attached to them useful.

  2. Geri Destasio on September 12, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Wow, super lesson! So many parts to be aware of! Such good opening! Thanks Nick!

  3. Guido Setton on September 17, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks for your response Nick! iam really enjoying your lessons a lot.
    I have done many years of various yoga styles and I like the fact that this feels different and relaxing but highly effective. I feel great every time i finish a lesson. I will try to find out on the website when you teach live so maybe i can joint at some point.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on September 17, 2020 at 12:12 pm

      Fantastic! Can’t resist making that search easy for you: here’s our live Zoom classes page. It’s also linked on our homepage and in our Lessons menu.

  4. Daphne Graber on September 24, 2020 at 1:54 am

    A whole new “me” at the end of the lesson!
    Such a great present for the new year.
    Thank you so much.

  5. Susan Mayer on February 25, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Nick, I’m loving my daily lessons with you for the past month+. Your clarity, encouragement, even voice are making my return to Feldenkrais such an important part of finding my way toward ease in my aging, challenged body-self.
    I suppose the internalized wisdom is truly happening for me (even though I think I “lose” the nourishing, easeful effects post-lesson within 15 minutes!) because I definitely found my way through all sorts of beautiful possibilities during this lesson.
    Thank you for the gift you are offering all of us with the Project.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on February 25, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks for your detailed comment! Regarding “losing” effects in 15 minutes, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to share with the FP community a little text exchange with my dear mother, who has begun attending my Zoom classes since quarantine began and gave me permission to share this. And you gave me the perfect opportunity to float this out into the internet! Let me know if this is helpful – I’m trying to figure out which listener question it actually answers!

      Mom: The new fulcrum I have from this morning’s lesson has lasted all day! [Note, the class she attended later became our Sacral Clock Patron lesson] I feel it when I stand from sitting, walk, bend and then right myself, climb steps. Rather amazing. I wonder if my brain and pelvis will remember it tomorrow. Thank you. Much love, Mom

      Me: That’s an awesome comment! Shows a healthy process, including uncertainty about “remembering.” Sometime if you like we could talk about the learning process. There’s a cumulative effect from Feldenkrais study, more like studying a musical instrument over time than having one great piano lesson. Brains integrate and assimilate old and new, reorganizing skill gradually over time. The “oh wows” immediately after lessons aren’t the end goal but a part of the process. What we’re aiming at is a more skillful life, which feels more effective and less conflicted generally. A shiny new sacrum is a really nice feeling but if it always felt new it would actually hold you back!

      • Matthew Lanzi on June 24, 2021 at 7:57 pm

        Beautiful comment AND response!

  6. Liana on June 18, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks for this lesson 🙂 I sense that I’m sort of bracing somewhere beneath my right ribs and deep in my torso. This lesson brought out that sense, and I’m wondering if you might have related lessons that you can recommend.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on June 21, 2021 at 11:14 am

      Always hard to say from a distance, but generally my recommendation depends on your level of experience. If you’ve done a fair amount of Feldenkrais you could dive right into our collection called Lessons for Freeing the Spine, Chest, Shoulders, and Neck. If you’re newer, working through our Getting Oriented collection first should be helpful.

  7. Addi on June 24, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    hi, my first lesson w/you–ThankYou!
    Lovely and enJoyable 😉
    I ended feeling longer/lengthened and when walking using my skeleton more/shifting weight rather then using muscles to move body/frame/skeleton…also very relaxing lesson. Love what your Mother wrote and your reply–I have often wondered if my Feldy-practice has changed the way I move (and as you say, live) in a general way as opposed to just during and briefly after lesson. Happy to hear it’s cumulative!
    Thanks again.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on June 25, 2021 at 10:16 am

      Great! Welcome and thanks for leaving a comment. I was hoping my little exchange with my mom would be helpful to someone – this is great to hear!

  8. Christine Barrington on July 2, 2021 at 12:03 am

    It’s always wonderful to feel how my ribcage floats after a particular lesson. I feel inches taller after this one, and I am breathing much more deeply. Lovely. Now off to bed…

  9. Sally Jenkins on July 4, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    Beautiful lesson — I learned so much — hard to describe it all but I’m certainly freer, longer, more fluid than when I began the lesson.

  10. Lorraine on August 17, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    Learning to feel more and do less, and to feel the effect of this came very slowly to me. I wasn’t a natural at ATM. Slowly I came to appreciate this despite my natural inclination to try really hard. Then I had a long break from Feldenkrais and when I came back to it what had remained was some of the movements but what I had truly gained from my earlier experience of Feldenkrais was the trust in feeling without striving for force or magnitude. So what had stayed with me over a long time was the enhanced ability to learn.

  11. Sara Firman on October 18, 2022 at 7:52 am

    I think I am going to use this before and after my crawl swimming sessions – so liberating!

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