Floating Toward Bridging

Back-lying, knees bent, feet standing, variations on lifting and lowering the pelvis, and eventually bridging the arms, to improve upright organization and balance.

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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 – 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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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 – 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 – 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 3 – Head Support

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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 – 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.

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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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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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If you’re using a folded towel for head support, consider its thickness and avoid any excess height beyond what you need for comfort. You may find you want even less as the lesson progresses.

This lesson is found in the collection called Learning the Limbs, from the Center.

Like most of our lessons, this one can be studied out of context, but you may find additional learning value by approaching it in the order of the collection it’s in.

It can also be found in our Better Balance Deep Dive.

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  1. Marie on August 24, 2017 at 3:13 am

    Thanks Nick, I did this this morning, I felt wonderful afterwards and enjoyed the lesson a lot. I live in Brisbane, Australia, and discovered your online lessons about a year ago. I have done lots of them and loved them, some I didn’t finish but will go back to at some stage. I like your style of teaching and instructing, and am looking forward to trying your newest additions.
    Thanks so much for your generosity in making such a fantastic resource freely available online.
    Warm regards, Marie

  2. cj on November 22, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Very nice lesson Nick. Thank you

  3. Chris Sigurdson on March 27, 2018 at 9:02 am

    I move with such grace afterwards,

  4. Bonnie Angelie on May 20, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    hi nick,
    i would say, for my feedback as an elderly Feldenkrais prax, this was 4 great lessons in one. at this point i move even more slowly and do fewer “reps” with more attention. i had plenty to work with in a deeper way in the first 20 minutes. my honest opinion is that lessons should be slower, especially when there are so many different phases, joints/muscles involved. there is so much to notice and sense. my feeling is also that pupils are better served when they learn in smaller chunks, before putting it together. perhaps your students are more advanced or else need more stimulation. no disapproval intended. much gratitude intended.
    bonnie angelie, tucson

    • Lorraine on October 21, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      I also am older and have lots of experience with ATM. I also work more slowly and with fewer reps. I think it took me a long while to learn this and when I started, I needed more bits in a lesson.
      I use the pause button quite a bit. I’m thankful for recorded lessons that allow me my own personalized lessons.
      It is true for me, and perhaps true for you, that my need for slow and gentle is a sign of experience.

  5. Christine Barrington on January 3, 2020 at 12:14 am

    I have been on an adventure with frozen shoulder on both sides. This lesson was remarkably helpful. I’m very excited to see that as a patron, I can access a further lesson in the series specifically with freeing the shoulders as a focus. Thank you so much!

  6. Niva on June 14, 2020 at 2:24 am

    Thanks Nick, just did the lesson and much enjoyed it – it’s interesting and varied, and I feel taller with longer limbes, and more spacious inside.
    Warm regards from Tel Aviv

  7. Pam Merten on September 30, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    I feel energized because the intermittent chronic pain that I’ve had for years in my right hip area has been released. I am pretty sure it will return , but with less severity because I plan on doing this session many times to establish a new norm in order to break the dysfunctional patterning my body has been used to for so long. This session is a full body, powerful yet gentle work-out. Wow!!!

  8. Muriel on October 9, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Wonderful Nick! just was my back needed. My hips are no longer achey and the who spine feels freed!

  9. Lorraine on October 21, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    I have lots of difficulty with my hands. Lots of pain, loss of function and very deteriorated joints and soft tissue. I have had surgery which was only partly successful and therapy with an excellent hand therapist. This lesson has done more for my hand health than everything else I have done, even though I did all the hand exercises in the past in a very Feldenkrais way.
    Thank you so much! At the end of the lesson I feel amazed.

  10. Lorraine on January 10, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    I did this lesson again today. It was clearer but not necessarily easier.
    I remember as an undergraduate many years ago coming into a bridge and racing my fellow students up and down the gym. This seems like a fantasy now but this lesson gave me access to this in my imagination and I feel happy with this. So I don’t actually have to be able to physically do a movement to make it mine. Such a revelation!

  11. Lorraine on June 11, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    I did this lesson again today and once again remember coming into a bridge and walking backwards and forwards. Today my memory and imagination of this , without coming anywhere near a bridge allowed me access to movement in my chest that has changed my standing and walking.

  12. Elizabeth Hughes on May 26, 2022 at 5:37 am

    I found the bridging position of the hands difficult to do – I can’t seem to generate any force when I keep my hands flat and press into the floor to raise the upper body. If I let my fingers tips instead press into the floor, I seem to be able to generate a sufficient force to lift. Why the difference?

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on May 26, 2022 at 8:37 am

      Fingertips is a reasonable adaptation if that’s what’s possible right now, as long as it’s comfortable. Palm, if available, can eventually create a muscularly and skeletally simpler organization, but that’s (as always) something to find your way not force your way towards, doing only what’s easy for you. It’s likely one hand is easier to approximate more closely to the directions than the other. See if you can sense some details why.

  13. Fay on August 24, 2022 at 11:08 pm

    I’ve been coming back to this weekly for the last few weeks, just as much as it feels good to do. It has some fascinating mechanics! The press-foot-on-knee one was actually easier for me than some of the other variations – I think it forces me to use the front and back of my body together in ways the others don’t. Balance is a bit of a challenge but the lift is noticeably easier. I’m nowhere near being able to bridge the hands while keeping the elbows vertical-ish but I’m going to see what happens as I keep working with this.

  14. Pauline Donohoe on December 29, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    I really loved this lesson. So much tension left my body in various places. I had a little difficulty placing my palms flat but managed very well just usi g my fingers pressed onto the floor. I have osteoporosis and related to the tapping on the floor. I was wondering Nick if you can recommend a link for Bones for Life please. Thanks again for the wonderful lessons.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on December 31, 2022 at 12:08 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this lesson! I don’t have a BFL certification but I do recommend Cynthia Allen’s BFL programs: find her online at Future Life Now.

  15. Pauline Donohoe on December 31, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    Hi Nick. Thanks so much for the recommendation. I’ll definitely look it up. All the best for 2023 to you and your family.

  16. Fay on April 28, 2023 at 4:48 pm

    Very nice! I like that the theme still feels recognizable. A friend found that being able to speed up the lesson let them manage their attention better and actually finish a full one – neat to hear.

    Upgrade bug report: https://feldenkraisproject.com/collection/learning-limbs-from-center/ lists the lessons twice. The other collections only list them once, as expected.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on April 28, 2023 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks for the feedback! The upgrade was a lot of hours for me and Barbara, so your words are music to our ears! I’m intrigued to hear about that use of the new lesson speed control. Feldenkrais is about creating options, and it’s so cool that the lesson speed option already had a positive influence on someone’s learning. Finally, thanks for reporting that bug. I just squashed it. 😁 Please let us know on our upgrades roadmap if you find more.

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