Folding, Foundation, and Length (Patrons)

From our Legacy and Alternate Lessons collection. Other ways to study this material are in the Alternate Version and Related Lessons tabs.

Lying on the back, holding the head and knees in different combinations, improving the forward folding of the body through building awareness of the use of the ground (foundation) and aspects of lengthening. Relating the ankles, lower back, and head.

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 – 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 – 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 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 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 – 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.

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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 1 – Interrupted?

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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.

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!

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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  • The recording picks up with the last few seconds of a lively “what is Feldenkrais?” discussion before class began. This class meets in an exercise studio in a fitness center, and I was differentiating the Feldenkrais Method from other kinds of classes that meet in that room. I called Feldenkrais part of the fourth area of fitness: coordination training, as opposed to traditional “exercise” forms of fitness in the more common three areas: strength, cardiovascular, and lengthening (or stretch) training. The Feldenkrais Method, strictly speaking, is a somatically-based educational method.
  • There’s never any goal to make the elbow and knee touch in these movements. Often through the course of the lesson they will spontaneously start to get much closer, or perhaps touch, but this is not due to more effort. In fact we’re looking for you to use less effort to fold as you become more efficient and get free of unnecessary muscle tonus that is competing with the folding.
  • Those who are very flexible can certainly simply move the elbow and knee past each other, with the elbow brushing sometimes the inside of the knee, sometimes the outside.

At 27:00 I mixed up a right and left. The left hand is actually holding the head, but I fleetingly say “right” one time.

This lesson is found in our Legacy and Alternate Lessons collection.

Like most of our lessons, this one can be studied out of context.

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This is an alternate teaching of Folding, Foundation, and Feet, from our Lessons for Better Posture, Walking, and Running collection.

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  1. Claire on February 4, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Wow that was my favourite lesson so far. You really are very good. Thank you.

  2. Anne McDonald on July 20, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Thank you. I needed that. Up-down, right-left, forwards-backwards are now easily sensed. I’m in my body and out in the world! Again, many thanks, Nick.

  3. Ileana Vogelaar on January 2, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    Great lesson for the whole body.
    I got a little confused on “rolling to the heel””. Sometimes felt like pulling my heel as rolling, that made low back arch.
    Other times felt like pushing, ever slightly , and surely, low back flatten.
    Was I doing too much with my heel ?

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on January 3, 2022 at 12:57 pm

      It’s nice to keep the leg rolling quiet, slow, and small enough to not make the lower back to arch.

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