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Gathering the Spine, Stepping Down

Recorded live in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class, the lesson below is copyright Nick Strauss-Klein, for personal use only. This and all our audio lessons are 100% donor-supported. Read this before you begin for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below. Click the other lesson note tabs if you’re curious.

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Back-lying, side-lying, and transitioning into side-lying, refining and harnessing your image of your spine's bias and action as it relates to (and powers) the stepping down of your feet. All toward reorganizing your gait.
  • For a variety of reasons this lesson is a bit more challenging than most other Feldenkrais Project lessons. It’s fine for all who have at least a little ATM experience, so be sure you’ve explored your way through earlier lessons in this collection, and earlier collections.
  • Early in the lesson you’re asked to extend your arm “overhead,” and “overhead on the floor.” As always in my ATMs, these directions are relative to YOU. Since you’re lying on your back at the time, overhead means on the floor, not extended into the air toward the ceiling (which is in front of you, not overhead). If this isn’t comfortable for your arm it can be on the floor out to the side as much as is necessary for it to be restful, rather than straight upwards on the floor.

Here at the end of our collection called Learning the Limbs, from the Center, we directly explore how our most proximal, central structure (the spine) powers our legs and gait.

Learning to sense and use your primary spinal bias to your advantage in day-to-day movements is profoundly important work that can lead to significant quality of life improvements.

This bias is introduced and explored more thoroughly in our collection called Lessons for Freeing the Spine, Chest, Shoulders, and Neck. You can also find a bias study opportunity earlier in this collection in the Arms Like a Skeleton, with a Bias lesson.

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.


Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to download this lesson’s MP3 file.


Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view Nick’s comments about sources he used while developing this lesson.


Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view related lesson titles and links.

Comfort & Configuration
  • For a variety of reasons this lesson is a bit more challenging than most other Feldenkrais Project lessons. It’s fine for all who have at least a little ATM experience, so be sure you’ve explored your way through earlier lessons in this collection, and earlier collections.
  • Early in the lesson you’re asked to extend your arm “overhead,” and “overhead on the floor.” As always in my ATMs, these directions are relative to YOU. Since you’re lying on your back at the time, overhead means on the floor, not extended into the air toward the ceiling (which is in front of you, not overhead). If this isn’t comfortable for your arm it can be on the floor out to the side as much as is necessary for it to be restful, rather than straight upwards on the floor.
Curiosities

Here at the end of our collection called Learning the Limbs, from the Center, we directly explore how our most proximal, central structure (the spine) powers our legs and gait.

Learning to sense and use your primary spinal bias to your advantage in day-to-day movements is profoundly important work that can lead to significant quality of life improvements.

This bias is introduced and explored more thoroughly in our collection called Lessons for Freeing the Spine, Chest, Shoulders, and Neck. You can also find a bias study opportunity earlier in this collection in the Arms Like a Skeleton, with a Bias lesson.

Context

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.

Download

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to download this lesson’s MP3 file.

Source

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view Nick’s comments about sources he used while developing this lesson.

Related Lessons

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view related lesson titles and links.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Understood it better. Really noticed “long islands” as a result.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  • Hi Nick. This lesson must be important to me, bc it is not easy for me to make it easy. I have a very strong extension bias, and my whole lower back never rests on the floor as I lie on my back – the right side more active than the left (right foot surgery as an infant). As this lesson involves initiating action with both legs long, I am not able presently to find a way to allow my lower back to rest comfortably on the ground. Not having the floor to inform me I found I can feel very little regarding how I use my lower back, or even where it is in space. I can control it to a small extent, but it is not effortless. So, here’s my question: I have been placing a small, soft folded towel under my lower back, which touches my body gently, but does not push on it, so I can bring the floor up to my back (if Moses doesn’t go to the mountain…). I have found it very helpful, but I would like to hear your thoughts about it. And my apologies for the long long comment. JP

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      December 9, 2019 4:37 pm

      I appreciate the fine detail of this question, and I think your alteration sounds very wise. We do what we do in Feldenkrais to generate sensation, which requires lowering the effort, insisting on comfort, and plenty of safe and pleasant and interesting and varied stimulation, which I believe you’ve added to with the towel. As I imagine what I understand from your comment I also find myself thinking of you cultivating great length and breath through your lower back and waist as you look for these initiations. That’s a self-image challenge, since any trying for length and breath will actually reduce both. Finally, I agree with your conclusion: the lessons that are most difficult for us are often the most important. Of course that never means there’s a rush to achieve something with them. Quite the opposite, actually, even more so than usual!

      Reply
  • This was my first Feldenkrais lesson after a week in hospital. It was so wonderful to lie on the floor and let myself focus on myself. Because I was not feeling well, I had a little more opportunity to try less. Such a wonderful way to speed recovery!

    Reply

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