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Legs as Free as a Baby’s

Back-lying, one or both knees bent, tilting the knees and letting their weight twist, turn, and lengthen the body. Transferring weight. Broadening and clarifying the function and ease of the pelvis, hip joints, and lumbar. Learning to bend and straighten the legs with the freedom of a baby. Integrating this learning through the whole self, including the chest, shoulders, head, and eyes.

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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 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 – 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 – 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 – 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!

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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 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 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 1 – Interrupted?

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  • If you find yourself experiencing discomfort with the basic movements of the beginning of the lesson (lying on your back, standing one foot, tilting its knee across the midline, pushing into the floor with the standing foot to lift your hip), do smaller and fewer movements and experiment with slightly different placements of your foot on the floor: closer or further from your midline, closer or further from your bottom. You can also play with emphasizing pushing from different aspects of your foot: outer edge, inner edge, heel, ball.
  • At any time you may pause the movements and rest with both legs long. You could pause the recording, or just listen and follow along in your imagination.
  • If after trying these experiments you can’t get comfortable, you may skip this first lesson of the Better Posture, Walking, and Running lesson collection and begin with lesson 2 or 5, perhaps coming back to lesson 1 later.

From the beginning of the lesson, the knee to tilt in the direction asked is always the bent knee with the standing foot.

It will be clear when I’m inviting you to do something with the long, unbent leg that’s resting on the ground.

The basic movements of this lesson are very simple, yet very powerful. After discovering the ease they can create, many Feldenkrais students frequently return to this configuration and movement for a few minutes here and there in their lives, to ease common back pain, improve the use of their legs, and to relax their breath, belly, and hips.

This lesson is found in the Better Posture, Walking, and Running collection. It also appears in our Rock & Roll! (and Rotate) Deep Dive.

There’s a companion lesson in our Patrons Monthly collection, our additional content for Patron-level donors. It’s called Rolling and Hips Like a Baby.

Like most of our lessons, this one can be studied out of context, but you may find additional learning value by continuing on with related lessons in our Better Posture, Walking, and Running collection or these other contexts in the days ahead.

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Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

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44 Comments

  1. Moustapha Kassem on July 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Many many thanks. Wonderful lesson. Very clear. Very useful. Much appreciated.

  2. Eve A on March 7, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Directions are very creative and try to be without judgement, fi when you say : feel or sense what is interesting about it..
    To me this is a new Fkrais experience. Thank you.

  3. bonnie angelie on June 25, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    this lesson and especially your version and way of guiding and instructing keeps providing more valuable information and possibilities each time i come back to it. and i’m no spring chicken in this wonderful method we have been given.

    many thanks nick,
    bonnie angelie

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on June 26, 2017 at 8:32 am

      That’s great! I love how returning to even basic lessons yields new insights. I’ve probably done paradoxical breathing 100 times over the years and I still discover new sensations and details.

  4. Jacqueline Schärer on October 23, 2017 at 3:51 am

    thank you so much!

  5. Gabriel Xalfa on February 5, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    I loved this. Thank you very much for sharing this for free!

  6. Mary on June 4, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Thank you!!
    So wonderful to be able to do these movements
    My wacked out old body is responding!!!
    Hope you are still taking donations.

  7. Christine Drummond on September 21, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you Nick. Wonderful. I have had back injury and for the first time could roll my right side pelvis to the right feel its weight. With no pain.

  8. Linda Flanders on April 13, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks Nick. Back from boxing class and legs were stiff. Loved the idea to imagine of PLAYING A GAME and softening the tissues. Made the lesson DELICIOUS.

  9. Aliza on April 28, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Love it, knees and back feel better and walking more freely! Thank you!

  10. trix on May 9, 2019 at 9:34 am

    This was great. Thank you. Please can you reference the source lesson?

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on May 9, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      We offer information on sources for all our lessons to all donors, as incentive to support the Feldenkrais Project, for as little as $3 a month. Please check out all our Member and Patron benefits!

  11. Yael Karo on July 4, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Thank you Nick, richly flavoured guiding, yummy lesson!

  12. Frances Brooks on August 30, 2019 at 8:05 am

    I’ve done this lesson twice (which I recommend for all lessons) and found something new (which invariably happens with repetition). Making the new movements part of my habitual movements is easier after repetition. I don’t think my legs are as free as a baby’s –yet. I will be returning to this foundational lesson again.
    I find all these lessons a great complement to my weekly instruction with a live teacher. Thanks.

  13. Margie on September 16, 2019 at 9:03 am

    I have just completed your series of lessons and two days ago repeated this free legs session. While doing it I felt that I was not being serious but did the best I could, enjoying the freedom to be silly.

    We were celebrating my 80th birthday and I tripped and fell sideways at the entrance to the restaurant. My leg folded under me in the way you and Moshe Feldenkrais had taught it it to do. I was neither hurt nor shaken, though my companions were.

    I would like to thank you for sparing me a potential broken hip and immobility.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on September 16, 2019 at 10:09 am

      What an amazing story, happy birthday, and I’m so glad you are well! “Enjoying the freedom to be silly” – I think this is a great way to learn anything! I once heard Feldenkrais ATM lessons described as “structured playtime for adults.” When we’re really present and enjoying ourselves we are also learning!

  14. ute - somatonus on October 3, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Marvellous. Great voice!! And – easy to follow, I’m not a native English speaker. I also enjoy the pacing very much. Lovely lesson as well. So – to sum it up > P*E*R*F*EK*C*T lesson – at least for me. Thank you!!!

    What about … I would appreciate a donation of a few dollars and having the opportunity to download / listen to maybe a few ATM`s more than paying on a regular basis. …

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on October 3, 2019 at 4:44 pm

      So glad you enjoyed the lesson, and thanks for the kind words! We do offer one-time donation for Patron-level membership benefits (includes downloads and extra lessons), but that option is a little buried. I’m working with my technical staff on how to make this option more visible. For now, it’s right here.

  15. betterbodylab@gmail.com on November 12, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Thank you Nick. Though being an early patron I have just now found the time to sample a lesson and Wow! what a treasure! I will refer all my students and will enjoy your delicious teaching which is clear, informative and enriching. All best wishes in this wonderful & impressive endeavor!! Rachel Potasznik, GCFP, NYC

  16. Martina Maria on November 27, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this beautiful lesson! My body felt so different at the end, it’s amazing! I’m quite new to this and after some previous attempts didn’t go too well, I was afraid of not being able to find relief through the Feldenkrais Method. It has never been so good to be proven wrong! A thousand thanks for the wonderful work you are doing!

  17. Vica Szilfa on December 13, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you! It is one of my favourite lessons, so beneficial. I love the language you use, so freeing!

  18. katy on April 9, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you!

  19. Andrea on April 18, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Wow. So awesome. You are a blessing. I find my right upper trap and back of neck always tight with nerve pain. This got it a little more centered but not completely free. But great changes. With all of our bad posture throughout the day, how do we get this great training to stick and take over? I fast walk and my posture goes right out the door as I focus on going fast.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on April 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm

      If I understand correctly, it may be helpful to make some walking time that’s just to practice being fully upright (not fast; only whatever speed you feel confident and comfortable in your uprightness). As you do that, make it like a lesson: really notice in great detail what the sensations are that confirm your long, tall posture and movement. Then sloooowly play with walking faster, but only so much that you can still find most of those tall sensations. When it slips away, slow down and reclaim your height. You could differentiate at first this practice walking from your fast walking, if you need the cardio time! Eventually the idea would be to blend them into each other…. This process can take a long time, but is well worth it.

      • Anna on April 6, 2021 at 8:54 am

        You are a great FK teacher! Thank you so much, I am new and are trying FK and are starting with a short part of the lessons . I hope I can interrupt with a question related to Andreas’. I have very severe whiplash injuries (not really traumatic but my nervous system is totally over reactive) and are practicing to walk properly again from the feet to get good balance and working on posture. When walking how much should we feel that the thoracic vertebrates “twist” so that the shoulders and arms are relaxed and slightly moving. And how do we feel that we have a good posture many mentions this “golden thread” from your head and up, but that can make you get your chin too much forward also? You have a great project and I will definitely donate.

        • Nick Strauss-Klein on April 6, 2021 at 5:24 pm

          Thanks, Anna! Easy, comfortable, sustainable walking will usually include something like what you described: “shoulders and arms are relaxed and slightly moving.” By studying lessons and experimenting you’ll discover, over time, the images and awareness that work best for you in all sorts of actions, including walking. If an image makes you feel that you’re pulling your chin forward, explore gently the details of that feeling, and explore subtle changes in the image. For example, where do you picture that “golden thread”? Can it suspend you from a slightly different place?

  20. Muriel on May 25, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    That was lovely Nick, just what my back and legs needed. And love the way you keep us focused without sending us to sleep! just deeply relaxed and aware of our movements, or non-movements (-:
    Thank you so much!

  21. larry tadlock on June 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Which would be the best series or categories to do for lower back pain and stiffness?

  22. Kulomzin on July 1, 2020 at 5:40 am

    I am a recreational runner, and my style is mostly jogging. Slow and clumsy gait, each step begins with dumping of energy, each toe off is propelling myself forward. Kinda boring stuff.
    But sometimes its got different. It feels more like whole body running, when each leg movement is bonded to corresponding upper body movement, and looks like kinetic and potential energy in my body are in constant interplay with no power leakages. Ultra fast and natural and exciting. I bet that it looks like I am a Kenyan runner at these moments.
    The only issue is I am unable to switch to such kind of gait voluntary, it happens on its own with no evident factors i can affect. However after Feldenkrais lessons the sensations I experience are quite similar. May by this is the key.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on July 2, 2020 at 1:45 pm

      Fascinating! I think your Feldenkrais studies will help you have more choice, a sense that your improved gait isn’t accidental. It sounds very much like a question of awareness and self-image, and that’s what we’re working with when we do Feldenkrais lessons.

  23. Mica on July 12, 2020 at 5:06 am

    Thank you Nick. I’ve done Feldenkrais explorations on my own working through his 12 ATM lessons (struggling to make sense of what he meant) and also from other practitioners such as Ruthy Alon, so I am familiar with various movement combinations of this lesson. Because of lock down, and other reasons, I have recently dived back into FM and found the internet. I appreciate very much the way you guide the lessons, ennabling me to regain the sense of openness and curiosity to find out what is, that I used to have years ago at the beginning. So thank you for that.
    I am also grateful to discover this, now, being somewhat financially challenged at the moment.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on July 30, 2020 at 3:32 pm

      I’m glad that you’re here, exploring the Feldenkrais Project! Ruthy’s lessons are an inspiration to me, and I bet you’ve found my recorded takes on some of Moshe’s 12 lessons from the ATM book, yes?

  24. Karen Glennemeier on January 17, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    I would like to give a grateful, heartfelt thank you for the lesson, “Legs as Free as a Baby’s.” The other night I was feeling cranky, tense, and filled with self pity after a back spasm re-ignited some lower back pain I thought I’d gotten past. I remembered vaguely having done this lesson a few months ago and thought it might help. Boy, did it! Over the course of the lesson I melted from the Winter Warlock into kindly old Winter (xmas show reference). Not only did my back feel a LOT better by the end of the lesson, but I actually felt sort of baby-like: more carefree, easy, and playful. It was an utter transformation of the best kind.

    Any chance there is a shorter version of this lesson, so that I can revisit it more regularly when I feel the need?

    Thank you so much, Nick!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on January 17, 2021 at 1:50 pm

      Wonderful! Have you tried our very first lesson in Getting Oriented? It’s the most similar short lesson we have: Spinal Support and a Powerful Pelvis

      The third lesson in Getting Oriented is also related, and also short: Length without Effort

      I also encourage you to take some notes after doing Legs as Free as a Baby’s the next time. You can write your own quick outline and revisit it in five or ten-minute explorations.

    • Katie Popiel on April 16, 2021 at 6:43 am

      After trying this lesson a few days before my period, I was astonished to experience the most pleasant menstruation I can remember. I am 40 and have suffered many painful periods. I don’t recall ever wanting to describe it as pleasant, the relief of it brought me tears of gratitude. After experiencing some very awesome things with your lessons this is one I felt compelled to share. Many, many thanks to you for this lesson.

  25. Alex on June 13, 2021 at 2:03 am

    This work gives me direct access to possibilities for evolving, sensing options, choosing or discarding them, and being surprised at the things that may happen.

  26. Michelle on March 31, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    Thanks so much fir sharing these lessons

  27. Conni on August 19, 2022 at 9:49 am

    A particularly wonderful lesson. Very freeing. Thanks!!

  28. Daphne on November 14, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    I have to say this was an absolute gift, thank you so very very much.
    I am in the MS category and have had RSD in one leg and groin problems in the same leg and over the years numerous problems with my legs one being my dog knocked me over a few times and pushed the bone out of place and broke a tooth.
    I found I was hobbling.
    I have taken Feldenkrais over the years often on and recently bones for life.
    It’s all been benefit to me
    I especially like your pacing, your wording, your playfulness, your voice.
    I too would like to do one time payment a year to donate
    I look forward to your other lessons you’ve made

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on November 15, 2022 at 7:57 am

      Thanks for your feedback! I’m so glad The FP is valuable to you. There’s some great proven benefit of lots of ATM study for folks with MS – wonderful that you’ve found Feldenkrais! Thanks for donating. Use the “Info & Contact” menu to let us know if you need help. (Yes, you can absolutely do a one-time payment for one year of Patron benefits.)

  29. Ruth Purcell on December 17, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    I am new to Feldenkrais since the Sumit this fall. Your lessons are amazing, and extremely helpful. I am struggling with neural damage or longtime impingement on the left side, numbness and pain in legs and feet. Lumbar fusion 2 years ago which corrected some things but didn’t stop the numbness. I have spent a year doing a lot of different types of movement, pool workouts, chair yoga, low impact aerobics, livingroom dancing, postural therapy, PT, and walking, but the ATM’s give me more immediate functional benefit than anything I’ve ever experienced. I have learned a lot about my gait and am getting a sense of how profoundly incorrectly I have been moving for quite a few decades. So this is giving me hope. I thank you.

  30. Christine Barrington on February 17, 2023 at 11:20 pm

    I am doing an online exercise program that emphasizes a lot of intense exercises that seem to favor the front of the body, along with a lot of squats and lunges. I have been very careful and don’t do anything that causes me pain while exercising. I am getting much stronger, which is fun. However, I found my knees beginning to be unhappy and even slightly give out at times. Today they just plain hurt. I wondered if I was going to have to give up the program.
    My husband suggested I go see his orthopedic sports doctor.
    Then I remembered! I just needed to make some time for Feldenkreis. I did this one lesson and already feel so much freer. The pain in my knees is gone. Phew!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on February 19, 2023 at 9:43 am

      Fabulous! See if you can bring the refined awareness and micro adjustments of Feldenkrais into your exercise program!

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