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Making Peace: Smooth Breath, Skillful Bias, Supple Chest

Back-lying. Recorded in a "Rest and Recharge" themed class, this workshop-style lesson weaves together three related ATM explorations designed to calm and restore your nervous system. Balance your breath, find and enjoy your primary spinal bias, and then unlock more suppleness in your ribs and shoulders by gently moving within unusual constraints.


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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Project tip: Try the social buttons below. Please help us to achieve our vision: spreading the life-changing benefits of Feldenkrais study as widely as possible!

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 – 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 – 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 – Technical Difficulties

Tech tip: If you have any trouble with the audio player, reboot your browser. That solves most issues. If not, please contact Nick.

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 – Lesson names

What’s in a lesson title? Lessons are about an hour unless a shorter duration is shown in the title. Thanks to our donors they’re freely offered unless marked “Patrons” – those are how we thank our Patron-level donors.

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 – 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 – What’s New

Community tip: See what Nick and other Felden-fans are interested in right now. Check out What’s New at the bottom of our homepage for recent blog posts and listener comments.

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.

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 – 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 – Comments

Project tip: Leave a lesson comment below! It’s a great way to give feedback or ask a question, and it helps google find us so we can achieve The Feldenkrais Project’s vision!

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.

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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Avoid high friction surfaces (like a sticky yoga mat) for this lesson.

A few times you’ll hear me refer to “this month” of lessons. Our theme was Rest and Recharge, and I’ve chosen to leave in some of my asides about the idea of becoming more familiar with the process of rest. Please enjoy The Liminal Lesson: Transitions Between Action and Rest (Patrons) for a detailed exploration. Freeing the Shoulders by Rolling the Arms (Patrons) also relates. All three were recorded in the same month.

In unrecorded discussion after this class several of the live students mentioned powerful emotional releases. We talked about how normal that is when working with the breath, or really anything that nudges us toward parasympathetic dominance in the nervous system (like any Feldenkrais lesson).

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our always-growing collection of new lessons for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors.

It also appears in our Deep Dive courses called Breathing with Vitality and Shoulder Cloak, Rib Basket, Sliding Sternum.

It was recorded during a during a Rest and Recharge themed Zoom class on December 22, 2020, then edited to enhance flow, clarity, and audio quality.

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Got a question for Nick, or a thought about this lesson?

Use the comments section below! Public comments build our community and help search engines find us.



  1. Gail Fishman on December 17, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    What a delightful “best hits” lesson, thank you so much!

  2. Leah Landau on August 20, 2022 at 4:47 am

    That was so amazing!
    Something I struggle with is still the urge for me to force movement – in this exercise, it was especially to move the shoulder towards the hip. Towards the end of the class it was a bit more relaxed but def I use a lot of muscles (neck, arm etc) to do this. Any tips? Thanks again!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on August 21, 2022 at 5:08 pm

      This sounds like a moment for the classic Feldenkrais advice: do less. If you move your shoulder only a millimeter toward your hip can you dodge that excess effort? Let me know if that doesn’t help.

  3. Lorraine on March 4, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    Since I first enjoyed an ATM lesson over forty years ago I have been aware of a particular and unchanging bias in my spine. Then last year I had a fall and this bias changed until I did a lesson which included an investigation
    of bias. Part way through this lesson I felt a switch in my mind, in the idea of how I was in the world, and my old bias was back. Doing this lesson last
    night I saw that this has been maintained but with a little more flexibility.
    A month ago I had covid and was left with a constraint in my breathing. The ha sound did much to lessen this constraint.
    I will repeat this lesson soon to reinforce this greater freedom but already this morning I am observing fuller breathing. Perhaps I have avoided months of the effects of covid. Thank you Nick and Moshe.

  4. Vee on December 29, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    This lesson has been a blessing- Covid came like Rumi’s unwanted guest with the Solstice. This lesson has helped be aware of breathing restrictions, spinal tensions and fatigue levels. It has been my daily exercise for the past week, and measure of daily improvements. A gift indeed

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