Moving Your Head and Legs Backward (Patrons)

Mostly front-lying, frequently one knee pulled up your mat. A sophisticated exploration of primary arching organizations in combination with twisting and pushing off the ground, from head to toes. Begins with a brief "ATM rules" reminder about taking care of yourself in challenging lessons. The lesson begins in back-lying at around the three-minute mark.

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!

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 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 – 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 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 – What’s New

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Tip – Lesson names

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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.

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 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 – 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!

Browser/device size and audio player

Tech tip: On mobile or tablet? Once you start playing the audio, your device’s native playback controls should work well.

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.

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.

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A lower friction mat is recommended (no yoga mats for this lesson). If it helps for your comfort while lying on your front, please have a towel and/or small pillows available for support under a shoulder, or under your chest, your lower abdomen and hips, etc.

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our collection of lessons exclusively for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors, with one or more new lessons added every month. It’s also in our Free While Constrained Deep Dive.

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  1. cyntia gaido on January 28, 2022 at 6:49 am

    Beautiful lesson, that’s how we learn to go in all four and we start to crawl!

  2. Noam Raz on January 29, 2022 at 5:47 am

    Great lesson. I have a question about a certain instruction, the one where you say to lift the head and the forearm back together. Is the intention not to use so much muscle of the neck and do it solely from the arm? That was very difficult for me.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on January 30, 2022 at 9:55 am

      Right, it likely won’t happen solely in the arm/shoulder/back. Definitely normal that you’d notice some engagement of your neck, but of course if that’s not comfortable please do less or see if you can reorganize for more sense of the arm leading. A good guide to the quality of your organization as you play with this is whether or not you can breathe comfortably and continuously, too.

      • Noam Raz on January 30, 2022 at 11:08 am

        But the idea is not to lift the head and the arm, but the arm that the head is lying on, giving it more weight? Maybe it’s not so important. I just felt, when I did the lesson, that thinking about it like this, and thinking about it like this made a huge different.

        • Nick Strauss-Klein on January 30, 2022 at 11:18 am

          Yes, and that’s a difference that may be very valuable to explore. That difference isn’t the focus of this lesson as it’s presented, but there may be something important about it for you so it’s great that you’re thinking about it. The lesson leaves room for interpretation and (if I remember correctly) just says “lift them together”, but as you can tell there’s multiple ways to do that. Once we notice something like that in a lesson it’s great to experiment, with your comfort, curiosity, and easy breathing as a guide.

          One way to experience some of the subtleties of this relationship: even if the head weren’t on top of the arm (let’s say they’re both resting on the floor, the bent arm near the head) lifting one will involve reorganization of the other.

  3. Ileana Vogelaar on June 28, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    Lovely lesson, specially for pro extension spine movers, like me.

    Little nervous about the side bent knee, as it was rotating my spine.

    Recovering from upset low back over twisting.

    My neck benefitted a lot from the lesson, more freely moving. Thank you very much.

  4. Joan Oliver Goldsmith on November 5, 2023 at 5:41 pm

    What a gas. For some reason, lying on my stomach makes me feel silly and playful, which served me well. “Tummy time” as the moms say now. My neck and shoulders feel a little disoriented now, but I suspect that’s a good thing. Thanks

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