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Differentiation of Pelvic Movements by Means of an Imaginary Clock (Patrons)

Lying on the back, mostly knees bent, feet standing, using the image of a clock painted on the back of the pelvis as a guide for building awareness and refining control of the pelvis, and relating it to movements of the head.

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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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If it’s easier to begin exploring movements of your pelvis in chair-seated positions, you might first explore our Easier Sitting collection.

NOTE: In this teaching the clock image is “painted” on the back of your pelvis — not on the floor as I usually teach it — because I’m following Moshe’s original version in his book. This means 12:00 is painted on the top, 6:00 toward your tailbone. 3:00 is right and 9:00 is left.

In Moshe’s source text he describes the legs crossed variation near the end of this lesson simply as “cross your right leg over your left knee.”

I’ve chosen to cross the legs closely together with no space between the thighs, but another interpretation is to rest your right ankle on your left thigh near your left knee, letting the right knee open out to the right. There will be a large space between the thighs.

You might explore this option on a subsequent listening. Both are valid interpretations.

If the Feldenkrais Method had a greatest hits album, The Pelvic Clock might be track number 1! Moshe Feldenkrais passionately made the case that we should all learn to better sense, organize, and regulate the relationship of our pelvis to the rest of ourselves, particularly the spine and head.

Here are the additional variations mentioned in Moshe Feldenkrais’s text for developing this lesson in the future. Perhaps on a second study of this lesson you might pause the recording after I mention these variations (right around the one hour mark) and try them out:

  • After the last recorded movement step (where the pelvis and head circle from 12:00 in opposite directions simultaneously), I inquire about what the eyes are doing. Can you learn to let the eyes follow the circling of the pelvis instead of the head? Eventually reverse the circles of all three: pelvis, head, and eyes. Rest on your back.
  • From lying on your back, prop yourself up on your forearms so you’re leaning on your elbows, upper arms plumb with gravity (as one might do lying on the beach, sitting up a little to look out over the water). Open your knees wide apart and put the soles of the feet together in front of you on the ground. Explore any of the movements of the pelvis we’ve done: from the center to 6:00, 12:00, 3:00, or 9:00. And arcs in either direction: little arcs, half-circles, or full circles. What does your head do? What kinds of movements do you experience through your whole spine and chest, now that it’s not limited by contact with the floor? Rest on your back.
  • Sit up more fully and lean back on your hands on the floor behind your body. Put the soles of the feet together. Explore pelvic movements as in the last step. Rest on your back.

This lesson is one of 12 in Moshe Feldenkrais’s 1972 book Awareness Through Movement. The Feldenkrais Project has a collection of lessons from this source.

It was taught in the context of a Feldenkrais Fundamentals class which was designed to be a practical study of Moshe’s Awareness Through Movement book. Study tips for the book are here, along with info about where to get it.

This lesson also appears in our Pelvic Clock “Primer”.

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While taught in my own words, this lesson comes directly from Moshe Feldenkrais’s 1972 book Awareness Through Movement.

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

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6 Comments

  1. Matthew Lanzi on June 3, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    If 12 o’clock is towards your head, wouldn’t 3 o’clock be to the left?

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on June 3, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      I’m glad you asked. Normally I teach this lesson with what I think is an easier-to-understand clock orientation, but because I’m following the Moshe Feldenkrais original lesson in the Awareness Through Movement book here, I do it his way in this one.

      Moshe’s clock image is “painted” on the back of your pelvis, not on the floor as I usually teach it. You can jump to where I explain at the 10-minute mark in the lesson: 12:00 is painted on the top of the back of pelvis near your lumbar, 6:00 toward your tailbone, meaning 3:00 is right and 9:00 is left.

  2. Matthew Lanzi on June 3, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Is there a lesson that goes more in depth into the role of the foot and leg muscles in relation to these circular movements?

  3. shan shnookal on April 2, 2022 at 1:51 am

    I’m glad the question was asked about 3 and 9. I’m used to doing it the “other” way, and found it difficult to re-orientate. Got up and checked the questions! It still took a big mental effort, and i found the clockwise/anti confusing, too. Nevertheless, it’s a great lesson!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on April 3, 2022 at 9:33 am

      Thanks for commenting. Now that I know this has tripped up a few people I’ve added some detail to the Comfort & Configuration tab. Thanks for helping others in this way!

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