Pelvic Floor Connections (37 min, Patrons)

Back-lying. Discover the "non-Kegel"! Gentle, gradual contractions and releases of the pelvic floor – connected with the breath, belly, back, and various ways of tipping the pelvis and knees – help you find more detailed awareness and control.

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 1 – Interrupted?

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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 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 – 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 – Technical Difficulties

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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 – 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 – What’s New

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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 – 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 – 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 – 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.

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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It’s ok to rest with your knees bent at the beginning of the lesson if that’s more comfortable for you.

Many people find pelvic floor lessons particularly emotionally or culturally challenging. We invite you to pause and take breaks as needed. For wisdom from the students who were present on Zoom when this was recorded, Patrons can check out the ATM discussion.

It’s also not uncommon to need to pause for a bathroom break.

Many movements of this lesson resemble a Kegel exercise, but they are intended to be far gentler and more gradual than how Kegels are usually taught. The movement is gentle and gradual both when you’re gathering up the pelvic floor and when you’re releasing it.

Think LESSS is more: Light, Easy, Soft, Slow, Smooth movements of your pelvic floor give your brain sensory data it can learn and improve with, so you can refine your control. In addition to raising your sensitivity, doing continually LESSS will also help you avoid getting tired, since you’ll be doing this movement a lot.

After pelvic floor Feldenkrais lessons you may begin to notice in your regular life that your pelvic floor is often more contracted than you find necessary or desirable. Noticing these moments is normal and useful: it’s a necessary step toward reducing excess effort and learning better function of the pelvic floor in all your activities.

When you do notice unnecessary pelvic floor tension, don’t immediately let it go. Instead take a moment to sense it, and then experiment with gradually relaxing the tension, while noticing changes throughout yourself.


About the pelvic floor, and Kegels

In addition to being related to issues of continence, digestion and elimination, and sexual function, the pelvic floor is connected to all other actions. Ideally it is dynamically changing every moment, adapting to and assisting everything we do, just like breathing and balancing.

Often when we think our pelvic floor is “weak” it actually just lacks variability in muscle tone. If we’re always holding it at a 9 out of 10, then there’s not much room to tighten it more when we need to!

And “strength training,” like traditional Kegels, is usually not very fruitful because brute force doesn’t get applied accurately or efficiently if we can’t sense and feel the details. When the efforts are intense, and/or we’re already chronically tight, we can’t sense and control our muscles clearly.

So one intention in these lessons is learn to sense and use the minimum necessary tone for the moment. We’re more interested in lowering the bottom of the variability of your pelvic floor tone than raising the top.

This actually gives us a faster, stronger, and more thorough ability to increase pelvic floor tone precisely as needed, where needed, and only when needed.

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

It also appears in our Pelvic Floor: Less Is More course.

It was recorded during a Patrons Quarterly call on May 18, 2023, then edited to improve flow, clarity, and audio quality.

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

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  1. Nick Strauss-Klein on June 15, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    Here’s a helpful study tip from Joan Davis, who left this comment on the Patrons Quarterly event page from when this lesson was recorded.

    The most important part for me is the releasing of all effort in between the movements, and taking the time to do this. Otherwise, even with a great deal of sensing, I am on a deeper layer of ‘automatic’. So the stopping and really giving time for the releasing is very important to me.

  2. Sharon France on July 21, 2023 at 10:18 am

    Hi Nick this is a great deep dive and a really important one it seems! I have a question if I may. When I am lying with my knees up and taking them to alternate sides to then draw them back using the PF I experience a little cramp starting in my adductors. Do you have any thoughts as to why that may be? I’ve simplified the movement by only imagining it however I was keen to understand why I would experience cramping 😉 Thank you so much.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on July 25, 2023 at 9:44 am

      Hard to say from a distance, but often when we’re exploring quieter-than-usual muscle control there can be a kind of “confusion” in the nervous system until you learn a more refined control. Sometimes a sharp contraction like a cramp is a way for the nervous system to feel more familiar to itself when we’re exploring outside of habits. Nothing to worry about. It’s ok to pause, stretch (very gently!), breathe, change positions, etc. as the cramp passes. It’s great that you’ve backed off all the way to imagined movement. You could also pause and rest your legs long, then try again when things quiet down.

  3. Luisa on August 2, 2023 at 12:27 am

    When I came to standing I felt more upright, almost bent backwards (it felt great) with an increased sense of ownership. Your words regarding letting go to have control resounded with me, and freedom and its limits came to mind for some reason. I felt my breathing was more expansive throughout the lesson. Thank you for you unparalleled guidance.

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