Reaching, Rolling, and Ribs

Back-lying, side-lying, and learning to transition between the two efficiently and comfortably. What happens when we reach so far we can't help but change orientation? A more advanced lesson (it's ok, as always, to skip or return to it later).

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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.

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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 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 4 – Padding

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  • If you struggle with rolling because of vestibular difficulties such as vertigo, dizziness, or nausea, please proceed very cautiously. You might do some or much of the lesson in your imagination, or perhaps skip this lesson for now.
  • Please take your time, even pausing the recording to rest as needed. This is a very dynamic lesson and it could benefit from more rests. If you find it too active, skip it and come back to it another time.
  • As the side-lying rolling back of the head and chest is developed, from the very beginning feel free to let one knee lift away from the other as needed for comfort (this is different than some other lessons which specify limiting the size of the movement to keep the legs resting together).

This lesson is found in our Freeing the Spine, Chest, Shoulders, and Neck collection. There’s a clear connection from the two lessons before it which will make this lesson easier. It also appears in our Rock & Roll! (and Rotate) Deep Dive.

Like most of our lessons, this one can be studied out of context, but you may find additional learning value by approaching it in the order of the collection it’s in.

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

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  1. Sue D on April 27, 2020 at 3:34 am

    Hi Nick, really enjoyed this lesson. How do you come up with so many winners! One thing came up and I don’t recall you mentioning it. It’s about orientation of the head in side lying. I’m a foetal position sleeper and hang my head a lot in day to day life. Easy to say here, hard to change! Side lying for me gives a foetal position expectation so I’m taking more care with alignment, avoiding looking down to bent knees. Any comments or tips would be great. With thanks for your work, Sue

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on April 27, 2020 at 7:21 am

      As Feldenkrais often recommends when we’d like to change a habit, look for lessons that go into the function you’d like to do less of. So, any of the back-lying folding together lessons (Getting Oriented #8; Standing, Walking, and Running #2; and others) should help. Particularly on-the-nose (which could be ok in this circumstance) may be Folding, Arching, and Rolling (Patrons), which does it in side-lying.

  2. Andrea on May 1, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Hey there Nick. Trying to get a bit of your insight on my personal issues. I noticed I had strain in the SCM right side and both sides above collar bone. Maybe this was a bit too advanced but also, that is where I tend to strain in computer work, driving, etc. What would be good lessons for me?? Appreciate it sincerely!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on May 8, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      Perhaps lessons with smaller, more passive movements of the head would be easier for now than ones where larger movements of your head become necessary. Have you done the first lesson in this series, The Ultimate Self-Hug? Also Lesson 3 of our Getting Oriented collection comes to mind.

  3. Tristan Diaz on May 9, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Hi I have been enjoying Your classes. I have been having a hard time laying flat related to imbalances and the feeling of right hip flexors. Feel better after this. What specific sequences would you recommend for hip pain with twisted core?

  4. Andrea on May 10, 2020 at 1:03 am

    Thanks so much for your guidance. I appreciate it always.

  5. Niva on July 1, 2020 at 1:15 am

    Hi Nick, thanks for a very enjoyable lesson! Getting up I felt so relaxed and upright and with ‘longer’ limbs.

  6. Andrea Herrera on September 4, 2020 at 7:08 am

    Obviously going betweem side lying and back lying the head support differs. How do we get around that as we roll and not cause problems??

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on September 8, 2020 at 4:54 pm

      Great question. Some people keep a small pillow or folded towel nearby to roll their head onto as they transition from back to side-lying. Others split the difference: is there an amount that’s maybe a little lower than ideal for side-lying that works well enough for back-lying, at least temporarily? Over time in longterm study (and often even within a lesson) people often find they need less head support in side-lying, at least when it’s a matter of briefly rolling there and then back again. It is important not to have your head unsupported during the movements, so while it’s necessary definitely use some kind of support that keeps you safe and comfortable.

  7. Andrea on September 11, 2020 at 2:32 am

    Thanks so much. I always support your site because you do offer that 1-1 attention like this.

  8. Lorraine Stone on September 27, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    I really enjoyed this lesson. When I finished I did a bit of experimenting with rolling a long leg outward, sensing when it began to bend and then bringing the foot to stand with bent legs. After that I played with some of the rolling in this lesson and it helped with timing the movement of my legs.

  9. Lorraine on May 10, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    I enjoyed this lesson even more the second time I did it. I feel like I am falling gently from side to side.

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