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Side Clock: Shoulders (and Intro to Hip)

Recorded live in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class, the lesson below is copyright Nick Strauss-Klein, for personal use only. This and all our audio lessons are 100% donor-supported. Before you begin, read this first for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below. Click the other lesson note tabs if you’re curious.

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Side-lying. Starts as a "Feldenkrais basics" shoulders-and-hips lesson, then uses the image of a clock face to explore precise coordination, developing freedom and skill in the shoulders, chest, neck, and more. An emphasis on choice, imagery, principles, and improvisation creates a unique learning opportunity for your Feldenkrais study: you're invited to complete your own hip clocks.

In several ways your comfort and choices are emphasized over precise configuration. See the Curiosities tab for a big one!

Be sure any head support you use leaves your head free to move (make sure it’s level and no more than you need for comfort). Experiment with different positions for your ceiling-side arm.

The final section of the lesson – where the ceiling-side hip begins to explore the clock image – is only explored while lying on your preferred side. If you have time before getting up from the floor (or later today or tomorrow) for the improvisation “homework” that’s suggested, it’s great if you can explore the hip clock image while lying on the other side. You could work from the center of the clock (tracing a line like a “clock hand” to specific numbers), as well as in arcs and circles around the circumference.

Note: it will do no harm if you don’t get to do this soon after studying the recording. You’ll integrate more in the coming hours, and in fact, it may be fascinating and useful for learning if you’ve got extra “lopsidedness” to explore as you walk around. (Asymmetrical lessons are occasionally a learning strategy in Feldenkrais study.)

A few more thoughts for follow-up improvisation:

  • The dual-circling variations you can play with are many: choose an hour for the shoulder and hip to start on (directly opposite each other on the clock is easiest), choose a direction you intend for them to go (clockwise or counterclockwise or one in each direction), and see if you can become more skillful and find more clarity, even if a wonderful mess emerges the first few times around!
  • As long as you’re comfortable and kind to yourself, and your intention is clear before you begin to move, you’ll learn as much or more when you “fail” and lose your intended coordination as you do when you “succeed” and do what you planned!

This lesson is found in our Miscellaneous Lessons collection. Like most of our lessons, it can be studied out of context, but it also appears in our Pelvic Clock “Primer”.

Patron-level donors can study a direct follow-up lesson: Side Clock: Hips (43 min, Patrons only). Everyone can read its description in our Straight from Class collection, in the shorter lessons tab.

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to download this lesson’s MP3 file.

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view Nick’s comments about sources he used while developing this lesson.


Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view links and comments about related lessons.

Comfort & Configuration

In several ways your comfort and choices are emphasized over precise configuration. See the Curiosities tab for a big one!

Be sure any head support you use leaves your head free to move (make sure it’s level and no more than you need for comfort). Experiment with different positions for your ceiling-side arm.

Curiosities

The final section of the lesson – where the ceiling-side hip begins to explore the clock image – is only explored while lying on your preferred side. If you have time before getting up from the floor (or later today or tomorrow) for the improvisation “homework” that’s suggested, it’s great if you can explore the hip clock image while lying on the other side. You could work from the center of the clock (tracing a line like a “clock hand” to specific numbers), as well as in arcs and circles around the circumference.

Note: it will do no harm if you don’t get to do this soon after studying the recording. You’ll integrate more in the coming hours, and in fact, it may be fascinating and useful for learning if you’ve got extra “lopsidedness” to explore as you walk around. (Asymmetrical lessons are occasionally a learning strategy in Feldenkrais study.)

A few more thoughts for follow-up improvisation:

  • The dual-circling variations you can play with are many: choose an hour for the shoulder and hip to start on (directly opposite each other on the clock is easiest), choose a direction you intend for them to go (clockwise or counterclockwise or one in each direction), and see if you can become more skillful and find more clarity, even if a wonderful mess emerges the first few times around!
  • As long as you’re comfortable and kind to yourself, and your intention is clear before you begin to move, you’ll learn as much or more when you “fail” and lose your intended coordination as you do when you “succeed” and do what you planned!
Context

This lesson is found in our Miscellaneous Lessons collection. Like most of our lessons, it can be studied out of context, but it also appears in our Pelvic Clock “Primer”.

Patron-level donors can study a direct follow-up lesson: Side Clock: Hips (43 min, Patrons only). Everyone can read its description in our Straight from Class collection, in the shorter lessons tab.

Download

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to download this lesson’s MP3 file.

Source

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view Nick’s comments about sources he used while developing this lesson.

Related Lessons


Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view links and comments about related lessons.

We all thrive when more people are doing more Feldenkrais. Please share this resource!

3 Comments. Leave new

  • That was just what the Dr ordered Nick! thank you so much! been feeling somewhat dizzy all day, but your lesson has released a loaded of tension in my shoulders and hips which in turn released my neck and the dizziness is 99.9% gone! Feldenkrais magic strikes again (-:
    Have a lovely Mid-Winter time
    All best wishes, Muriel

    Reply
  • Hi Nick, I find this lesson so challenging. I fell asleep the first three times I tried it, and I don’t think this is because of the side-lying position. It’s more like it makes me feel all the stuff that my body is carrying in the shoulder region. My shoulders feel very tense and especially to move them backwards is not easy. When I remember not to do an isolated shoulder movement but allow my chest and my head to move with the shoulder, I get a little further, but the whole shoulder chest area on each side feels like a tense lump, rusted together. Do you have any suggestions that might be helpful here. Thank you
    Daniela

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      Nick Strauss-Klein
      January 21, 2021 10:27 am

      Thanks for writing about your experience, and doing it where others can benefit from discussion.

      The best that Feldenkrais study can do for us will always come through pleasurable learning experiences, so it sounds like you should move on from this lesson for now. After many other lessons that are more immediately easeful and pleasurable to you (and after at least a few weeks), if you’re curious, you could come back later to check on how this one “lands” for you then. Sometimes lessons just aren’t “right” for this moment in time. It may take longer than a few weeks, too.

      All that said, it sounds like you’re heading in a healthy direction: you’re making discoveries about yourself, developing working theories about your response, finding a little more ease with more integrated movement. All together my guess is still that not repeating this one right now may be the best choice, but follow your curiosity.

      You’re a Feldenkrais Project Member, so you’ve got full access to the lesson notes. Have you checked out the many lessons in the Related Lessons tab above? Perhaps some of those will be more accessible in the short term.

      Thanks for your support and, if you wish, let us know how this line of self-discovery goes!

      Reply

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