Side-Bending with Listening Hands, Connecting Legs and Head (Patrons)

Side-lying. Using your own soft, listening hands to help integrate your head, hips, and legs with an increased awareness and suppleness of your ribs.

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 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 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 – 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 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.

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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!

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!

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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.

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 – Lesson names

What’s in a lesson title? Lessons are about an hour unless a shorter duration is shown in the title. Thanks to our donors they’re freely offered unless marked “Patrons” – those are how we thank our Patron-level donors.

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 – 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 – 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.

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.

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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Some people find more comfort and ease in side-lying side-bending lessons by putting a little soft support under their ribs, like a few folds of a towel, or using a softer mat than usual so their hips and shoulders rest comfortably.

Please improvise freely when you’re invited to place your floor-side hand on your ceiling-side ribs: you’ll need to figure out how to get under your ceiling-side arm, for example. You may also need to roll back a little to make room for your floor-side shoulder.

Side-lying, when prompted to “pull your head away from the ground” note that your head may be resting on your arm or other head support – I don’t mean the ground literally.

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 can also be found in two Deep Dives: Better Balance and The Pelvic Floor: Less Is More.

“Last week’s class” is mentioned. It was a back-lying, side-bending lesson that resembled Bending Sideways.

Audio was captured during a live Zoom lesson called “Side-Bending with Listening Hands” on October 20, 2020, then edited for flow and clarity. This class was part of our Practicing Lovingkindness themed lessons.

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  1. Joe Reynolds on January 27, 2021 at 4:15 am

    Really enjoyed this one, and spotted some interesting parasitic tension with the listening hands which I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed

    • Joe Reynolds on January 27, 2021 at 4:19 am

      Did Spine Like a Chain, with a Bias next, which seemed closely related (hands on ribs, 2D vs 3D movement)

  2. Ileana Vogelaar on July 7, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    My achy hip and low back felt much better.
    It was interesting how a small heel and front foot move would resonate up to the head.

    Thank you very much.

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