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Simple Twisting

Back-lying, often both knees bent. Tipping crossed legs and eventually "triangle arms" to gently twist, turn, and roll the body, in order to learn more awareness, control, and coordination of the major flexor and extensor muscles of the torso.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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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It’s helpful to have a very secure place for the foot stand when the legs are crossed closely together. Consider options to create more friction: socks on/off, a sticky yoga mat, etc.

If you struggle with the legs crossed, knees tilting configuration and movements used frequently in this lesson, you might instead do one of these first: lessons #1 or #3 in our Getting Oriented series, or  Legs as Free as a Baby’s, or The Hip Joints: Moving Proximal Around Distal. They will help improve the hips and lower back, and make this lesson more accessible.

flex-ext triangle photoThe triangle arms position has the arms extended toward the ceiling (elbows straight but not locked) and palms “glued” together. The arms and hands are thus in the air “in front of the breastbone at the height of the shoulders” like so.

Some might wonder what a lesson about twisting and untwisting has to do with the flexor and extensor muscles, which are usually only thought of as bending the body forward and arching it backward in the plane of front-back movements (the sagittal plane). These muscles are also involved in very refined ways with twisting, because twists also change the lengths of the front and back, and both lengths must be carefully regulated to control the twist, especially when gravity is a factor in this lying down configuration. By asking students for the careful control necessary in this lesson they’re prompted to learn a lot more awareness of this fine coordination between the flexor and extensor muscles.

This lesson is found in our Freeing the Spine, Chest, Shoulders, and Neck collection.

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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14 Comments

  1. Tami Lotan on October 16, 2019 at 7:01 am

    Wonderful class! Such basic movements and felt so good after
    Thank you

  2. Paraskevi on March 18, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    So nice classes! I feel super relieved! Thank you for those calming therapeutic moments!

  3. chris on March 18, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    I always feel more “bendy in the middle” with this one, ribs activated. It seems like I haven’t quite learned everything from this one though, it feels a bit mysterious still. I guess that’s why I keep coming back.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on March 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      Just want to share how much I love “haven’t quite learned everything from this one…”! Rings so true in my own personal ATM practice. For me the simplest ATMs sometimes have the grandest learning to discover over time. I think I’ve done paradoxical breathing 100 times in my life….

  4. Muriel on April 30, 2020 at 6:47 am

    That was a wonderful lesson, Nick, as was the previous one with that fantastic HUG! just what the doctor ordered
    (-:
    I’m feeling definitely freer in my shoulders and the middle of my back. I’ve been doing Feldenkrais for quite a while, but your explanations are so clear + great imagery, love taking bits of me for a ride! I’ll make a donation today.

  5. Jorge Pérez Pérez on April 22, 2021 at 6:34 am

    Wow you are great!!So happy to Have found you!!My wife and me have several physical issues and Feldenkrais lessons are changing our life!!Keep working like that!!Thank you!

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on April 22, 2021 at 8:32 am

      Honored to be part of your journey. Thank you! Now that our comments system has approved your first comment they should show up immediately and automatically next time.

  6. Muriel Soriano on October 15, 2021 at 11:11 am

    Thank you so much Nick! I had done this lesson before and enjoyed it, but this time it totally and EFFORTLESSLY has freed my hips and neck in one easy swoop! wonderful!

  7. Cheryl Mahin on October 22, 2021 at 10:42 am

    cured my insomnia. 🙂

  8. Alex Chandler on May 15, 2022 at 8:09 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Really noticed a shift in the ease and quality of my breath at the end of this lesson, so quiet and effortless in the belly. New to Feldekrais but enjoying it so much.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on May 15, 2022 at 10:31 am

      Welcome! You’re already unlocking the many benefits of study. Thanks for your interest, and for commenting on this lesson!

  9. Sara Firman on October 3, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    The circling action at the end seemed such a beautiful way to complete this exploration – so soothing and enlivening!

  10. Conni on February 25, 2023 at 7:50 am

    That’s a particularly great lesson! Thanks— 😎

  11. Sara on February 6, 2024 at 7:42 am

    Today I need to release my neck and found this gradual process towards the triangle circles at the end was superbly effective – so grateful.

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