Sitting and Turning with Length (26 min, chair-seated)

Improve turning and twisting while seated in chair. Access and enjoy your full length in motion even while seated, including head and eyes, pelvis and knees, and everything in between.

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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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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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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 – 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.

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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.

You’ll need a simple, level chair, with a firm or lightly upholstered surface. Find a chair that’s an appropriate height for you, so that when you’re seated at the front of the chair your hip are slightly above the height of your knees. Knees are bent simply, at least hip-width apart, and your feet stand on the ground underneath them. If your feet don’t reach the floor easily, stack something firm under them, or under your bottom if your knees are higher than your hips.

To learn more about the planes of movement mentioned in this lesson and some healthy guidelines for sitting, check out About Dynamic Sitting.

In lessons 3 and 4 (and their intro talk) I make reference to “celestial gravity.” I’m indebted to Feldenkrais Trainer and master Zen teacher Russell Delman for this beautiful image, which I was introduced to in his Embodied Life II collection of lessons, available for public purchase. Terrestrial gravity is the center-of-the-earth gravity we think of usually. Celestial gravity refers to the many aspects of being human that call us heavenward, including our evolutionary journey rising away from ground-level living! Finding ourselves more and more often at our maximum skeletal height, elegantly suspended between terrestrial and celestial gravity, has a profound influence on our joy and comfort, our ease of movement, and the effectiveness with which we function.

Finding this graceful length more often is one of the many goals of Feldenkrais study.

This audio recording is found in Getting Oriented, our introductory collection of Feldenkrais basics for newcomers (and longtimers looking for a “tune-up”).

This lesson was recorded in an introductory workshop I called Move Smarter, Safer, and Stronger with Feldenkrais: Access Your Axis.

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Patrons can listen to Getting Oriented tracks 5-7 (the Access Your Axis talk and lessons) without interruption as a 70-minute workshop recording.

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  1. Joan Oliver Goldsmith on March 14, 2020 at 11:40 am

    I find it very useful when keeping the eyes still and moving the body around to take off my glasses. We glasses wearers are trained to limit our gaze to where it can focus through the lens, but of course the eyeball can move a great deal farther than that. Because I’m very nearsighted, I place a bright object about 10 feet in front of me at eye level, so I can focus on that even though I can’t see any details.

    • Kate Ruckman on February 3, 2024 at 11:07 am

      Those are some very helpful suggestions thank you Joan. I wear glasses as well and in the earlier lessons I remembered to take them off but did not this time. I will try it again without the glasses

  2. Muriel Soriano on October 4, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Hi Nick, these short lessons are such good explorations and reminders! I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago with yoga, and the re-organization of my bones is invaluable! thank you so much for helping me to get better.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on October 4, 2020 at 11:35 am

      Fantastic – thanks for letting me know! I agree: short lessons can be a lifesaver. Soon you’ll find yourself playing with little bits of these seated lessons spontaneously while you’re doing regular life chair activities!

  3. Wyn on May 29, 2023 at 5:09 am

    I’ve just begun this course of lessons and the difference in my posture and suppleness is already palpable. As a singer I have especially noticed the benefit of a constant awareness of the relaxed breath – it’s been quite revelatory! Thank you.

  4. Kate Ruckman on February 3, 2024 at 11:09 am

    That was extremely interesting especially the last standing part because it had been quite painful in the last lesson when I did the initial twist, and my right knee complained. This time when I was standing and feeling the length and curve I could move much more freely and turn farther. When we thought ourselves heavy my knee complained loudly again! That is a very useful tool Thank you

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