Donor Benefits (login)   |   Join the Project (new donor account)   |   I'm not sure (account help)
Join our email list and download free lessons

Spinal Support and a Powerful Pelvis (35 min)

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.

Read this before you begin  for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below. Click the other lesson note tabs if you’re curious.

Tried it, liked it? Join the Project as a Member or Patron! You’ll ensure the sustainability of this site while enjoying our donor benefits. To keep up with new and featured free lessons and other Feldenkrais Project news join our email list.

MEMBERS & PATRONS: To access the Source and Related Lessons tabs below, please login then use your browser’s back and refresh buttons.

Back-lying, often tilting one bent knee. Improve the comfort, awareness, and organization of your hip joints, pelvis, back, chest, shoulders, neck, and head. Starts with a "body scan," an awareness technique used at the beginning of most lessons.

While lying on your back, whenever your knees are bent, let your feet and knees be about the width of your hips, and your knees quite bent (if they allow that comfortably) so that your lower legs are “standing”. Later, when one foot is standing and the other leg is long, if you find your standing foot frequently slipping, you might find a way to increase the friction under your foot so you don’t have to work to keep it in place.

Body scans like the one at the beginning of this (and most) ATM lessons are used to give you some reference sensations and awareness, so that you can be more conscious of changes that take place during the lesson. The more specifically you can become aware of changes in yourself, the better the chance of discovering new options and habits of movement available in everyday life.

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: Back to Basics.


Cross-references to related lessons are a “thank you” benefit for Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view related lesson titles, links, and discussion.

Feldenkrais Project Patrons can listen to Getting Oriented tracks 1-4, the Back to Basics talks and lessons, without interruption as a 70-minute workshop recording.

Please login or begin or renew Patron-level donation to the Feldenkrais Project to access our Legacy and Alternate Lessons collection.


Nick’s discussion of his lesson sources are a “thank you” benefit for Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view them.


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

Comfort & Configuration

While lying on your back, whenever your knees are bent, let your feet and knees be about the width of your hips, and your knees quite bent (if they allow that comfortably) so that your lower legs are “standing”. Later, when one foot is standing and the other leg is long, if you find your standing foot frequently slipping, you might find a way to increase the friction under your foot so you don’t have to work to keep it in place.

Curiosities

Body scans like the one at the beginning of this (and most) ATM lessons are used to give you some reference sensations and awareness, so that you can be more conscious of changes that take place during the lesson. The more specifically you can become aware of changes in yourself, the better the chance of discovering new options and habits of movement available in everyday life.

Context

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: Back to Basics.

Related Lessons


Cross-references to related lessons are a “thank you” benefit for Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view related lesson titles, links, and discussion.

Alternate Version

Feldenkrais Project Patrons can listen to Getting Oriented tracks 1-4, the Back to Basics talks and lessons, without interruption as a 70-minute workshop recording.

Please login or begin or renew Patron-level donation to the Feldenkrais Project to access our Legacy and Alternate Lessons collection.

Source


Nick’s discussion of his lesson sources are a “thank you” benefit for Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view them.

Download


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

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

39 Comments. Leave new

  • Nice to have option of a shorter lesson for times when the hour isn’t possible. I wouldn’t want to switch to only 30 minute lessons since I can feel it doesn’t go as deep, but it’s long enough that I definitely notice the benefit. After this lesson I can feel a pleasure in twisting, my body noticing different, more fluid options for moving in this way.
    I think the 30 minute option will make these lessons seem approachable for people who have difficulty finding the hour to devote, as well as will be a great ‘reminder’ lesson for people who have done longer lessons in the past.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  • Yes, I like the option of a shorter lesson occasionally when I have less time. I found on this one , I kept going as I did not want to stop. Thankyou .

    Reply
  • Andrea Herrera
    March 12, 2020 3:40 pm

    What does it mean when your head doesn’t feel like it wants to turn when the leg moves?

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      March 12, 2020 3:49 pm

      Nothing to worry about, follow that instinct and don’t force it to move. Just attend to your comfort, and reduce the size, effort, and speed of the leg movements to be very quiet, smooth and almost meditative in their quality. Breathe freely, and attend to the detailed sensations of your back, chest and shoulders, and the back of your head resting where they are. Over time you’ll probably notice that there are at least some internal sensations of movement, if not movement against the floor. This may be most obvious lower first (in your back or ribs), but eventually you’ll likely find sensations things moving in relationship to the leg movements higher in your body. No performance goals about this, just experiments. Let us know how it goes!

      Reply
  • My shoulder is sort of frozen so When you say to stretch out the arms, on the left side I can either put a cushion under it and sort of mimic the position or leave that arm down where there isn’t pain. The other arm is fine but then they are at either different positions or different levels. Is there a preferred way? I’m guessing the suggestion won’t be to move into the pain of that arm? 🙂

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      March 15, 2020 6:23 am

      That’s right, always choose more comfort over following the directions literally and finding more pain. This whole lesson can be done with the arm wherever it is most comfortable. You may even find that those options expand as you go along through the lesson, even though you’re not directly working with the arm.

      Reply
  • My lower back seized up this morning (it rarely does that!) so I knew I needed to stop everything and do an ATM. I could barely get myself to the floor without wincing in discomfort and…35 minutes later…I feel so much better! I know it’s not magic but it can feel that way.

    Reply
  • Matteo Bavestrelli
    May 8, 2020 6:17 am

    Great lesson! I’m new here, on my third lesson and thrilled about the pleasure in sensing all the nuances in my body as I have never before while moving. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Anne Fuller
    May 9, 2020 3:28 pm

    I have just had my first feldenkrais lesson and I thank you for this opportunity at a time when I deeply need to learn how to move with awareness. I was recently diagnosed with osteoporosis and sacral insufficiency fractures in addition to an L4 # and I believe a long standing L4 spondolythesis (sp?). Ialso had a Total Lt Knee replacement just over a year ago which I’ve felt made changes to how my body hangs. (straigtening the less bowed leg, with a more bowed leg on the rt side). When I had a first time acute sciatica episode just over 4 months ago, I sensed that this may be connected to the body’s attempt (as yet not found I sense) to find it’s natural easy alignment. This first lesson felt good. I was no able to lie comfortably with my legs straight out, however at the end when I attempted this it there was more ease, but not completely easy. Thank you thank you so much

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      May 11, 2020 2:33 pm

      That’s a nice change for a first lesson! Welcome, I’m glad you’re exploring these lessons! Please proceed lightly through Getting Oriented, repeating lessons you enjoy as you wish and minimizing movements in lessons where it’s harder to get comfortable.

      Reply
  • Susan Bourne
    May 14, 2020 11:32 pm

    I am new to Feldenkrais through the summit. Tonight is the third time I have done this lesson and think I am beginning to understand what this ATM idea is. Your voice and approach Nick are very appealing and precise in such a relaxed way. I have done yoga and types of movement for years but recently have been struggling with some mobility issues. I am hopeful this will help me get back on track.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      May 15, 2020 8:43 am

      You’re welcome, and I am sure it will help! Sounds like you’re understanding that Feldenkrais is you learning from you, and that we take a “no pain, MORE gain” approach that’s different than many other modalities. Remember that we’re not asking you for mastery of one lesson at a time. Feel free to go on to other lessons, especially if/when repeating a lesson dulls its interest for you (you can always return to it later). Thanks for your comment and please feel free to ask questions. Happy studies!

      Reply
  • Andrea Herrera
    May 29, 2020 2:23 pm

    How safe is feldenkrais for hypermobile people? I ask because since we are always told to move as long as there is no pain, I (Ms. Hypermobile) can move a lot because I don’t feel pain until *ouch* something goes out of place. Are there any modifications that a hypermobile person should make in feldenkrais?

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      June 5, 2020 2:17 pm

      This is a great question. Like all Feldenkrais students (but perhaps more so for you) you’ll want to focus on the quality of the movement over the quantity. Know that that familiar cueing you hear (“only as far as is easy”) is meant for people for whom not very far is easy, and imagine instead your own self-limiting language, maybe something like “I’ll do half as much as I could”. You can get all the benefits of the lessons by moving in only a fraction of your available range, since most of the neuromusculoskeletal organization we’re training happens before and near the beginning of the movements. To put it another way: Feldenkrais lessons are sensation generators, and you can feel the sensations your brain needs to improve and change far before you’re near the end of your range.

      Reply
  • Lovely, relaxing, focusing attention on each movement, discovering things I wasn’t aware of in my body even though I have done yoga for many years.

    Reply
  • As always, thanks to Nick Strauss-Klein for another wonderful experience with Feldenkrais Project! My shoulders, neck and chest feel great.

    Reply
  • Ellen Gallanty
    July 8, 2020 7:42 pm

    As a very beginner Feldenkrais practicer, I have done this Lesson two days in a row. I think I’ll do it again tomorrow. I noticed so much improvement from the first time to the second, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow. Love it. Also, I do agree with the comment below, a 30 minute lesson is a nice option if an hour doesn’t feel quite possible.

    Reply
  • Remi Falquet
    July 17, 2020 9:10 am

    I have done many lessons on the Feldenkrais Project and I decided to do the shorter 35 minutes lesson. The magic of Feldenkrais Method taught by a very good teacher such as Nick Stauss is that the length of the lesson is not important. In a simple lesson like this one you have a chance to really learn to do less. You dont get distracted by more complex variations. A big change for me was the invitation to enjoy returning back to neutral after turning hip to the side. So many changes happened in this pleasant letting go. Another one was to pause and feel the breath at one point. Reducing the stimulus was a very important point in Moshe Feldenkrais own teaching.
    Also, as english is my second language ( after French) I specially enjoy listening Nick unbelievably rich vocabulary. The fun images, descriptions of sensations, guiding of sensing and feeling the body. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  • Nick, you’re an excellent teacher! I have been diagnosed with Level 1 spondylolisthesis plus, I suffered a severe bicycle accident 5 years ago that injured my right shoulder. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on physical therapy, including dry needling and, going to a chiropractor, didn’t help at all. All offered temporary relief. In a nutshell, if it weren’t for the Feldenkrais Method movements that I need to practice on a daily basis, I’d be in a ton more pain and less flexible! I continue to bicycle and walk; I can no longer run – but maybe someday . . . I highly recommend Feldenkrais movement to my family, friends and clients whether or not they are injured.

    Reply
  • Because of disconfort I ended up side-lying, imagining a floor behind me and moving accordingly. Until the end of the lesson I was able to do a little of the back lying movement as well. Thank you for your work.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      September 29, 2020 7:40 am

      Wonderful adaptation! Especially if you’re at the beginning of Feldenkrais study you are more than welcome to avoid lessons in uncomfortable configurations until they get easier (though it sounds like you made something great out of this one!). Lessons #2, #3, and #4 in Getting Oriented are all not in back-lying.

      Reply
  • Beverly Brookman
    November 8, 2020 3:08 pm

    Wow Nick again everytime is different!! Since my left side is ” constricked It was not as easy doing left movements.. but most were noticably ease -ier after with lifting.
    I haev a proceedural question. I have been through the Getting started exercises for a while now and wonder where i could start the next set? I could do the first from each section or go sequnctional through 1 section only..
    Any guidance there? I really appreciate your responses. Feels connected

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      November 9, 2020 10:47 am

      Thanks for your question. Your own curiosity and interest is the best guide to what to study next, assuming you’re following your comfort (which is always rule #1!). It sounds like you’d like to explore more lessons. The collections on our homepage (the big art buttons) are roughly in a good order to work through, so a good option would be to start on Lessons for Standing, Walking, and Running. Lessons for Easier Sitting are also very accessible.

      Alternatively, since you’re a Member, click on the Related Lessons tab (like the one above) in each Getting Oriented lesson that you particularly like or find useful, and follow any learning thread that you’re interested in. If ever you find a lesson that feels too difficult for now, just minimize it or do it in your imagination, or skip it and try something else.

      Reply
  • Beverly Brookman
    November 14, 2020 3:36 pm

    Thanks Nick. Doing this ⅔ way through. Noticed specifically, I have constriction “sensation” almost always ..mid thoracic. I started right leg standing. As I started the outside rolling right, I feel gentle ish sensation almost exactly where usual “pain” is. I’m assuming since it’s not severe or sharp, that this gentle rolling is a gentle stretch or massage of the area that needs a little care.. hopefully this makes sense to you!
    I appreciate your insight and gentle coaching! BB

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      November 17, 2020 4:03 pm

      Sounds pretty safe and healthy, but please do continue carefully. We’re all familiar with “sweet” pain, like when a sore muscle is rubbed pleasantly for example. If it’s that kind of thing, with no sharpness or threat to it, it’s usually ok, especially if you’re noticing pain dissipating over time. You are in charge of you: trust your instincts but err on the side of caution. The overall guideline to remember is: Feldenkrais movements aren’t gentle just to be nice, or just to be safe (though those things are both essential). We move gently because if there’s any sense of threat or increasing pain your nervous system will organize in defensive mode, instead of learning mode. We literally can’t change and improve ourselves in an effective, healthy, sustainable way under duress. It’s a feature of our nervous system.

      Reply
  • Thank you! This is serving as a wonderful and gentle introduction to Feldenkrais for me.
    Is it ok to have a thin contoured neck pillow under the neck when doing this? It makes it much more comfortable for me.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      January 28, 2021 2:02 pm

      Yes, definitely! Adapting lessons to suit your comfort isn’t only encouraged, it’s essential. Over time, as you study more and experience changes, most students find themselves experimenting with what they need in the moment of each lesson.

      Reply
  • Sarah Merriam Pierce
    February 13, 2021 5:48 am

    Thank you for this lesson Nick! The shorter time allows me more time..to explore, listen and breathe. I discovered so much about where I was “unconsciously holding” by repeating the lesson immediately. I think sometimes as a fellow teacher I feel the need to teach “busier” lessons to keep my students engaged. This lesson has reminded me that we can do less and less….and even less to discover so much more. Thank you

    Reply
  • I love this session! I loved it right away and started doing it every morning, to help with tightness in my hip muscles. After doing all the sessions in the getting oriented section as well as many others in the sitting and standing sections, this class is still my favourite. Thank you so much for all the work you’ve made available, its a treasure trove.

    Reply
  • My neck is less stiff!! Wonderful. Such a restful way to move. A breath of fresh air in the world of exercise. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Hi Nick. Thank you for the lesson. I love the concept. When incorporating the head movements, I had a lot of nausea though no discomfort in the neck. I was surprised because, while I am prone to motion sickness, I’ve never experienced it lying down. Taking your advice to remain comfortable I did not do this movement, but then I felt I was missing the twist aspect of the lesson. Is there a modification you think would be helpful? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      February 2, 2022 6:48 am

      You did the right thing. Nausea turns off the learning process in our brains, so had you continued the movements that generated it you would have diminished the value of all the parts of the lesson you could do. We’re not looking to “perform” lessons the “right” way. Rather they’re like a playground: experiment with what’s safe and interesting to you and you’ll generate the conditions for change and improvement automatically.

      Lots of the twist comes from the legs and hips, too, so the head movements aren’t essential. And even simply rolling your head in the same direction but less than the pelvis, or keeping it quietly in the middle, or shifting it a fraction of an inch one way while your pelvis rolls the other creates a relative twist that your body and brain can learn from.

      Reply
  • Virginia Nabavi
    March 5, 2022 5:31 am

    I really enjoyed this and will be trying some more classes. Feeling more relaxed and had a good laugh while I was doing it it a bit more release of patterns held from childhood! Thank you so much for sharing this- truly a gift! Xxx

    Reply
  • Fantastic exercise and guiding!
    So gentle, yet I felt two vertebrae click into the right position!
    I am looking forward to continue.

    Reply
  • Lol with my left knee starting to tilt my entire body suddenly jumped upward into the air, wasn’t painful or anything but felt pulling sensations all along left side of rib cage, inside lower left abdomen, under armpit.

    Felt like something is pinched or superglued inside or something, range on left much lower than on right. I think my left side even started sweating a little bit.

    I wonder if this is more than just muscle stiffness, maybe I have a tendon issue around there?

    Like 10 years ago I remember having an painful tearing feeling injury on lower left abdomen, maybe it healed all messed up or I just learned a very protective way of using my musculature there.

    Anyways the range did slightly improve, from almost nothing to 2 inches or so tilting left knee.

    Reply
    • I was thinking maybe to do the left side in imagination after doing the right since the range is so much greater on the right that using it as mental feeling reference would probably be super powerful.

      Reply
      • Nick Strauss-Klein
        May 19, 2022 3:06 pm

        Sure! You’ve probably encountered that lesson/learning strategy before: develop the “easy” side movements first. Then rest. Try maybe 1-2 movements on the “hard” side just to get a reference sense of it. Rest and imagine, in great detail, many repetitions on the “hard” side, imagining this side’s own versions of the sensations, movements, and relationships you remember from the “easy” side. Then actually try the “hard” side, without judgment or expectation. There’s often some magic in that moment!

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.