Workshop: Stretch Without Strain (Patrons)

This full workshop recording presents two short talks and two lessons on the theme of Stretch without Strain. Patrons can listen to the full, uninterrupted workshop on this page. All users can access the separate, edited tracks in our Getting Oriented collection.

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 – 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.

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 – 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.

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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.

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 – 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 – 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 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 – 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 – 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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Browser/device size and audio player

Tech tip: On mobile or tablet? Once you start playing the audio, your device’s native playback controls should work well.

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!

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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Both lessons: whenever you’re resting on your back, if you want your knees bent and your feet standing, let your feet and knees be about the width of your hips.

Lesson 1: Please have a bath towel nearby to fold to an appropriate height for side-lying comfort. A smooth, level surface is useful so that your head is free to shift and roll.

Remember that Feldenkrais cardinal directions are relative to YOU: when you’re lying on your side, up is toward the top of your mat, down is toward the bottom. Forward is directly toward the wall in front of you and backward is toward the wall behind you.

In the first lesson’s side-lying positions, whenever you’re asked to have your arms and legs “square” or as if “in a simple chair,” the arms are extended out in front of you, elbows loosely straight, palm on top of palm, at the height of your shoulders. Your thighs are similar: knees directly in front of your hips, knees stacked together. Your hips and knees are bent 90 degrees, so that your lower legs are perpendicular to your thighs, and your feet are “below your knees” (directly down that mat from your knees).

In this position, whenever you “sweep your hand through the sky”, it’s the long, loosely straight, ceiling side arm we’re talking about.

The other side-lying configuration used frequently is with the arms and legs comfortably resting however you like. Elbows can be bent, the ceiling side arm can be balanced on your side or have its hand anywhere in front of you, knees can be loosely stacked wherever feels best.

On subsequent listenings of the first lesson, if it’s reasonably comfortable to lie on either side you might purposely choose to start on the other side (even if you have the same awareness of your preferred and non-preferred side). This will allow you to have a different experience of the lesson’s quite different explorations of your two sides.

If you tried the “personal test of limberness” suggested in the opening talk, you might try that again after either lesson.

This audio recording is found in Legacy and Alternate Lessons, which features other versions of some of our recordings, available exclusively to our Patrons.

All users can access this workshop’s separate, edited tracks in our Getting Oriented collection.

This recording was made in a workshop I called Move Smarter, Safer, and Stronger with Feldenkrais – Stretch without Strain: skill vs willpower and the strengths of rests.

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Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

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