The Tongue and the Spine (Patrons)

Chair-seated and back-lying. Dive deeper into the many connections between the eyes, jaw, tongue, neck, shoulders, spine, and breath by reviewing and expanding ATM techniques from our previous jaw lessons. See the Context notes for recommended study order for these lessons.


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 – 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 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 – 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!

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 – 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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This lesson has prerequisites. Click Context for recommended study order for our jaw lessons.

For the chair-seated parts of the lesson you’ll need a firm, level, non-rolling chair or stool that allows your hips to be at the height of your knees, or slightly above them.

If you’d like something supporting your head for the back-lying portions of the lesson make sure it’s level, smooth, and minimal: maybe a few folds of a towel, but no more than you need for comfort. Your head should be free to shift, nod, and roll small amounts effortlessly.

There’s no expectation that your tongue will feel or function the same way on both sides of your mouth. Just do what’s easy on each side, even if they’re very different, and each side will begin to improve from its own starting point and on its own terms.

L.E.S.S.S. is more: Light, Easy, Soft, Slow, Smooth movements — with a nice pause in-between each — will create the most pleasant and lasting change for you.

In discussion after this live class several students suggested (and I strongly agree) that this is a great lesson to repeat within a week or so. You will almost certainly find yourself more skillful – and with lots of new things to notice and learn – the second time through.

This lesson is found in Patrons Monthly, our collection of lessons exclusively for Feldenkrais Project Patron-level donors. It was recorded on December 14, 2021.

You’ll hear references to earlier lessons. We recommend you study our jaw-focused lessons in the order they appear in our Jaw, Neck, and Shoulders Deep Dive course. This is #4.

Once you’ve completed our four jaw lessons I recommend going through them again, and/or continuing on with the Deep Dive. If you repeat the jaw lessons you will find your experience is different the second time through.

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1 Comment

  1. Sara Firman on September 14, 2022 at 11:17 am

    What an incredible way to mobilize the neck from the inside out! And, yes, my face feels so much more relaxed.

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