If you’re new, here’s a quick summary on how to approach these lessons:
Get a blanket. Lie down on the floor. The bed is too squishy.
Make yourself comfortable: a folded towel under the head? A rolled blanket under the knees?
Attend to yourself in a deep, almost meditative way.
Move gently. Do not struggle against yourself.
Do not do reps. Stop when your attention drifts. Bring it back or rest.
Only do what feels comfortable and easy. Your nervous system does not learn if you are mean to it.
Stop before anything is uncomfortable.
If something is uncomfortable, do less, imagine it, or rest.
If something is still uncomfortable, change the trajectory, change the initiation point, or change where you soften.
Give yourself permission to stop and rest. There is wisdom in resting.
Do not worry whether you're doing it correctly. Just go through the movements and let the lesson unfold. It is through the variations that you reclaim your intelligence. It will happen whether you want it to or not.
For more detail, please read the FAQs.
The sample section would not be complete without the pelvic clock. This is a basic version. (I have many more versions in the Treasury.)
It wakes up all the angles, possibilities, and joy of moving the pelvis in directions you don’t normally access. Plus, the lesson engages the ribs and spine.
If you like this lesson, check out “unlock your pelvis” in the Treasury.
Use this lesson to unwind tension in the shoulders, upper back, and neck. This is a classic “a-ha” lesson. With a clear reference, easy turning keeps growing and growing, almost by magic! The head can feel free and light on top of the spine afterwards.
As this lesson is on the side, get a folded towel and place it nearby to support your head when you lie on the side. You will start by lying flat on your back.
The ice-cream scoop move, as I call it, will save your legs and hips from endless and unnecessary strain. Plus, it helps you identify how to use your hips to maximum effect—as a true ball and socket instead of a hinge, as in the knee or elbow. These movements are slow and luxurious, calming the system and easing strain. Use the ice-cream scoop to bring the feet to stand in all Feldenkrais lessons (if you want to save your back hips!).
If you like this lesson, check out “free your hips” under the seven best series.
Use this lesson to calm the whole system as your timing and coordination improves. It’s simple and gentle so you can focus on the coordination through the spine. I love this lesson after a long day or when I just don’t want to think too hard and unwind contraction in the back.
Throughout Feldenkrais, you will increase your skill in the four elements of movement: timing, speed, trajectory, and force. That means when, how fast, where, and with how much effort you move. You’ll see these elements in every lesson.
If you like this lesson, check out “gentle lessons” under spine lessons in anatomy.
This lesson is phenomenal for softening a contracted back. It also clarifies how you sense the support of the legs. The more the back softens, the more connected the legs feel. It offers brilliant input for how you calibrate to bear weight.
With improved support, people report feeling stronger. It’s not that you get stronger, you just stop bumping up against unnecessary muscle contractions—you stop fighting with yourself. Then, movement is transferred through the joints instead of getting stuck or jammed. It feels like you gained strength because your muscles are finally available to move you through space!
If you like this lesson, check out “a healthy spine” under spine in anatomy.
This lesson requires a little bit of wall space for your feet. You’ll start lying on your back with your legs long and the feet facing the wall. This lesson will change how you trust and bear weight through your legs. You will choose one leg to work with, then see how it feels to make this clear distinction between the two legs. Don’t worry, it will even out! Then, on another day, do the second leg.
A classic lesson of coordinating top and bottom lying on the side (you see the theme of this sample section!). This movement coordinates the diagonal pattern for walking and running, again starting with a deceptively simple movement that becomes more complex. I love this lesson because my whole system drops down when the movement all smooths out.
If you like this lesson, check out “meditative hips” under anatomy.
I couldn’t help myself. The Treasury lessons are in groups of seven, but I added one more here because they’re just so good.
This lesson lengthens the back like nothing else. Allowing the movement of the pelvis to flow through the spine instead of hit a roadblock is an eye-opening experience. The spine just takes a little waking up. This is another classic lesson that involves your entire self as the hips, spine, and pelvis become more and more connected.
Try the first lesson in this series, the pelvic clock, again now that your low back is much more supple!
If you like this lesson, check out “unlock your pelvis” and “a mobile spine” for more like it.