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Feldenkrais lessons in English

Since I have a new family member, I started teaching Feldenkrais lessons in English to my Swedish group so that my sister-in-law, who cannot understand Swedish (yet), can join in. I hope you enjoy my interpretations of Mosché Feldenkrais lessons. Each lesson is about 45-50 minutes – enjoy!

If you’re listening:

I’m happy if my audio recordings can help you overcome restrictions in movement, relieve pain – or just give you a relaxing break from everyday life. If you value my lessons and want to say thank you, please feel free to donate what you think they’re worth:

Week 03 – 2024

Rolling the head on the forearms. We slide our hands into the sleeves of the opposite arms and make a neat bundle out of the forearms. Lying on the belly, with the arms in this rhomboid shape and the forehead resting on the forearms, we roll the pelvis and the head from side to side. As we roll the head on the forearms, we explore whether the head can roll passively, how the neck can rise and fall together with the upper thoracic spine and how shoulder movements can take the head on a journey from side to side: Rolling the head on the forearms.mp3

Week 50 – 2023

Simpler thighs. The title of this lesson, “simpler thighs”, becomes clear at the end when the leg stretches more easily and without much strain on the thigh muscles, which is particularly good for the knees. In the supine position, we clarify the connection between the ankle, knee and hip and how even a small movement can extend into the neck. With one foot on the other knee, we turn and even lift the pelvis in the air, inviting the chest to twist and become more flexible. The result is a remarkable feeling of length in the back and legs: Simpler thighs.mp3

Week 46 – 2023

Shoulders like Schwarzenegger. A truly remarkable lesson in which the shoulder blades remain flat on the floor while everything else moves in relation to them. The result of this supine lesson, according to the students, is “shoulders like Schwarzenegger”. The idea behind this is to never lift the shoulder blades off the floor. We slide both with the chest on the inside of the shoulder blades and with the shoulder blades themselves flat against the floor. By rotating, bending sideways and flexing a little, we loosen the muscles in and around the shoulders: Schwarzenegger shoulders.mp3

Week 37 – 2023

Contralateral movements. For many people, this lesson is a real eye-opener that opens a deep insight into the contralateral (diagonal) movements of our torso as we walk. Do we really allow each shoulder to swing with each step? Does the rib cage rotate on its axis or are we somehow holding it in place? And how does all this relate to the movement of the hips and pelvis? In the supine position (back-lying), we learn to organise the pelvis and rib cage in contralateral movements. The emphasis is on feeling the center moving in different directions, like wringing out a cloth: Contralateral movements.mp3

Week 36 – 2023

Hip- and shoulder diagonals for better walking. This lesson focuses on the hip- and shoulder diagonals to improve your walking. Some people are not aware that one shoulder moves less than the other while walking, some even keep one or two shoulders stiff while walking. Mainly in the supine position, with some explanation in the standing position, this lesson explores the use of diagonals from one hip to the contralateral shoulder: Hip- and shoulder diagonals.mp3

Week 33 – 2023

Getting up to sitting effortlessly from the supine position. How many people have forgotten how to roll onto their side, let alone how to effortlessly come up to sit? It’s nice to move through the different positions and relationships, rediscovering something so obvious. In this functional lesson, we’ll go through the movement step by step so your nervous system knows exactly what to do the next time you want to come up effortlessly to sit: Sitting up effortlessly.mp3

Week 21 – 2023

The semi bridge (#144 Preparation for a bridge). While the half bridge is a preparation for the full, acrobatic bridge position, the small steps to loosen the shoulders and chest are good for those less gymnastically inclined. We put one leg up and place the same hand on the floor next to the head, BUT with the fingers pointing down. If we roll the pelvis to the side and lift the back in half-bridge, it is much easier to put the whole palm on the floor: The semi bridge.mp3

Week 21 – 2023

Arm behind the head. Slowly and gently, we bring one arm behind the head, releasing tension in the shoulder blade musculature while convincing the brain that it’s possible to do so. The result of the lesson: long arms, broad shoulders and ease using the arms overhead. A brilliant movement sequence to improve shoulder mobility and chest flexibility. This is best suitable for shoulders that feel “glued up”, and rigid upper chests: Arm behind the head.mp3

Week 19 – 2023

Frog movements (AY117). This supine lesson uses frog movements to open the hips, release the neck, and relax the back and neck. In the supine position, we explore external rotation of the legs and gradually loosen the muscles inside the pelvis. A paradoxical idea actually, to free the hips enough to prevent the lower back from lifting away from the floor much. So that it’s no longer “disturbed” by the leg movements. Because the freer each part of the body is, the less each individual part has to do when the work’s distributed more evenly over the whole body: Frog movements.mp3

Week 17 – 2023

Prone, legs “crossed” (knee in the back of the knee). Prone on one cheek, with one knee bent out to the side, we explore the possibility of sliding the other knee into the back of the knee of the bent leg. What happens with the head and neck if we move the pelvis in a circle? With the spine fairly twisted (due to the position of the legs, both bent to the same side) we stand the arms like a lizzard and roll the head, translating the whole upper body from side to side, releasing the shoulder blades. If we then support ourselves on forearms and elbows, can we still „cross“ both legs to one side and maybe do some adventurous circle movements with pelvis and chest? : Legs crossed in the prone position.mp3

Week 16 – 2023

Translating the pelvis on elbows and knees. Nothing teaches the nervous system better organisation than the pressure of our own weight through the skeleton. On the elbows/forearms and knees we look for stability and ease by slowly translating the weight of the pelvis from one knee to the other. And then the same with the upper body from one elbow to the other. Where exactly is the weight bearing pillar? By crossing one leg behing the other we create a situation of instability and explore how the spine bends to compensate. After we’ve done the same with the arms, the shoulder girdle and chest are supple too: Translating the pelvis on elbows and knees.mp3

Week 11 – 2023

Legs as free as a baby’s. In this introspective lesson we establish the connection between the pelvis and the head by slowly shifting the weight of the back from left to right. In back-lying, legs standing we let the knees drift slowly, like grass in the wind, and listen for the reactions further up the spine. Through a series of slow leg movements that involve the inward rotation of the hip joint, we plant a seed for the nervous system that the head actually might move involuntary whenever the pelvis moves. At the end of the lesson we move the legs in different directions, freeing them up like a baby: Legs as free as a baby’s.mp3

Week 10 – 2023

Sitting cross-legged Indian style (AY04 Sitting Indian Fashion). A lesson that simplifies the outward rotation of the legs and hips, making it easier to sit cross-legged. With the legs in the supine position, one foot on the other knee, we tilt the legs to the side, rotating the entire spine. We use the breath to reach the pelvic floor and relax the muscles around the hip joints. By bending and twisting sideways, we soften the chest and spine. Then we bend and flex the body, lengthening the back while the knee is rotates outward. At the end of the lesson, we’re able to sit more comfortably cross-legged: Sitting cross-legged Indian Fashion.mp3

Week 06 – 2023

Twisting the spine with windmill arms. A pretty spectacular lesson that explores the possibilities of rolling effortlessly onto the side in an almost impossible situation. On the back , one arm up over head, we cross one leg over the other and tilt the legs so far to the side that the head rolls up on the upstretched arm. In order for that to happen the whole torso must of course also roll to the side. After a series of arm movements, i.e. the windmill, the ribs in the chest and the shoulder blades are so soft that it takes no effort to do the movement. The video illustrates the gist of the lesson in only 2 minutes – PLEASE don’t try to mimic the video, but follow the audio instructions and do the movements slowly and carefully! Listen to the audio instructions here: Twisting the spine with windmill arms.mp3

Week 05 – 2023

Extending the arms and the knees, twisting. This side lying lesson explores the connection between the rotating spine and the shoulder blades/arms. The lesson clarifies the position of the shoulder blade and that it can be moved in different directions, almost independently of the arm. In the end, you may even be able to place the shoulder on the floor behind you without lifting the knee that far. The video illustrates the gist of the lesson in only 2 minutes – PLEASE don’t try to mimic the video, but follow the audio instructions and do the movements slowly and carefully!
Listen to the audio instructions here: Extending the arms and the knees, twisting.mp3

Week 49 – 2022

Crossing the knees and twisting the back and pelvis (AY140). Lying on our backs, we cross one leg over the other, tilt the legs to the side, and examine how the rotation travels along the spine to the head as the pelvis rolls to the side. With the help of the See Saw Breathing technique we loosen the ribs and shoulders in various positions. Combine all this with some flexion and the chest becomes even softer, the result is a feeling of being bigger, wider and more relaxed. Rolling from the side to the back and back.mp3

Week 47 – 2022

Rolling from the side to the back and back. We are perfecting a movement that we all mastered at some point before our first birthday: Rolling from side to back and back to side. In one direction, gravity helps us “melt” backward onto the floor, but how do we return our weight to the side position as energy efficiently as possible? In this lesson, our nervous system learns to use the levers of the skeleton in an elegant and fluid way, saving energy we could use for other things. Rolling from the side to the back and back.mp3

Week 45 – 2022

Turning the eyes and shoulder girdle in opposition. On the back, we cross one leg over the other and gently let them sink to one side in order to rotate the pelvis and spine. At what point does the head feel invited to move? In a series of twisting movements with the arms in a triangle towards the ceiling, palms together, we differentiate the shoulder girdle in relation to the head and the eyes. After that, it is surprisingly easy to let the crossed legs sink all the way to the side – and perhaps the head reacts much earlier, even to the slightest rotation of the spine? Turning eyes and shoulder in opposition.mp3

Week 44 – 2022

Turning and rotating the arm. In side lying we explore exactly how we lie on the shoulder and how the arm can be turned even as our weight is on the shoulder. Flexing and extending the spine moves the rib cage forwards and backwards in relation to the “fixed” shoulder, i.e. the one we lie on. Side bending the spine in both directions frees up the ribs in the arm pit so that we can pull the arm we’re lying on underneath the rib cage and behind the back. With the arm behind us we turn the whole arm in the shoulder joint and figure out how the rest of the spine can help: Turning and rotating the arm.mp3

Week 43 – 2022

The pendulum: differentiating between bending, stretching and side bending (Variations on the “Dead Bird”). This lesson explores the important function of rounding and stretching the back. When we sit on the floor (side sitting), we imagine a pendulum hanging in the middle of the chest, behind the sternum and in front of the spine. The pendulum picture helps us to distinguish whether we are side bending or actually just leaning to the side, whether we are rounding the spine or actually leaning forward/backward. After a few exercises of turning with the eyes, bending sideways in both directions and exploring the role of the pelvis, we are finally able to turn and stretch “around” the pendulum, which now hangs down quite straight and undisturbedThe pendulum.mp3

Week 41 – 2022

Turning the legs with the buttocks (AY13 The Buttocks). This lesson explores how tightening the butt muscles affects the rotation of the legs. Some people overuse these muscles, others don’t use them enough. In different positions we tighten both butt muscles at the same time or in succession – maybe one turns out to be stronger? Towards the end of the lesson there is a crucial learning moment: how do the butt muscles work when we roll our foot off the floor? If you normally tend to roll on the outside or the inside of the sole when you walk, you now might experience a new weight distribution that goes more towards the middle of the sole: Turning the legs with the buttocks.mp3

Week 39 – 2022

Self-massage: rolling your weight over a folded towel. For this lesson you will need a towel (40×60 cm), folded at your hand’s width and about 2-3 cm thick. The length of the towel should be at least from shoulder to shoulder. The width is however more important: 10-12 cm wide, not more.

This lesson is a journey into the world of proprioception, primarily into the aspect of pressure. We first place the folded towel behind the lower back, lift the pelvis slightly, and then direct the weight sideways onto the towel by rotating the pelvis in the air. The movement is repeated with the towel behind the back, shoulder blades, shoulder girdle and head, which is a kind of self-massage for the muscles. The last “station” – behind the pelvis – releases tension in the hip joints. After that, the back is completely flat on the floor and the breathing is free: Self-massage rolling weight over a towel.mp3

Week 38 – 2022

Lengthening the arms to the sides (AY158).  An incredibly important lesson that clarifies over-use of the back in relation to counter-lateral movements of the spine. On the back we stretch out the arms to the sides, listening to how this movement catches the 7th cervical vertebrae, which lies right in the middle of your shoulder girdle. How does this movement travel down your spine? To which side of your pelvis does your weight go? The same side as you’re lengthening the arm towards, or the other side, the counter-lateral (diagonal) side? Some people find out that they’re lifting their back when they’re lengthening their arm like this, thus supporting themselves on the diagonal, which really is a parasitic over-use of the back muscles. As one participant so beautifully described it: “I tried to disconnect my belly and back muscles in order to ask my skeleton how it would react, if nothing stopped it from moving”. The person found that it then travels laterally, to the same side: Lengthening the arms to the sides_AY158.mp3

Week 37 – 2022

Roller lesson: Lower one side of the pelvis backwards.  For this lesson, lying on your back, you need a rolled up blanket or bath towel, about 40-50 cm long and 10-15 cm high. We lift the pelvis and place the roll lengthwise – i.e. parallel to the body centreline – under one side of the pelvis. This creates an asymmetrical posture, which we reinforce by gently lowering the other side of the pelvis backwards towards the floor. The lesson activates the diagonal relationship between shoulders and pelvis, frees the vertebrae and stabilises the inner parts of the pelvis: sacrum, sacroiliac joint and hip joints: Lower one side of the pelvis backwards.mp3

Week 36 – 2022

Painting with the soles of the feet: The foot consists of 26 bones and 33 joints that are designed to stabilise the body when walking over uneven terrain. In this playful lesson, we explore the inner range of motion of the foot, especially in the ankle area and the mid-foot. What happens when we “paint” the whole sole of the foot down and up, right and left, while tilting the knee in the opposite direction? If we make sure that no part of the sole of the foot loses contact with the ground, we discover the ability of the ankle and mid-foot to move internally. The lesson gives you a feeling of stability in relaxed feet: Painting with the soles of the feet.mp3

Week 35 – 2022

Arm and leg forward and backward: Lying on our side with our arms outstretched, we slide the upper arm back and forth, but without bending the elbow. If we then push the upper leg first forwards and then downwards, we notice that this movement somehow logically supports the movement of the arm. The combination of the two exercises releases tension between the thoracic vertebrae, shoulder blades and ribs. Towards the end of the lesson we also differentiate the shoulder in relation to the chest. It is then much easier to keep the elbow straight while pulling the shoulder back: Arm and leg forward and backward.mp3

Week 33 – 2022

Peripheral vision: Playing the “nose flute”: On the side, we first explore how the rotation ability of the thoracic vertebrae can be improved by rotating the arm in different positions. Can it help to roll forward and backward? And how does the arm want to rotate? Then, when we can rotate backwards more easily, we start to involve our eyes. We close one eye, raise the arm and look at the fingertips while at the same time looking at the bridge of the nose in the near periphery. To make things a little fun, we imagine that we are playing a flute on the bridge of the nose with gentle finger movements, also bringing the other hand into our field of vision. Then, when the symphony is over, it is easy, so easy to turn backwards: Playing the nose flute.mp3

Week 32 – 2022

Lengthening the arms by the fingers: By exploring how to twist the spine vertebrae by vertebrae from the pelvis in order to lengthen the arm – made possible by transferring the weight upwards along the side of body – we teach our brains to support the arms from the middle. Since this principle works both ways, we eventually turn it around and use our fingers to twist the spine, a subtle differentiation towards the end of the lesson. Can the fingers turn the pelvis, even the slightest bit? Lengthening the arms by the fingers.mp3

If you’re listening:

I’m happy if my audio recordings can help you overcome restrictions in movement, relieve pain – or just give you a relaxing break from everyday life.

If you value my lessons and want to say thank you, please feel free to donate what you think it’s worth:

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