If you have never experienced a Feldenkrais lesson there are some things you need to know before you jump in.
Feldenkrais lessons are slow movement explorations where your intention should be to notice how you do a particular movement without an ambition to achieve. This is a learning process not an exercise class.
Avoid stretching, moving into your end range, straining, holding your breath, moving quickly, trying to be perfect and working in pain. In other words, these lessons are probably unlike anything you have tried before. Here you have a chance to learn to move smarter not harder.
Give yourself as many pauses and rests as you want during the lesson. You do not have to do every suggested movement. An option is to do about half and rest half the time. Listening to your body, doing what is right for you and not your ego is often the biggest challenge in doing Feldenkrais lessons. If you are in pain you can do the lesson in your imagination, thinking through the movement as though you would be about to do it.
What you need
- 30 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted quiet time and space.
- A firm but soft floor space. Big enough to lie down and take your arms wide and above your head on the floor and soft enough that you are not uncomfortable.
- A thick carpet, a thin foam camping or exercise mat or blankets layered on the ground are all good. The bed is not suitable unless you are in a really bad way and cannot lie on a padded floor. The jaw lesson below is the exception. That lesson is known to induce sleepiness and is a good antidote for insomnia (use a folded towel under your head and not your pillow).
- A bath towel folded smoothly, used at an appropriate height behind your head. If when standing your head is more forward in space you may need 2 folded towels. Be guided by comfort and the ease of your breathing to find the best height of support for you. Your head will be in some position such that your chin is neither tucked to your chest nor your head tipped back. Spend a bit of time to find your sweet spot of towel height needed and the tilt of your head.
- Have the good sense to stop doing anything that causes you pain or discomfort and to stop if you are not enjoying it. Though the lessons are about an hour long stop and leave it if you feel you have had enough for one day, especially when first trying this style of sensing learning.
Feldenkrais Lessons to Try
These sample lessons were recorded live at my classes over the past 2 years and are not publishing quality. Each one was part of a 6 week series on a particular theme. Clicking a red button takes you to the Soundcloud recording where you need to click the “play” arrow for the recording to start. You take responsibility for yourself in using these lessons.
You don’t need to create a Soundcloud account to use it
Lower your anxiety levels and find a sense of grounding and even stability.
Reduce teeth grinding, jaw tension and its associated head aches.
Lower your own unconscious muscular contractions along your spine.
Sensing your hip joints makes sitting, squatting, rowing, many activities easier.
Widen your view, have your neck feeling better and move with more freedom.
Sense the diaphragm and abdomen’s capacity to be involved in easier breathing.