Feldenkrais Lesson of the Month #2 (7/96)

By Rich Frye
For safety and best results, read instructions before doing lessons!

A Little Flexion

Flexion is both shortening the front of the body and lengthening the back. Because stress inevitably tenses and shortens the posterior musculature, this is a great lesson for relieving stress and anxiety, as well as for balancing the entire body in the fore and aft vertical plane.

Works with:
Forward bending of the entire body, lengthening through the back.


1. Lie on your back on the floor. Scan your body, and notice how all of your body makes contact with the floor today...then bend your knees so your feet are standing, about shoulder width apart. From this position, repeat several times a slow movement of rocking your pelvis so you alternately press the tailbone and then your waist into the floor. Feel how your spine connects to the movement....then stretch out your legs and rest.

2. With your legs lying extended comfortably on the floor, extend your feet (i.e., toes down, away from your face) slowly several times, and let them return to neutral. Feel how your waist lifts a little as the toes point down...notice that your neck flattens a little as your waist lifts...what is happening between your shoulder blades? Rest, and observe any changes in how your body feels against the floor.

3. Roll legs inward so toes point to ceiling....flex feet (toes up) several times while inhaling into your chest, relax feet as you exhale...then let legs return to neutral and repeat #2.

4. Feet standing. Hold your right thigh under the knee with both hands, with the knee toward your chest. Gently pull the knee toward your chest several times...let your pelvis tilt with the movement, feeling your lower back press toward the floor each time...then let that go and take the knee from side to side...let the pelvis roll...now make circles with the knee in space, and feel what your hips and back must do to allow the circles to become larger...let it all go and rest.

4. Same as #4, holding left knee.

5. Feet standing. Interlace your fingers behind your head; lift your head a little off the floor and bring your elbows forward, toward the ceiling, several times...feel what this asks of your shoulders and neck and chest...then lift head a little off the floor and stay there...from that position, use your hands to slowly roll your head right and left...notice how your one elbow moves down and one up...then look up toward the elbow you are facing each time your head turns...notice how your body wants to get involved...and let it go and rest.

6. Put your right hand behind your head, your left hand under your right knee...lift your head a little off the floor and carry your head from side to side...let your knee and foot move so you look first at the outside edge of the right foot, past the outside of your knee, and then at the inside edge, as if to trying to see the sole of the foot...your body bends a little right and left...and let go of it and rest for a moment.

7. Same position as #6...now repeat a movement of lifting your head away from the floor, and bringing your right elbow and right knee closer together. What is the easiest trajectory, more over your body, or more toward the side?...what parts of your back press into the floor to make the movement easier?...then change it so that several times you extend the right leg gently toward the ceiling each time the elbow and knee come closer...your right hip lifts a little toward the ceiling...and rest.

8. Repeat #6 and #7 on opposite side.

9. Right hand behind head. Left hand under left knee; bring elbow to knee across the diagonal...you use your back differently against the floor...do it many times...then change the movement so you straighten the left leg gently toward the ceiling each time the elbow comes toward the knee...do that several times, and then rest.

10. Repeat #9 on opposite diagonal.

11. Knees bent, feet standing. Interlace fingers behind head. Lift head a little off the floor, and hold; from that position, slowly rock your pelvis as in #1...rest.

12. Same position. Lift head and lift pelvis from floor a little and stay there...then seesaw so as pelvis lifts higher, head goes closer to floor, and vice versa...then keep head steady a little off floor and tilt pelvis several times...then hold pelvis steady a little off the floor, and lift and lower head several times...and let it go and rest.

13. Left hand under right knee, right hand holds right foot...(if difficult, hold right ankle)...repeat a movement of bringing forehead and right knee toward each other from this position...this asks something different of your organization...and rest.

14. Right hand under left knee, left hand holds left foot...(if difficult, hold left ankle)...bring forehead and left knee toward each other...do it several times...and rest.

15. Right hand behind head, left hand under left knee...lift left hip by rolling pelvis to right, while straightening left leg toward ceiling...right knee and right elbow open toward floor on right as body rolls right onto side with left leg toward ceiling, more or less...and return...repeat it a number of times...and rest.

16. Repeat #15 on the other side.

17. Knees over chest, fingers interlaced behind head...combine #15 and #16 by rolling side to side...roll to right while straightening left leg and lifting left hip a little toward ceiling...right knee and right elbow come to floor on right...then roll left, taking left knee and left elbow to floor on left while straightening right leg and lifting right hip toward ceiling...go from side to side like that...and let it go and rest.

18. Interlace fingers behind head...lift knees over chest...bring head and both elbows toward both knees...repeat it several times..and, if you feel like playing a little, rock up and down on the rocker of your back, like a rolling seesaw movement...if it got big enough forward you would sit up, and if it got big enough backward you would do a backward roll, or go into the "plow" position with pelvis off the floor and legs extended over your head...but DON"T make it that big...just roll gently with those possibilities in mind, and make yourself soft and just let the floor give you a massage this way...then stretch out and rest on your back, and notice the changes that have occurred.Slowly sit up, come to standing, and walk around. Feel your balance. Notice any pleasant changes in your standing, walking, balance, relaxation, or breathing.