Reconnect with Delicious Movement--Do Less and Gain More

May 31, 2010

The other day, one of my clients came in suffering from a tight back brought on by too much gardening. She began to explain how uncomfortable she felt and then went on to demonstrate her strategy to alleviate the problem. She began to force herself into a forward bend going well beyond her comfort zone and visibly grimaced as she pushed into the pain. When I asked how that was working for her she said, “Not so well. I’m still tight and sore.” I suggested that a different strategy might be more useful and had her do the following Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® sequence. If you read through the sequence a few times to familiarize yourself with the movements before you try it, you’ll be more successful. 


  1. Sit towards the front of your chair, feet flat on the floor a comfortable distance apart and hands resting on your thighs. Bend forward and notice how far you can go comfortably. 
  2. Slide your hands forward over the tops of your knees and a little way down your legs. Let your eyes follow the movement. Notice where you start to feel tension, stop there and slide your hands back up to their resting place.
  3. Do that movement a few more times, but do even less. Stay in the zone where it feels completely easy and unrestricted. If you have back pain the range might be very small but that’s okay—don’t push into discomfort.
  4. Pause and rest. Notice if you allow yourself to completely let go of the movement or if you’re anticipating what you’ll do next. Let your system come to a full stop and stay there for at least 3 breaths before you go on to the next instruction.
  5. Now put both of your hands on one knee—one hand on the inside and the other hand on the outside. Slide both of your hands a little way down your leg following with your eyes and then return to your starting position. Repeat this 3 or 4 times and remember to stay where it’s easy.
  6. Do the same thing on the other leg.
  7. Pause and rest again for at least 3 full breaths releasing any tension with each exhale.
  8. Put your R hand on your L knee and rest your L hand on the surface of the chair by your L hip. As you slide your R hand a little way down your L leg, slide your L hand away from your L hip and return both hands to their starting position (if it's easy, continue to slide the L hand away from the hip even if you go beyond the edge of the chair). Once again, only go where it feels effortless—if you have to imagine the movement in order for it to be easy then do it that way. Alternate looking once at the hand as it moves down the leg and back and then next time, look at the hand sliding out from the hip. Repeat this movement a few times.
  9. Pause a moment  and then bend forward again as you did at the beginning and notice the difference.

When my client was done she was able to do a forward bend without any feeling of discomfort and surprising to her, the range of motion had increased significantly.  



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Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.