Posted by: seattledizzygroup | June 16, 2014

Feldenkrais and Easier Movement

Feldenkrais photo

Feldenkrais and Easier Movement:

The Most Efficient Way to a Limber & Comfortable Body

by Irene Pasternack & Ed Mills

of Move Beyond Limits

(Presented to Seattle Dizzy Group on 5/10/14)

Feldenkrais Method® gentle movement lessons improve sensitivity and balance in the feet, ankles, and sit bones.  Fine-tuning the ability to organize over our feet helps us compensate for vestibular challenges, and increase comfort and safety.  This presentation gives exercises which address various movement challenges, relieve day-time stress, and help us relax into sleep. Also, learn tips to ease tension and travel more comfortably.

Introduction to Feldenkrais

The Feldenkrais Method® is for anyone who wants to reconnect with their natural abilities to move, think and feel. Whether you want to be more comfortable sitting at your computer, playing with your children and grandchildren, or performing a favorite pastime, these gentle lessons can improve your overall well-being.

Learning to move with less effort makes daily life easier. Because the Feldenkrais Method® focuses on the relationship between movement and thought, increased mental awareness and creativity accompany physical improvements. Everyone can benefit from the Feldenkrais Method®.

We improve our well-being when we learn to fully use ourselves. Our intelligence depends upon the opportunity we take to experience and learn on our own. This self-learning leads to full, dynamic living.

Ordinarily, we learn just enough to function. For example, we learn to use our hands well enough to eat, our legs well enough to walk. Our abilities to function with a greater range of ease and skill, however, remain to be developed. The Feldenkrais Method® teaches—through movement—how we can improve our capabilities to function in our daily lives.

(Information from

Instructions for Movement Lessons

These short explorations are meant to help you relax and stay limber.  Have fun experimenting.

  • Move slowly, so that you can sense how you start the move.
  • Repeat each movement a few times, and take frequent pauses.
  • As you quietly observe yourself, notice:

    • Are you breathing easily?
    • Is any other part holding? (Jaw? Stomach?) Can you let it go?
    • What can you do to smooth out the motion?
    • Is the movement symmetrical on the two sides of you?
    • What feels different after this exploration?

 Go Deeper

  • Once a movement feels easy, try making it smaller. Or, just imagine doing the movement.
  • If the quality of a movement is nicer on one side, explore using that side to teach the other. See what else moves on the easy side, and try that on the other side.

Anytime You’re Stiff, Sore, or Bored

Moving parts of yourself around an imaginary face of a clock is a great way to target a specific area you’d like to relax. You can do these movements while you’re sitting or lying down.

Pelvic Clock

  • Imagine sitting or lying on a clock no bigger than a CD and rocking the weight of your pelvis towards the numbers on the dial.
  • Build your clock slowly. Start by moving forward or back (in sitting) or up and down (in lying), and then gently rocking side-to-side.
  • Explore small sections of the clock: an arc from 12-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, then half-circles, and then circles in each direction.
  • Go slow and small so that you can smooth the circle as you go.
  • Try moving from the center out to a number, and back to the center.
  • Vary the clock size.
  • Clocks can also be done with the shoulder, ear, or heel:

    • Shoulder or ear: Imagine a clock next to you (12 is up, 6 is down, 9 is forward, 3 is behind).
    • Heel: Imagine a watch-sized clock behind your heel.

When You’re Lying Down

Soothe your back:

On your back, bend your knees and bring your feet to standing. Gently and slowly lower both knees to one side, and then to the other. Only go as far as is comfortable. Explore how your spine gently twists and invites your head to move.

Use your breath to unwind:

  • Slowly breathe in and out. Notice where you move most. On the inhale, place one hand on that spot, and let it ride on the breath for several easy breaths. Put one hand on your upper chest and one on your lower belly and sense the movements of the two hands. Gently suspend your exhale while you move the air between your chest and belly. Feel the seesaw movements. Breathe out as needed.
  • Put one hand on a rib, and direct your inhale there. Ribs connect sternum to spine. Explore breathing into each part of each rib. Notice how your ribs expand, soften, and change shape.

Tips for Travelers

Keep yourself out of pain, and un-kink yourself when life throws in odd-shaped pillows, lumpy beds, uncomfortable seats, hours in an airport, or just a little extra stress.

Use these Feldenkrais Method® tips while traveling in a car*, plane, train, or bus, or to de-stress along the way. (*Do not do while driving).

Review the tips before your trip and read the instructions before you begin each exercise.

Best wishes for a fun vacation or productive trip!

Sitting in a Car or Plane or Restaurant

  • Get centered: Slowly alternate gently rounding your back and looking down, and then sitting up tall and looking at your eyebrows. Sense your weight shifting on your sit bones, and your pelvis tilting. Let your belly move forward and backward.

    • Explore making each rocking movement smaller than the previous one until you end up balanced in the middle. Notice which moves first, your head, belly, or chest.
    • While you arch to look up, turn your shoulders a little towards one side, transfer weight to that sit bone and breathe in. Then breathe out while coming back to the middle and rounding your back. Go to the other side. Find a gentle rhythm.
  • Keep limber: Walk your bottom backward in the chair, one buttock at a time (both feet on the ground), and then walk it forward. Lift one side of your bottom a little with each step, bringing shoulder and hip closer as your bottom lifts. Sense your ribs move.
  • Relax shoulder tension: With one arm hanging down near your body, roll that shoulder gently up and backwards. Allow the thumb to turn out (hitch-hike) as your shoulder goes back, so the shoulder blade moves towards your spine. Explore looking over your shoulder while rolling it. Sense any differences left and right, and then repeat on the other side.
  • Ease your low back: Do the Pelvic Clock lesson. (Instructions above).
  • Rest your feet: Rest one heel and lift just the front of the foot just enough to break contact with the floor. Then rest your toes, and lift your heel slightly. Alternate gently lifting toes and heel while feeling what else moves. Then explore keeping your knee still while moving the pressure around the sole of your foot in a circular pattern.
  • Decompress: Imagine a thread coming out of the crown of your head. In your imagination, put a little upward tension on the thread, and at the same time, allow your spine to lengthen downward, one vertebra at a time all the way to your tailbone, letting gravity open up a space between each vertebra. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Prevent boredom: Imagine part of you (your sternum, your chin, your shoulder, your ear, etc.) is a pencil: use it to gently write your name, the name of a town you’re passing through, or whatever you’re feeling or thinking in smooth cursive letters. Sense the movement in your ribs, sit bones, and feet, and notice if anything else joins in.
Information from Move Beyond Limits (

Feldenkrais exercise image from:

Books about Feldenkrais & Anat Baniel Method:
Try a Feldenkrais Method® Smiling Lesson.

(Click the link to play the mp3, or right-click the link and “Save Target As” to download it).

Irene Pasternack & Ed Mills - Feldenkrais Practitioners - close crop

Irene Pasternack & Ed Mills
Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioners

Our goal in teaching is to explore the question:
“What would life be like if I could move more easily…?”
This is more than a physical question:
as movement choices expand,

so do options in each moment.

More about Irene and Ed and their teaching philosophy:


Presentation information is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Presentations posted online may include discussion notes, links, images, and other information added by Seattle Dizzy Group.

Download Presentation Handout PDF (original without notes):

(Join the Seattle Dizzy Group closed/secret Facebook group to download the presentation.  Send us your email address for invitation to join our Facebook group).


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Seattle Dizzy Group

Providing support & community for people living with chronic dizziness & imbalance -- in Seattle & beyond

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