Welcome to TCF, Twin Cities Feldenkrais
Group and private Feldenkrais study with Nick Strauss-Klein
- Tuesday mornings or Thursday evenings, 11/3-12/17
The St. Paul JCC
Notes, Announcements, & Updates from Nick and TCF
I recently began teaching this five-week Feldenkrais-Fundamentals class. To share a rich resource with my students and inspire myself to dive back into a classic Feldenkrais text, I’m choosing all the lessons directly out of Moshe’s 1972 book titled Awareness Through Movement.
While it’s one of Moshe’s most accessible books, his dense scientific writing and broader musings about the social and anthropological implications of his discoveries can sometimes be a little hard to connect with. My intention here is to share one possible approach to making a practical course out of the book for members of the public, both for my current students in class and others who might be studying it. I’ll be highlighting sections I think are most important, but doubtless those of you who know the book well may have other ideas. Students and practitioners should feel free to leave comments below!
Week 1 lesson
During the first class we explored Lesson 3: Some Fundamental Properties of Movement. You can stream it for free right here. After experiencing the lesson, read through it in the book as part of making this lesson’s movement and sensing ideas part of your repertoire. Moshe’s commentary may help elucidate the lesson. Going forward you can lead yourself in the doing the complete lesson from the book (or stick with the audio if you prefer). You can also use the book to refresh small parts of the lesson, or use it as a tool for imagining feeling the movements or principles of the lesson. (All the lessons are in Part II of the of the book, called “Doing to Understand: Twelve Practical Lessons.”)
The principles from the lesson we focused on in class (and in the recording) were 1) Most human actions, when done well, will have a major component of lengthening the body (and the spine specifically). 2) Foundation forces: when some part of ourselves rises from the ground, another part must press. 3) Perceived difficulty leads to shortening. This may be useful when we’re surprised and keeping ourselves safe. But for learning new skills and improved organization for more efficient functional movement, we often need to work to inhibit this kind of reflexive shortening.
For more context on how to study at home
- Read the introductory sections before the lessons in Part II: General Observations and Some Practical Hints.
- I’ve written on this website about how to study at home. You might also check out my Study Guides page, especially Studying ATM at Home, and Ideas for ATM Self-Study.
For more context about what Feldenkrais is
Check out these sections in Part I: Understanding While Doing. I’ve prioritized them in what I think of as a practical order (not the order they appear in the book).
- Where to Begin and How
- Structure and Function, from the subsection “The delay between thought and action is the basis for awareness” and onward.
- The Self-Image
- The other sections of Part I, including the preface, may be of interest to you. I’ve left them out here because they contain broader reflections about society and our state of education and personal development. I believe your understanding of Moshe’s ideas in these sections to be perhaps less important than what may be gleaned sections I’ve highlighted (if our goal is to focus on self-improvement from practical application of the lessons in the book).
- Click here for my take on what Feldenkrais is.
- In response to student questions I also wrote this more scientifically-detailed bullet point description of the method, its background, and the principles of biomechanics, neurology, learning, and human improvement that make it work.
week 2 Lesson
We explored Lesson 4: Differentiation of Parts and Functions in Breathing. It’s available to stream at home right here.
WEEK 3 Lesson
We explored Lesson 5: Coordination of the Flexor Muscles and of the Extensors. Click here to stream it at home.
Week 4 Lesson
We explored Lesson 6: Differentiation of Pelvic Movements by Means of an Imaginary Clock. Click here to stream it at home.
Week 5 Lesson
We explored Lesson 10, The Movement of the Eyes Organizes the Movements of the Body.
Enjoy your explorations! Havet thoughts on the class or this post? Please post them in the comments section below. If you comment you are not sharing your email address publicly, and you may use only your first name or pseudonym.
Private studio currently full — July 17
Due to high demand for Functional Integration (FI) lessons, my one-to-one Feldenkrais practice is currently full. I do keep a waitlist, but I am unable to predict when spaces will open up. Please contact me if you’d like get on the waitlist.
Here are some other options for study, available right now!
- You are welcome to come explore Feldenkrais in my ongoing year-round group Awareness Through Movement (ATM) classes. As long as you can comfortably and safely get down to lie on a mat on the floor at the beginning of class and get back up again at the end, there are no other prerequisites, and you may drop-in to any class (here’s how). Newcomers are always welcome. Sign up for the mailing list (on the right) to know when new classes and one-day workshops are happening.
- My online collection of free streaming audio recordings of ATM classes is growing, and it’s available right here. They’re introduced by information to get you oriented to the process of safely and effectively studying Feldenkrais at home on your own.
- If you’d like a referral to another Feldenkrais Practitioner in the Twin Cities Metro, please contact me and I will help you connect to one.
Free ATM Audio Project Launch Day! — May 11
I’m so pleased to announce that my free ATM audio project is finally fully launched! This is the public launch of a project begun years ago, to meet requests from my ATM class students for recordings of classes. Some of the recordings date back to 2012, and the web design work began about a year ago. About a hundred hours of work in the last four months have led to fresh recordings of lessons I felt should be improved on (I’m really pleased with them now!), and discovering and surmounting a surprising number of technical hurdles, to get to the point where we’ve got the web design and audio tech working as well as it is today.
I’ve organized many of the recorded ATM lessons into a web course called Integrating the Legs for Standing, Walking, and Running. There are also other ATMs available.
You can find them all at my main audio portal: click here!
All the lessons are free! Please try them out, and if you find them valuable, consider a donation to support the project.
Here’s a little more info from my press release to the Feldenkrais Practitioner community regarding the Integrating the Legs set, if you’re curious about the details:
The seven lessons have been carefully prepared and edited to create a valuable home study resource for students and practitioners. The course includes written introductory and follow-up material. Each lesson has a brief description, notes including adaptations and sources, and moderated comments to promote discussion.
During the lessons I provide some commentary, both to orient newcomers and to guide experienced students and practitioners toward deeper insight into the self. I’ve been getting great feedback from colleagues and from my FI and ATM students who are already using the set as “homework.” Even strangers who found the lessons on the web–some brand new to Feldenkrais!–have responded enthusiastically.
Each lesson is a unique page on my website so the ATM is easy to study, share, and discuss. Putting a smartphone, tablet, or laptop on the floor next to you works really well for doing the lessons.
Instead of selling my ATMs, I’m using free digital distribution, and requesting donations. It’s a fascinating model that is popular in other fields now. My goal is to share accessible, high quality ATM lessons as widely as possible with no paywall barrier to entry, especially in the wake of the wonderful recent exposure we’ve had through the new Doidge book.
I’ve enjoyed almost every step of bringing this project to fruition, but wow was it a lot of work! It’s made me a better teacher, and taught me a lot more about ATM (it’s humbling but useful to listen to yourself teach!), plus I’ve got some new amatuer audio engineering and website design skills. It should be easy now for me to continue adding recordings of classes.
I’m grateful to all the inspiration, nudges, and feedback I’ve gotten from students, friends, and colleagues, and especially to the donors who have supported my work on this project. Thank you all!
I hope you enjoy the lessons, and please help me spread the word about the free ATM project with friends, family, and Feldenkrais students and practitioners at this webpage!