Nick discusses some learning context for these new lessons
[When you’re ready to explore the lessons click here to go to my new Driving and Dynamic Sitting miniseries.]
I’ve been meaning to teach more explicitly about sitting and driving for a long time, since for so many people these everyday activities are frequently challenging and even painful. Over my years as a Feldenkrais teacher I’ve noticed that most people who come to me with concerns about discomfort in sitting have the idea — consciously or unconsciously — that if they could just find the “right” chair and the “right” way to sit in that chair they would be able to engage in sedentary activities for hours without moving much.
I used to believe this too. I discovered Feldenkrais as an injured concert pianist. My study and intended livelihood required me to sit on a piano bench for 3-5 hours a day. I was rarely comfortable for much of that time, but I did what we so often think we have to do: I hunkered down into the position I thought was best, accepted the pain, and got my practice hours in. Over the years the unnecessary efforts, pain, and inefficiency of my static sitting began to interfere with the freedom of my arms and fingers for playing the piano, and I developed repetitive strain injuries that traditional medical approaches couldn’t relieve. Luckily I discovered Feldenkrais, which helped almost instantly when I began to think about and support myself better as a whole, and far more dynamically.
In the 17 years since then my understanding about sitting has been maturing, and though I frequently study and teach lessons that benefit sitting I thought it was time to share some of my learning more directly. (Discussion continues below the lesson descriptions).
So in December I recorded the first of these two new lessons, Driving and Dynamic Sitting 1 (floor-seated and back-lying), which I designed as always to help you develop your learning-from-yourself skills through guided awareness and movement experiments, but also intended to intellectually stimulate you about options available in sitting.
The strategy I used was to divide movements into the three planes of movement analysis (here’s a simple graphic and explanation from elsewhere on the web), then lead the students through experiments about how thinking, sensing, and moving in one or more planes can create much more dynamic and creative self-images of pleasurable, sustainable, dynamic sitting, even while somewhat confined in the driver’s seat.
With these new self-images in mind, and some floor-seated practice at the beginning and end of the first lesson, my intention is to lead you to experiment more with how you sit in your everyday life. We’re seeking to give you options of movement and weight-bearing that give you a lively, curious, dynamic relationship with the seats in your life, instead of a passive, static one. Particularly in the first lesson the idea is getting to know how the use of your whole spine in the sagittal plane (front/back or rounding/arching) affects your movements in the transverse plane (also called the horizontal plane: turning, looking around your horizon).
It turned out that was plenty of material for the first lesson, so I skipped introducing the third plane (the frontal, side-bending movements plane) and hatched plans to record a second lesson. At the same time I thought it would be nice to explore moving in an actual chair, and create the first chair-seated lesson in my collection.
So last week I recorded Driving and Dynamic Sitting 2 (chair-seated). In this lesson we go into a detailed exploration of the sit bones and go into all three planes of movement, using basic seated Feldenkrais material made popular in my favorite Feldenkrais handbook, Relaxercise, by David and Kaethe Zemach-Bersin and Mark Reese. If you’d like some related lessons with text and illustrations to study after doing my lessons, you might enjoy picking this book up. Here’s an Amazon link.
My primary hope with these new free recordings is that you’ll begin to discover that you have a lot more options available while seated, including in the car, and that you’ll continue to discover more and more comfortable sitting over time by studying these lessons, and by paying attention to yourself and improvising on ideas from the lessons in regular life situations.
Safety first: As stated clearly in the recordings, if you’re working on how you sit and move in your car seat, please practice only when the car is parked.
My second hope as you encounter all this new free content is that you’ll donate whatever you can to support it. I’m passionate about sharing the benefits of Feldenkrais study as widely as possible and I need your help. I believe that the more our Feldenkrais studies help us to know and grow and heal ourselves, the more resources we have to help and heal the world around us. And the world needs us right now, healthy and vital and ready to contribute something good.
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Thanks for listening and for your support. Enjoy discovering more dynamic sitting, and please spread the word!
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