Source: Reel 17, Track 3, Lesson 1

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ATM Lesson #242: Turning on a side axis 

Source: Reel 17, Track 3, Lesson 1

[Please refer to ATM Lesson #236 Rotation on an axis for a lesson 

with a similar theme.]

[Please refer to ATM Lesson #243 Walking for a continuation of this 



Please stand.  Stand with [the legs] slightly spread.  Lift 

the two hands to the ceiling, spread lightly.  Now, in this 

position, turn the pelvis right and left, with the whole back . . . 

the whole back, right and left.  

Pay attention so the pelvis will move right and left, with the whole 

back.  The two shoulders and the arms stay in place.  Turn the back 

in its place.  This turns the whole body around the spine.  The 

spine stays in the middle like an axis and [you] turn the whole 

back.  Pay attention.  Turn the pelvis. 


Now, stay with the arms and face to the front.  Stay like 

this, with the arms and face to the front.  Now, turn only the 

pelvis.  Pay attention that the arms, head, and shoulders do not 


[Move] only the pelvis.  Turn [it] right and left.  Pay attention 

that the hands, arms, and shoulders stay frozen in the air.  


Now, do the movement only to the right.  [TN:  Dr. 

Feldenkrais made a mistake.  He means to do the movement to the 

left.]  That means to take the left hip backward.  Do this ten 

times . . . the left hip backward, only the left hip backward . . . 

many times.  Pay attention so the left lower side of the chest will 

move backward with the hip.  Do this many times.


Now, do the same thing with the right hip.  

Pay attention to the difference.  Pay attention.  Strain the 

abdominal muscles so the lower part of the chest will move with the 

right hip.  For a few times, try only to strain the abdominal 

muscles so the lower back, behind, will move backward, so the waist, 

behind [will round backward].  Many times . . . do this many times, 

about ten times.

Now leave this and walk a bit.  


Return to standing and raise the arms as a minute ago.  

Now, turn the pelvis to the left.  That means to take the left hip 

backward . . . the left hip backward, many times.  


Now, take only the head to the left together with the 

hip . . . the head with the hip.  Pay attention so the arms will 

stay in place.  

Notice if [you] feel a line behind, that you truly take the chest 

and lower ribs to the left also

. . . the head and the hip also.


Now continue like this, but now [move] the head to the 

right.  Do the same thing, only now [take] the head to the right.  

Many times — the head to the right and the left hip backward.


Now, [move] the head once to the right and once to the 

left.  The [left] hip does the same thing; just look once to the 

right and once to the left.  Organize so the movement will be very 

light in both directions.  

Lower the arms for a moment and walk a bit.


Return to standing.  Lift the arms.  Lift the arms and do 

the same thing to the other side.  That means the right hip [goes] 


Listen to the lower part of the chest.  That means to listen to the 

work of the abdominal muscles.  


Now, once move the head together with the hip and once in 

the opposite direction of the hip.   

Leave this and walk a bit.


Return to standing.  Lift the arms.  Now, try the 

following.  Take the two shoulders — the right shoulder backward and 

the left forward . . . the right shoulder backward, many times.  

Leave the head and everything else in place.  

[Move] only the shoulders.  Leave the pelvis in place.  [Move] only 

the shoulders — the right shoulder backward and the left shoulder 

forward.  Turn the chest and continue doing this.  


Now, take the head to the left while doing this.  [Move] 

the head to the left.  The head stays in place [straight, not 

tilted].  The shoulders are at the same height.  Now, the eyes look 

to the horizon.  Take the eyes to the left, together with the head.  


Now continue like . . . continue doing this and take the 

left hip backward.  Take the left [hip] backward, together with the 

head . . . with the right shoulder backward and the left shoulder 


The same movement as before — the shoulders, the shoulders . . . the 

right shoulder backward and the left shoulder forward.  The head 

[goes] to the left and the hip goes together with the head.  

Especially the chest . . . feel like . . . [inaudible section on the 

original tape] . . . not feel like sensation.  Pay attention that 

the [left] lower ribs move backward.  In other words, it is 

necessary for the head to move high up. 


Pay attention once again.  Once again, try the shoulders 

only . . . the right shoulder backward and the left one forward.  


Now, try it without the head, only the left hip 

backward . . . at the same time [as the shoulders].  Do not reduce 

the [size] of the movement of the shoulders.  Do not change it.  

Do not change the movement of the shoulders.  Make a small movement 

in the pelvis so it will be possible to control [what you do].  Each 

time [you] make a large movement it becomes obvious that it is 

impossible.  [The movement] can become larger after the different 

parts organize [themselves] so they understand what is wanted or are 

able to know what is wanted from them.  

The left hip [moves] backward while turning the shoulders.


Now, continue with the hip and the shoulders . . . the same 

way, only now take the head to the left.  That means the head [goes] 

with the hip.  


Now do exactly the same thing, only now just take the head 

to the right.  That means from the middle.  [You] take the left hip 

backward and the shoulders as before with the head [moving] to the 

right . . . only to the right.  


Now, continue with the movement of the shoulders and 

pelvis.  Only with the head — move once here and once there [once 

right and once left].  The same thing with the shoulders and lower 

back, only [the head] moves once here and once there.  

Leave this and walk a bit.  


Return to lifting the arms into the air.  Now, of course, 

do the symmetrical movement.  That means to take the shoulders so 

the [left shoulder] will move backward and the right will move 

forward.  Only the shoulder girdle moves without the head, without 

anything . . . many times, with a light spreading of the legs.  


Continue with this movement and take the right hip 

backward, the right hip.  


Stay just for a moment and do only the movement of the 

right hip [going] backward, without the shoulders . . . the right 


Listen to the chest, the middle of the spine.  Do only this.  


Now, continue with the shoulders as before.  That means to 

clearly move the shoulder girdle relative to the hip.


Now the head — once with the hip and once opposite . . . 

Leave this for a moment and stand with the arms up.  Try now to do 

the movement that we did in the beginning.  That means to turn the 

pelvis right and left, with the shoulders, with the head, with 


Pay attention if it is different than before . . . shoulders, 

pelvis.  Clearly make the movement with the pelvis . . . the pelvis 

to the right, the pelvis to the left.  

Pay attention to the amount of movement now in the shoulders, in the 

head, and in the chest.  With many you can see that the difference 

is huge.  Do you see how much you added, maybe sixty to eighty 

degrees.  Do you feel a larger or lighter movement? 

Please lie on the floor and rest for a moment.  

Lying like this, pay attention to what [you] feel is different from 

the usual.  Which parts of the back, and especially the chest, touch 

differently than before?  Of course, [you] feel the lower part of 

the chest and the upper part of the pelvis especially.  


Please come up to standing.  Get up to standing and stand 

on the right leg only.  The left leg is on the tips of the toes, 

behind, and the right arm is up, simply.  Lower the arm and, at that 

first moment, pay attention.  Lower the arm and pay attention to 

what happens to the body.  

Then, return the arm with the second leg in place and 

listen.  [TN:  Change the standing leg.]  

If you look at someone doing this while standing, you will see what 

happens at the exact moment he raises the arm.  It always turns out 

that this [action] brings the head higher up and the pelvis, spine, 

and hips backwards.  The head moves in front of the body.  In other 

words, it makes standing as it should always be.  This is clear 

standing.  Try to do this a few times.  Listen to how much you move 

the head forward relative to the usual [way] of standing, relative 

to the standing leg on the floor.   


Stand simply.  Stand simply and try only to take a leg 


Already you can see the pelvis moving forward.  The head immediately 

comes forward if [you] lift the arm.  Lean on the back leg a little 

bit.  [Then the pelvis and head can come] forward the largest amount 


In addition to this, what is important is that, when looking from 

the side, you can see a particular place — the place where the spine 

and vertebrae support the head.  At that place, the shoulder, the 

head, and the ankle — all are in one straight line.  If they are not 

like this, the body is not standing.  The skeleton is not standing.  

That means the muscles need to do something.  Only this position is 

standing and that is what we would like to acquire.  In movements 

[from this standing posture] you will see that the body moves with 

incredible lightness.  In addition to lightness, it has a [specific] 

quality.  [A quality where] neither breathing nor the body are 

necessary to correct the standing the moment weight shifts over the 

leg.  It simply stands.  This is what is important for us to achieve 

— that standing while walking will always be over one leg.  Okay, 

let us try.


Please lift the right arm and lift up onto the tips of the 

toes of the left leg.  In this position, turn the body with the left 

hip.  Turn it back and forth. 

No, only the hip . . . 

Try for a moment.  First of all, the whole body . . . try to turn 

everything together except for the axis.  The axis should stay in 

place.  Make the largest possible movement that [you] can

. . . with the hip to the left . . . with the left shoulder, but 

with the right shoulder in place.  Turn the whole body around the 

standing axis.  Try it many times.  Turn the left hip, with the 

shoulders, with the body.  

Lean.  Do not turn the toes.  The toes stand as they stand.  Turn 

under these conditions — with the left hip, with the left leg.  Turn 

the whole body right and left as much as possible.  Only now the 

right side stays in place.  

The right arm is in place.  To the extent that it will improve, the 

right arm will stay fixed, as if it is tied up to the ceiling.  Do 

not try to hold it; just pay attention to whether you move it.  We 

will find what causes it [the arm] to move.  Why is it moving even 

though [you] do not want it to?  

Do not turn the toes.  [Turn] the body.  The toes stay in place.  

They stay in one place, as they were . . . the toes of both legs.  

Turn the pelvis, the shoulder, and the chest around this axis.  Just 

pay attention so the right arm will stay standing to the extent that 

[you are able to] notice it.

Leave this and walk around.  


Return to standing.  Do exactly the same thing.  That means 

to place the left leg backward as a minute ago.  The right arm [is] 

up . . . the right arm up.  Now, pay attention.  Take the left 

shoulder forward to the extent that [you] can.  

No, the left shoulder [is] forward, not the right shoulder backward.  

Take the left shoulder forward.  Pay attention to what [you] are 

doing with the chest.  The left shoulder forward, with the chest, 

with everything . . . turn the chest.  The left shoulder [goes] 



Lower the right arm and lift the left.  Try to turn the 

body, with the left leg, around the right axis.  That means the left 

arm moves backward and forward . . . backward with the left arm

with the left shoulder.  [You] turn around the right axis as before.  

Pay attention.  Turn the pelvis, with the left leg, with the whole 

body forward, with the shoulder forward, with the left shoulder 

forward.  Of course, the eyes are to the horizon, not on the floor.  


Now, lift the two arms to the same position.  Lift the two 

arms and take the chest, along with the shoulders, forward . . . 

once on the right side and once on the left side.  

Pay attention to where [you] feel an effort when doing [turning] the 

left side.  

Walk around a bit.  


Return to standing.  Place the right leg backward, the 

right foot backward.  The left arm [is] high up, in front.  Turn the 

whole back with the help of the right leg.  [Turn the back] forward 

and backward.  Listen so the axis stays in place to the extent that 

is possible.  Also make a movement in the shoulders, in the pelvis, 

and in the head . . . the whole way, if possible.  

Listen so it will move as one lump — all of it, except [the head].  

If the eyes want, the head is free to do more.  Pay attention to how 

with the great majority . . . look what happens when they are free 

to turn like this.  Immediately [the majority] breaks the back 

backward and places it like this.  [TN:  Dr. Feldenkrais is 

demonstrating the mistake.]  That means the whole standing is 

spoiled.  That is why now I demand the other arm [be raised] when 

you stand like this.  Then, this immediately changes.  [You] have to 

let the spine stand.  As long as the spine is without unnecessary 

efforts and the chest can breathe, the movement can be free.  Then, 

it is no longer necessary to hold the balance, for that [holding for 

balance] cannot be called “standing.”  It is called making an effort 

to stand or not knowing how to stand.  Pay attention.  Try to do 


[TN:  Dr. Feldenkrais is demonstrating to the class the movement he 

is searching for.]  Pay attention.  Try to take the right shoulder 

forward . . . the right shoulder along with the chest forward.  

Listen.  In all these movements, the more you let the head [shift] 

relative to the chest — to go not like this, not like this, but like 

that.  Look at me . . . rather forward and high up . . . only then 

it [you] will stand easily.  If you allow it, [you] will see that 

the body tends to do this.  It feels that here is the comfortable 

place and that all the other things are unnecessary efforts.


Now, take the right arm up.  Try to move forward like this.  

Turn the body, with the right arm, forward on the left axis . . . 

only the right arm.  The left arm can be down.  

Pay attention.  Let the head be carried high, in front of the body, 

at the highest, most forward place . . . at the highest place 

without any effort in the muscles of the neck.  That means without 

lifting the chin.  


Now, extend the two arms forward.  Like this, turn the 

shoulders right and left, with the head forward, with the head 


Leave this.  Walk a bit.  Pay attention to what [you] feel while 

walking now.  Pay attention to how the walking is.  


Now, return to place.  Stand [with the legs] lightly 

spread.  Lift the two arms.  Now, try that which we did in the 

beginning.  That means to turn the whole back right and left.  

Pay attention if there is additional movement, also in the pelvis.  

Pay attention if turning became even better.  Now, it is possible to 

think that this is the limit [of what one can do].  It is not.  


Now, try to stand with the legs widespread, a big spread.  

Lift the two arms and do the same thing.  Pay attention.  Pull the 

abdomen in and do this with a wide stance.  

Pay attention to what [you] feel in the pelvis, in the hip joints.  

Turn the pelvis clearly . . . backward and forward . . . [right and 

left — TN: Dr. Feldenkrais may have made a mistake here if it is to 

be the same as the instructions before.]].  


Now, extend only the right arm above the head and turn the 

whole body around the axis of the right arm.  Of course, not the 

right leg . . . the right arm.  The right hip and right shoulder 

[stay] in place.  Only the left side moves.  

The [right] arm is lifted.  The lifted arm always fixes the axis of 

standing.  Turn the left hip, the back, the chest, the head, and 

everything together.  Pay attention that the right arm and the right 

shoulder stay in place.  The right arm fixes or decides the axis of 

standing.  The right arm does not move.  The right shoulder does not 

move.  The right hip does not move.  The right hip joint does not 



Now, do the same thing on the left side.

Leave this and walk.  


Now, in standing — try to stand with the two legs together.  

Turn the right heel with the right hip joint as we did in a previous 

lesson on this subject.  Turn everything to the side.  Transfer the 

weight of the body onto it.  When transferring [weight] — move so it 

will not be necessary to touch [the floor] for support again the 

moment [you] transfer the leg to place.  That means [you] arrive and 

stay in place. 


It is possible to lift the arm if [you] desire it, if [you] 

can.  [You can] do it with the arm, without the arm, but all the 

time the same.

Listen, this needs to be learned.  With the great majority, it does 

not work.  The great majority stands so they arrive and [actually] 

they are standing, holding, and correcting the legs.  Do it as we 

describe.  The size is not important.  In order to do this, you will 

see that it is necessary to take the head forward and up.  If the 

head is forward and up . . . that means if [you] do not make 

unnecessary efforts in the neck  . . . then when [you] do this 

movement, the moment you come onto a leg, the other leg remains free 

for you to do whatever [you] want . . . what you want and however 

you want.  Then, maybe it will stop being a problem.  You see, it 

stands.  Try to do this slowly.  

Of course, with [this movement you] see the great majority cheat and 

lie to themselves.  That means they do something so they stand 

beautifully or hold their breath.  That is not what we want.  If 

[you] pay attention it will be soft.  If [you] listen to the 

talking, you cannot feel whether I stand on one leg or two legs.  

Yes, I do it, or no, I do not.  Please do this.  

Pay attention.  Turn the heel [outward], to the side, as it was done 

in a previous lesson.  Transfer the hip over the heel.  The head 

[is] soft, forward and up.  The moment it stands, the other leg is 

not necessary for standing.  [It is not] necessary to lean on it.  


Now, at the moment [you] begin noticing that it is possible 

to do this, try it with the other leg.  Do not only bend it, but 

also lift it and transfer it over to the side

. . . to the back and to the side.

[Transfer] to wherever you want but only if breathing is like this 

moment when I am speaking.  That means [you] will not notice 

anything.  It is better to fall each time and correct than to 

continue straining.  

We said, “Only on the right leg.”  Turn the body backward on the 

right axis.  [You] can arrive at the ability to remain standing on 

the right leg without movement only if [you] listen not to push the 

leg backward at the right knee.  Even though it is possible — [do 

not push] the right knee backward.  The easiest is when this leg is 

free.  When the leg is free, it is easy to do this.  Afterward, it 

is possible to straighten [the knee], but first, have the [knee] be 



Leave this.  Try on the other side a few times.  


Now, try with both arms [lifted].

Once again, pay attention.  Pay attention to the situation here, to 

whether there is a strain here.  No matter what [you] say, the arms 

may be strained or the breathing strained.  It should be completely 

soft.  That means it should be a beginning of bending forward.  The 

tail and the head move in one direction.  Behind, the line of the 

back [is] straight.  

Under these conditions lift the two arms and try lightly, without 

force, to make a large movement in the shoulders.  Go over [to 

stand] on this leg and then [make] a big movement in that one so 

[you] can stand on the other.  If you pay attention . . . if you pay 

attention to this you will see that the leg is not strained.  It is 

important that you see . . . that [you] are not trying to hold the 

floor with the toes.  That is not okay.  That is not in order.  The 

leg should stand in such a way that it does not need to make any 

efforts to maintain balance.  

Listen to this.  Do not straighten the knees, just make a large 

turn.  Always go over onto the other leg.  Turn the heel.  Pay 

attention to one of the important things.  It should not be that 

[you] stand on this leg, move over to the other leg, and then find 

balance.  But rather, it is fine as long as either, “No, this leg 

does not touch or yes, it touches.”  However, initially, the moment 

I put it standing, the body moves to this side.  [TN:  The body 

clearly moves to stand on the leg the moment it touches.]  Do not 

take care of the two legs [at the same time].  As long as you 

hesitate to stand with the leg in the air — no to stand or yes to 

stand with the leg — [incomplete sentence].  The moment I stand, it 

stands and is finished.  

Please walk a bit and see how it is.  

(End of lesson)

Editor’s note: Please refer to ATM Lesson #243 Walking for a 

continuation of this lesson.

 In this context Dr. Feldenkrais uses strain to mean "to exert or 

contract muscles powerfully."  The word lacks any negative 


.   There is not a clear reference for the lesson Dr. Feldenkrais is 


Awareness Through Movement® Lessons from Alexander Yanai

#242:  Turning on a side axis

©  Copyright December 1997.  All rights reserved by and to the 

International Feldenkrais® Federation, Paris, France

in cooperation with The Feldenkrais Institute, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Awareness Through Movement® Lessons from Alexander Yanai

#25:  On the cheek










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