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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Leave this and walk a bit.
Return to standing. Lift the arms. Now, try the
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]
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.
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
the [left] lower ribs move backward. In other words, it is
necessary for the head to move high up.
only . . . the right shoulder backward and the left one forward.
Now, try it without the head, only the left hip
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.
way, only now take the head to the left. That means the head [goes]
with the hip.
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
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,
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
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
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
[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
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
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
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
once on the right side and once on the left side.
Pay attention to where [you] feel an effort when doing [turning] the
Walk around a bit.
Return to standing. Place the right leg backward, 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
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.
only the right arm. The left arm can be down.
Pay attention. Let the head be carried high, in front of the body,
without any effort in the muscles of the neck. That means without
lifting the chin.
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
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.
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.]].
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
Leave this and walk.
Now, in standing — try to stand with the two legs together.
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]
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.
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
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].
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
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
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