Nibbling on your arms

I’m going back through my (now very) old notebooks where we wrote down skeleton lessons during my Feldenkrais training program (Colima I, Mexico, with Stephen Rosenholtz as E.D. and Marilupe Campero as onsite organizer; Beatriz Walterspiel and Yvan Joly also taught). Partly this is because coronavirus has thrown us all back on our own resources for entertainment and self-care.

The first one I have for you is absolutely splendid for dealing with that rock-hard block we all carry around at the base of our necks. I think about this lesson often–odd that I didn’t go dig it out until now.

My lesson skeletons are very bare bones. (A little repetitious with the metaphor, I know.)

**If you haven’t done Feldenkrais before, you probably won’t make much of this outline. Go do a few lessons on my site or elsewhere from live recordings. These few short words are meant to be the skeleton of a 45-minute (or so) process!**

When you teach or explore them for yourselves, there’s a lot to fill in. But don’t fill in too much. The skeleton has just about everything you need!

I label a movement or position (in this case two) at the beginning as “Reference”. This is what you come back to when I put “Reference” on a line by itself later.

The statements with no dashes before them are positions to assume. The statements with dashes are movement instructions. A word with a question mark is  an indication of where to take awareness in an instruction.

If anything else isn’t clear, just let me know in the comments.

Nibbling your elbows

Face down, knees bent, feet to ceiling. Fingers almost touching over head.
– Feel and check—how is each foot oriented at rest? (Reference.)

Same position but legs long.
– Lift head/look up (reference).

Face looking R, L ear on floor.
– Move your head to take your nose towards crook of R elbow.
– Take back of head towards crook of L elbow.
– Alternate.

Face looking L, R ear on floor.
– Same, but when you take your head forwards, differentiate nose, forehead, and mouth to crook of R elbow.


Face looking R, L ear on floor. Toes standing.
– Push with R ft. Neck? Head?
– Same with L ft.

Face looking R, L ear on floor.
– Take chin along arm from elbow to shoulder.
– Lick and bite from shoulder to elbow.
– Try with toes standing. How can one or the other of your feet help?

Face looking R, L ear on floor.
– Lick and bite from wrist to elbow.
– Try with toes standing. How can one or the other of your feet help?
– Make the whole circle (shoulder to elbow to wrist and back). Do whatever helps with your legs.


From Colima I training, Module 3, week IV, day 4, 1st lesson.

I have a friendly suggestion I’d like to make about teaching in general. For scans in the rests (indicated by the double line break), focus on one or two really simple ideas that you expect students to get from the lesson or feel in the course of doing the lesson. Both match their curiosity and shape it. Don’t go all over the place with all the different awareness questions you ever heard or learned in Feldenkrais. I have a particular pet peeve about this.

And I have an even bigger pet peeve about this: always, always, except when you have a really good reason not to, leave a space between the last question you ask and the rest you give people.

Don’t say, “and what are you feeling in space between your ear and your shoulder and stretch out and rest now.” I cannot believe how often I hear that in recorded lessons. If you ask a question, give people time to feel your question before the rest.

End of lecture!