: Olena Nitefor Recordings Page

Olena's Bio (in her own words)

I graduated in 1987 from the Toronto training where the first two years were Moshe recorded in Amherst. Gaby Yaron was with our training the whole fourth year, allowing me to experience her teaching first hand. I became familiar with Mia’s teaching through advanced trainings. My pre training background includes an M.Ed. in dance, performance in a company, and teaching anatomy and kinesiology. In 1988 I started teaching functional anatomy in trainings, and since 1995 have assisted through five full trainings (U.S., Canada and Europe.) Since 1997 I have led over 1,500 hours of advanced trainings, mostly in Europe. Starting in 2006, I have also been leading five day advanced trainings devoted completely to ATM. ATM continues to sustain and astound me. My home and practice are in Toronto, Canada.

Tall Kneeling Lessons

Lessons in kneeling can clarify the relation of the pelvis to the standing femurs to a greater degree than lessons in standing seem to. Anytime I have taught kneeling lessons in the context of five day workshops, I, and the participants, have found that these lessons provide excellent circumstances in which to first uncover issues with balance and then provide the means to improve balance to a significant degree. I think kneeling lessons bring the organization of the pelvis in relation to the femurs under great scrutiny.

It seems to be clearer to uncover and to clarify the posterior or anterior tilt tendencies of pelvic organization in kneeling than it does in standing. I think this is partially because in kneeling it is less possible to translate the pelvis forward than it is to do so when standing on full legs. With the translation forward "eliminated," what shows up are the preferences (and limitations) of the habituated pelvic tilt. And, in order to actually find balance on one knee, as the other foot is brought to standing, one can find the differentiations as well as the organization of the pelvis on a femur in a very thorough way. The anterior/posterior tilt no longer a habituated position, because the tilt needs to be put into motion to allow the other leg to sweep around into standing. The slight side tilting that is suggested as a means of freeing the moving leg, helps one find how to "pivot" the pelvis in the frontal plane. Of course, one can also just power through and miss it all, but that is a personal story.

Below is a list of further lessons which are in kneeling, either on the knees, or in side lying. Except for when noted, these ATMs are available for downlaod below:

Actual kneeling: All of these use kneeling on both knees as well as on one knee and one foot. This allows for a more dynamic use of the pelvis and trunk in relation to the femurs, and clearly develops tall kneeling. Developmentally, tall kneeling is a transitional position. Most children whom I have observed do not spend a lot of time on both knees. Sitting, which at first is also a transitional position becomes much more a position to stay in than is/does tall kneeling. So even in the developmental context it makes sense that ATMs utilize it as transitional and we do not do whole ATMs in tall kneeling.

AY #52 Head fixed, pelvis fixed while standing on the knees. Crazy title. There is nothing fixed about the head or the pelvis. You roll the head and make a circle with the coccyx... first independently and then simultaneously. Finally you put a pencil in your navel and draw yet another circle!

AY #89 Lengthening the arms takes us through many "positions," including lying, side sitting and kneeling. Each arm is lengthened upward by the pull of the other arm and the whole side lengthened. The side lengthening is regularly interspersed with lengthening the head upward, while also rolling it. While the work with lengthening the head as you roll it requires refinement, I like this lesson for people who could not kneel through a full class. This is the first lesson in a series of three.

A family of ATMs in half kneeling, in order of complexity: 
AY #263 Bending right and left: I find this one simpler than #143. It takes place lying on the back, the front, half kneeling and standing. 
AY #143 Bending right and left: Sitting symmetrically as well as half kneeling - another one I like for introducing short periods of kneeling for folks who would not or could not or would be afraid to kneel for a full class.
 AY #221 Opposing movements in the head and shoulders while standing on the knees: Most complex of these three. (not on

AY lessons #329, 330, 331 (see below) are a series which starts in tall kneeling and studies how to go lightly from two knees to half kneeling (one knee and one foot), back to two knees, sitting back onto the heels, coming back up onto the two knees. The lessons bring one, the other and then two hands down to the floor, as you lift the pelvis in a fantastic exploration of the use of base of support as shared between the front foot and the toes of the as yet kneeling leg. All this develops into lifting the pelvis lightly, while keeping the trunk long. Eventually the lessons bring one to standing, and from there, coming back down to a half kneel, the two knees, sitting and back up. They get lively. #331 builds to a humorous finale of hopping in a lunge, with only the front leg hopping.

Lessons in side lying with legs arranged as for kneeling:

When I teach these I make more of the beginning instruction, The lesson reads, "Bend the legs backward so there will be a straight line in front ... a straight line from the chest until the knees. Bend the legs backward so there will be a straight line in front. That means the thighs will be in a continuation of the stomach." I ask people to take the legs back and then bring them to where they usually lie and take time to observe what they do with the pelvis, the chest and the head to bring the legs back. Also, during these lessons one begins to see people's hip joints come into flexion and therefore the knees migrate forward. I keep bringing attention to this during the lesson...

My all time favorite "kneeling"; while in side lying lesson is AY #495, Arm around in lying. If you can keep yourself from "achieving" the action of bringing the arm around in a circle under the side you are lying on too quickly, you get to the part where Moshe very cleverly brings in imagining actually kneeling first on one knee, then the other, and then on both on a floor which is perpendicular to the actual floor. When you find how the "kneeling" on the imaginary floor actually gives a push upward through the sacrum into the spine, you find an opening (extension) in the hip joint that is different than what one can find when taking a leg backward. From this, the change in actual tall kneeling (and in standing) is almost explosive.

It took me many iterations of teaching this ATM (#495) to understand the variation where, in addition to imagining kneeling, Moshe has us flex the ankles. If the ankles are flexed as if intending to place the toes for running on the imagined floor, the reorganization within the hip joints really does amazing and almost unbelievable "things" for the relationship of the pelvis to the femurs in tall kneeling. This lesson played a significant part in my Dynamic and Challenging ATM workshop and the workshop itself ended with #488 To statue standing. The reference movement in that standing lesson is lifting the back leg which is resting on the floor on the toes. I used this reference movement throughout the workshop until we brought the whole ATM in as a culminating finale. The transformation is that at the start, the back leg is heavy and seems to pull the spine down, unless one over arches in the lumbars. By the end, the leg lifts in such a way that the lifting leg gives a push upward through the sacrum and spine and actually brings the pelvis onto the standing leg even more clearly, without hyperextending the lumbars.

AY #351 Swinging the legs on the side is a phenomenal reorganizer of the femurs in relation to the pelvis and of the pelvis in relation to the spine and shoulder girdle. One of the "threads" that I have been following in myself, as well as in teaching, is that the part of the pelvis below the horizontal axis of the hip joints (small pelvis in German, birth canal for us North Americans) needs to not only be differentiated from the musculature of the thighs, but also needs to be able to lead the action of the pelvis.

When the small pelvis is free and an active organizer of movement, the whole pelvis can be tilted anteriorly, posteriorly and sideways with a phenomenal level of refinement. This can result in a refinement and precision much greater than if the movement is led by the ilia (large pelvis). Through this, one can find how to tilt the pelvis without engaging too large an extension in the lumbars or bringing the lower belly too far forward, a common question for folks. The reward is finding the extraordinary moment when the sacrum tilts anteriorly just enough to provide a push upwards through the spine giving one a sense of exquisite support straight through to the head. Towards the end of AY #351, when the head is propped up on one arm, there is a way in which the heel of the foot and the heel of the pelvis (the sitting bone, that is) work in harmony with each other to do just that. Which then feeds directly into #488 To statue standing.

To locate the image and sense of the hip joints from the four perspectives of front, outside, back and inside, and to bring those four "sides" of the leg into a coherent experience of a dimensional leg whose length is the same no matter from which side you approach it, I often bring in #341 Simpler on the stomach and back. The primary image lessons develop attention that is directionally active. There is a direction of attention traveling upward along the spine, while at the same time there are lines of attention traveling downward each leg. In #341 we are asked to imagine water hoses with pressure which actually travels along the directions, not static lines. This is brilliant for both standing and tall kneeling.

Hope this is useful.


Title Source Time
Head fixed, pelvis fixed while standing on the knees (rolling head and circling coccyx) AY#52 67:57 Download
Lengthening the arms AY#89 67:57 Download
Bending Right and Left AY#143 68:56 Download
Bending Left and Right - First Pass AY#263 51:43 Download
Bending Left and Right - Second Pass
This lesson is more advanced than the first pass
AY#263 63:04 Download
Standing on the Knees (1st of 3) AY#329 63:04 Download
Standing on the Knees (2nd of 3) AY#330 63:04 Download
Standing on the Knees Finale (3rd of 3) and first ATM and Statue moves finale AY#331 63:04 Download
Swinging Legs on the Side (Tanden Breathing) AY#351 67:57 Download
To statue standing (part of series staring at AY#487) AY#448 67:57 Download
To statue standing AY#448 67:57 Download
Arm around in lying (Part 1) AY#495 67:57 Download
Arm around in lying, conclusion (Part 2) AY#495 67:57 Download

Olena Nitefor's Interpretation of Selected AY Lessons

I teach five day advanced trainings which are dedicated fully to ATM. While each workshop has its own particular theme, I have an ongoing dedication to Moshe's insistence that, "It will organize itself." He does not suggest that we are learning to organize "it." Quite a distinction to consider! From this comes my interest in how to guide the "I" so that the intelligence of "it" has time and space to emerge. Moshe in AY #478:
"Do it more easily at the points where it is difficult.Do not try to push more, but at the points where it is difficult, do it more easily, a gentler movement, more slowly. Then, slowly it will organize itself."
Each of the ATMs below comes from the context of a different five day workshop. The way I teach, and the length, depends on the group on the floor, as well as the sequence of the particular ATM within the workshop. Some therefore, will not have a formal scan, some will have a long one. As a teacher, I am working on not starting every sentence with "so," not to repeat "a little bit" quite so much. and how to not huff and puff into the mic. While I code the lessons as AY#, they are versions thereof.
Title Source Time
Legs Pushing the Pelvis and Rocking the Back AY#224 70:23 Download Discuss
On the Stomach AY#60 59:60 Download Discuss
Simpler, On the Stomach and the Back AY#341 59:60 Download Discuss

Olena Nitefor's Interpretation of the Mia/Gabby San Fransisco Evening Lessons

These ATM lessons are my interpretations of the 1977 Mia Segal and Gaby Yaron San Francisco evening classes lessons taught during the San Fransisco training. The notes for these lessons are available from Feldenkrais Resources These versions of the lessons were recorded at the request of a practitioner and were recorded with her as the only student on the floor, which is why they may seem idiosyncratic. Most are under an hour long, but a few extended longer, and even much longer. After each ATM, before checking the recording device to see how much objective time had passed, she and I discussed our subjective time perception. The first question was: did it feel too short, too long or just fine to each of us. The second step was guessing how much time had passed, so we could laugh about the constant discrepancies between the sense of time, the thinking about time, and objective time.

When I started out as an ATM teacher 25 years ago, these evening classes were my treasured source. I have always appreciated the conciseness with which Gaby and Mia address basic functional relationships. It has been illuminating to revisit these lessons, and to understand them through the experience of the intervening years. Conscious that I was recording with an aim to share, I found myself self-conscious at the beginning of some of the ATMs. You’ll hear it. I will add classes as we continue to record them. Page numbers refer to the new, formatted edition of these lessons. I highly recommend purchasing the book of lessons for deeper study.

Title Source Time
Tilting legs in and out on back p.77 59:60 Download Discuss
On back lift hip to lengthen opposite arm p.54 55:52 Download Discuss
Tilting knee on back connecting to arms above p.58 42:15 Download Discuss
Side bending on the back and front p.62 47:25 Download Discuss
Shoulder/Hip Circles on Sides p.50 60:15 Download Discuss
On side, sliding arms and legs to improve ability to lift head p.35 58:50 Download Discuss
Simple Pelvic Clock p.40 59:40 Download Discuss
Prone, Lifting head and arm in various combinations with one knee up p.26 79:70 Download Discuss
On side turning w_straight arm in arc p.16 83:38 Download Discuss
Differentiating movement of leg to roll forward and back p.45 62:55 Download Discuss
Coordinating flexors and extensors p.71 50:42 Download Discuss
Tilting legs on front side to come to sit p.31 65:36 Download Discuss

ATMs from Olena Nitefor's Advanced Training in LA Oct 15-16 2011.

These are the recorded ATMs of Olena Nitefor's Advanced Training in LA Oct 15-16 2011.

Date Title Source Time
10/15/2011 Tanden with Bending the Knees AY#359 57:30 Download Discuss
10/15/2011 On the Elbows with a Hop AY#357 50:02 Download Discuss
10/15/2011 Edges of the Feet
Note: see Liz Sisco's 10/23/2010 version as well
AY#433 39:40 Download Discuss

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