Lesson of the Month #16 (2/98)

For safety and best results, read instructions before doing lessons!

Head and Shoulders

Turning the head, twisting the trunk, carriage of the head, and mobility of the upper spine.

Works with:
Shoulders, head and neck.

1. Lie on your back on the floor. Check in with yourself today...notice the feelings and sensations in your body and in your contact with the floor....roll your head slowly from side to side a couple of times, and notice what that's like....how much of your body is involved in the movement?...then bend your right knee over the right foot, leave the left leg extended, and have your arms at your sides with the palms up....begin a tiny movement, just a fraction of an inch, of reaching your right hand down toward your right heel...and let it go and rest.

2. Same position...make the movement bigger, so your shoulder moves a little...your head rolls slightly to the right each time you reach down....do it several times, and then rest.

3. Same movement as #3, except now lift your right hip each time you reach toward the right heel...your head rolls right each time....and rest.

4. Repeat #1 through #3 on the other side.

5. Lying on your back with your feet standing.... put your right hand behind your head, and your left hand on your over your heart on your sternum....lift your head a few inches off the floor and set it down again...you feel your left hand and sternum move down toward your feet as you lift, and back up as your head returns to the floor...repeat it a number of times....and rest.

6. Hands in same position...lift your head a little off the floor, hold it there, and translate it a little right and left ...feel how your neck and shoulders and back are involved....and then,resting whenever you like, move your head in a circle in space, up, right, down, left, then again up, and so forth...and change directions... and let it go and rest for a moment.

7. Repeat #5 and #6 on the other side.

8. Bend your knees so your feet are standing...extend your arms lightly toward the ceiling...and tilt your pelvis toward you, and lift it off the floor, feeling each vertebrae lift from the floor as your weight rolls up your back...let your arms drop toward the floor above your head...and return...do it several times....and rest.

9. Interlace your fingers behind your head, and have your feet standing under your knees...lift your head a little off the floor, and roll your head from side to side...the elbow you turn away from lifts and moves toward your feet while the other goes toward the floor above your head...look toward the elbow that goes toward the floor above your head...for the fun of it, a few times lift your pelvis a little off the floor, and see how that changes the movement...and let it go and rest.

10. On your back, arms by your sides, feet standing ...explore a movement of lifting your right shoulder a little off the floor and setting it down...add a movement of rolling your face to the left each time you lift the shoulder....and add to that a movement of opening your jaw as your head rolls left...and rest.

11. Press the right shoulder into the floor several times....each time you press, let your head roll right, and gently close your jaw....do it a number of times...and rest.

12. Repeat #10 and #11 on the other side.

13. Lift right shoulder, press left shoulder so that the movement induces your head to roll to the left....and then lift left shoulder, press right shoulder, head is carried right...let your head be passive, rolling from side to side...your chest is soft, and your sternum also flows from side to side...and change the speed, first doing it slowly to get the feel of it, then faster and lighter...and rest.

14. Repeat #8.

15. Same as #14, but now leave your arms at your sides, and press arms gently into the floor as your pelvis lifts, so chest lifts and your weight rolls a little higher toward your shoulders...your chin is pulled down toward your chest...and let yourself down and rest.

16. Lie with feet standing, fairly far apart, arms out to the sides...take knees gently from side to side, gradually increasing the size of the movement...only do what is comfortable, and don't let your knees flop...stay in control of them...then let go of that and bring your knees over your chest...continue taking the knees from side to side, but do them one at a time....your right knee comes right, toward the floor, and the left stays over you until you have to move it to bring the right knee any closer to the floor...then the left lifts, and the right stays behind until there is no more slack in your hip joints, and then you lift the right knee to follow the left...both knees go to the left far apart from each other, and then close together again to the left....and then bck the other way....explore the range that's easily available...roll your head opposite the knees, looking toward the opposite hand, and imagining reaching out with it...go easy here, no heroics, please...go from side to side several times...and let it go and rest on your back....roll your head from side to side, and notice how the movement has changed from the beginning of the lesson....and carry these new feelings into standing, and see how that is for right now, and over the next few days.