Lesson of the Month #26 (5/99)

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

Neck, Shoulders, and Eyes

Turning the head and eyes, looking up and down, calibrating muscles of the neck.

Works with:
Neck, upper spine and back, head, eyes, shoulders, hips.

1. Lie on your back on the floor...leave your legs stretched out and your arms to the sides on the floor...check in with yourself and see how your body feels today against the floor...then bend your knees so your feet are standing under your knees, about shoulder width apart...

2. Explore a movement of opening your left knee out toward the floor on the left, and then bringing it back up over the foot...keep the right knee pointed more or less toward the ceiling...let your lower back and left hip be soft so your pelvis rolls smoothly to the left each time, as if on a large underinflated tire...your right hip lifts away from the floor, and your right knee is carried toward the left with the hip, but keep the knee pointed at the ceiling...and stop the movement and rest.

3. Same movement as #2...now let your face roll right each time the left knee goes toward the floor, looking toward your right hand...let your back be soft...feel the pull across your back, and let the right side of your chest arch away from the floor a little...and stretch out your legs and rest...notice the changes that are beginning to happen in your contact with the floor.

4. Repeat #2 and #3 on the other side.

5. Leave your legs stretched out, feet shoulder width apart, arms on the floor not too far from your sides...bring your right hand up next to your right shoulder, palm toward the ceiling, back of the upper arm against the floor, as if holding a tray...and explore a movement of extending the hand toward the ceiling, and returning to this position...as the arm reaches full extension, softly extend the hand and wrist as well...notice how you engage your arm, shoulder and chest...and let the arm float back to the original position...how does it change if you shift your attention from pushing your hand toward the ceiling to pushing the back of your arm and your elbow away from the floor?...each time look for a way to use less effort...and rest.

6. Same position, same movement...but this time place your left hand on your breastbone, a few inches below the little notch between your collarbones, and feel how your rib cage rolls left each time you reach out...repeat it a number of times...then move your left hand to the neck, feeling the muscles on the right side of the neck near the collarbone as you extend and release the right arm...let your eyes be looking for something to the left each time you reach up, and let your face roll to the left...gradually extend the arm more and more diagonally to the left, till the right hand is in the air over the left shoulder each time...and rest.

7. Same movement as #6, pushing the right hand up to the left and releasing the wrist...now when the right elbow comes back to the floor, palm to the ceiling as if holding a tray in front of the shoulder, open the shoulder to the right so the back of the right hand and forearm move closer to the floor...your head and neck roll right...the palm stays oriented to the ceiling...and then again reach up to the ceiling and roll your face left as before...repeat the cycle a number of times...and rest...compare the ways your right and left sides make contact with the floor...

8. Repeat #5 through #8 on the other side.

9. Bend both knees so your feet are standing, not too far apart, with knees over feet...repeat #2 several times on each side...then go from side to side like that and see how the movement has changed, how it is easier for your neck and shoulders and torso...and let it go and rest on your back...roll your head and eyes gently from side to side, and notice how much of your shoulders and chest and back are involved now...and let the movement stop and just feel the changes from these simple movements.