Feldenkrais Exercises

This Series of Feldenkrais exercises inspired by Jacqueline Ogg’s “Workercise” cdrom & video tape

A brief explanation of how this works:

Counter symmetry

When you have a movement that functions well on one side but is limited on the other and you purposely restrict the better side, the limited side will improve in its mobility as a direct result of your body compensating for the created restriction. This strategy works throughout the body.

Neck Exercises

For instant easing of neck tension, rotate your head slowly and easily to both sides. Observe how far you can see in each direction, Note which side is easier

Raise your shoulder on the easy side to create a restriction in mobility. Turn your head to the easier side, breathing in and out slowly as you look over your shoulder, then move your head back to center. Do this twice.

Now repeat this movement, but this time keep your eyes looking forward as you turn your head, do this twice. Relax your shoulder, breath and turn your head to the side that was originally restricted and notice the improvement.

“Boss on Holiday” for Neck Tension

As above, check your head rotation to both sides without forcing it. Press or squeeze your sternocleido mastoid muscle to limit its action, (use the opposite side hand). Rotate your head slowly toward your hand and then away from it. Repeat your head turn keeping your eyes to the front.

Change sides, press or squeeze your neck muscle, turn slowly towards your hand, and then away. The second time keep your eyes front as you turn away.

Rest and then turn your head, note the increase in rotation.

Simple Shoulder Stretches: (Upper traps and levator scapula)

Flex your neck to the side (ear to shoulder) and raise your arm straight from your side. Approximately 20°)

You should feel a very nice pull through your upper traps (shoulder muscles) After holding this stretch for 30+ seconds, rotate your head so your nose is pointing towards your armpit (in the opposite direction of your outstretched arm) Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

The Water Stir Exercise

Make a note of which shoulder feels more tense by moving your shoulder around. Using this arm, make inward circles with this hand up to 10 times. Make sure the circles are inwards towards your spine and belly button.

Now repeat these circles with the movement coming from your elbow.

Keeping your back straight, bend your front knee and pretend you.are gathering in water so that you’re stirring with some resistance. This movement should come from your shoulder joint. Let your arm drop and shake it out. Notice which shoulder is lower now.

The Owl

Determine which shoulder is tighter. Reach across your body and grab your trapezius (shoulder) muscle lifting it up with your hand almost pinching it. Let the arm relax. Rotate your head to that side while taking a deep breath in.

As you breathe out rotate, your head to the other side. Inhale again and rotate back to the tighter side. Inhale again, Let your head drop down in front while you breathe out.

Let go of your shoulder muscle as your head drops.

Shoulder and Jaw Tension

Shoulder and jaw pains are frequently related. At rest your jaw is normally held in a closed position. Many people clench their jaws tight in when they are stressed after a while this can lead to excessive jaw pain, headaches and eventual wearing away of their teeth. Try this exercise to relieve your jaw tension.

In a sitting position, cross your left leg over the right, and turn your head slightly to the right. Imagine an elastic band between your jaw and your left shoulder. Breath out as you raise your left shoulder towards your ear. Take a breath in and as you exhale, allow your shoulder to slide down, drawing your jaw to open. Repeat this several times, and check your opening, and then change sides and repeat. Note how your jaw feels now.

Arm Activation (from Education Kinetics)

In a standing position, raise one arm in front to approximately 110°

Place your other hand on the bottom of your arm just proximal (beforeto your elbow (triceps area). Press your arms towards each other as you breath out. Press for approximately 5 seconds, do this 2 or 3 times. Put the hand on the inside of the arm and press together, now move to the outside of the arm. Finish by putting your arm on the top of your arm (biceps) and press again.

Extend your arms out in front and compare their lengths. The one you raised should be longer. Repeat this with your other arm.

Mid Back Release

Your mid back muscles support the weight of your arms, head and neck while you do many activities such as lifting, typing, holding books while reading, writing on a desk and sitting and standing with forward postures. These muscles eventually become exhausted and painful.

To Stretch and release these muscles;

Bend forward as if to touch your toes. Notice how far you can bend. Grab onto your legs knees or ankles wherever you can reach and while holding, use your mid back muscles to try and pull you into a standing position. Pull for a count of 10. Stop pulling, take a deep breath and relax as you exhale. Now extend your stretch further forward noticing how much farther you can go. Hold at your next position and pull upwards again.

You can repeat this 3 – 5 times. This should cause an effective stretch for your middle and upper back. Discontinue or reduce the intensity of these stretches if you feel any pain. If you don’t see an improvement see your massage therapist or a chiropractor check for any alignment problems that may prevent your releases