Smooth movement of the eyes is crucial for our ability to respond to external stimuli. Dr. Feldenkrais taught this classic lesson in the beginning of his US training in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1980. It’s done on the back, making slow, and then quick, excursions of the eyes in many directions. The shift in the ability of turning the head in relation to the eyes is remarkable.
Many people don’t realize that the eye muscles have habits just like the rest of us. In fact, these muscles are linked to the way we hold our entire being. If we strain in the eyes, we feel a global fatigue, not to mention strain in the neck muscles, which work hard to keep the head still so we can focus.
This lesson continues the process of liberating the eye and neck muscles.
Who knew there was so much activity in the eyes! Jumpy eyes and a visual cortex that is constantly trying to focus is exhausting. Use palming the eyes to calm the visual cortex and allow the whole system to reset.
This lesson looks at inclusive attention, when we look at something but don’t really seeing it, a kind of diffuse focus, as opposed to exclusive attention, where we’re focused on one thing only. Attention involving the entire self is the best way to reset the system.
Much of this lesson is in siting, however you can easily sit in a chair. Counterbalance is an important feature of efficient human movement. Often, we move the head without any counterbalance at all, and over-rely on the neck muscles, which are just too small to work that hard all the time.
Give your system a chance to feel how much easier it is to shift your whole self with the head.
Continuing the counterbalance in many positions. This invites a more global learning. Begin to sense the actual weight of your head and how its movement affects every part of you.
This lesson is wonderful for liberating the neck. Please go slowly, and take lots of rests and it’s very non-habitual to roll the head on the floor like this for anyone past the age of three!
The theme of moving the whole spine in response to the head continues from the last lesson. The position is such that you can’t help but move you’re whole self! This provides clear input into the low back/neck relationship. Play around with it, do what you can without judgement. It’s worth it!
This is the second part of rolling around on the head. It’s interesting to find all the directions and angles with safety and security. Your head can feel wildly light on top of the spine after this.
This lesson puts the top of your head on the wall! You’ll discover something new about relating to the top of your head. Plus, the spine and ribs will start to respond more and more. This lesson has some unexpected moves! I always remember it as “that one lesson with the top of the head on the wall” because it’s a distinctive pattern you won’t easily forget.