How did the neck get so stiff? This lesson helps the neck discover a friend in the upper back. It’s worth experimenting with, even if you come off the stomach to rest. The “ah-ha” moment when the upper back discovers something is worth it.

Arms overhead, sliding side to side invites movement in the upper back and spine. Such a timeless movement of articulating the arms. As the arms are overhead, if you can’t reach the floor, raise the floor. Get a blanket to put under your hands. I love this lesson because it wakes up all the places I didn’t know I was holding.

I give this lesson to my students all the time as it seems we all hold the area between and just below the shoulder blades. I love the rolled blanket under the back. As the spine and ribs soften, the whole back responds to the feet. (Ruthy Alon, Mindful Spontaneity, p. 113, Magic roller series)

Side bending and rolling wakes up movement in many planes, leaving your habits by the wayside as you can’t hold onto them when movements are so novel. This is a gentle lesson wth a big impact. It kind of sneaks up on you as you go through it. (Mia Segal/Gaby Yaron, 1977-78 evening classes #7)

Crazy slow, even slower, will serve you well in this lesson. It’s about eliminating interference, and to do that we have to sneak under the radar. When we use the attention to create slow, smooth action, the whole system gets on board. You might feel a lot of letting go.

Ingenious how the arms are in a position where you have to move the upper ribs. Upper ribs and back, meet arms. Usually we move the arms out there on their own, but this integrates them into your middle. Done with ease, the lesson invites a significant shift in the way the arms and shoulders hang. Of course, anything done with effort creates more effort, so don't head that way. (For a similar lesson, see Rolling Long Arms, #3, in Light, Easy Arms.)

A slow movement to really connect the arm into the collar bone, shoulder blade, upper back, and ribs.  Often we don’t think about the skeletal linkages, we just move through our day. This lesson highlights those links, reducing stress and strain on the arms.

What is a natural direction? It’s the direction that emerges when you don’t feel trapped in compulsive, repetitive behavior.

Natural, authentic movement occurs when you allow yourself the freedom to evolve in your own way without anyone fussing, correcting, or telling you off, even yourself.
— Zoe Birch