Strong arms, soft shoulders.

Here is a wonderful exploration for finding the connection of your arms through your shoulders and spine.

1) Sit on the floor with your knees bent out to the sides and the soles of your feet facing (but not touching) each other. You may need to place a folded towel under your sit bones for comfort. Place your hands on the floor behind your pelvis and lean into your arms and hands. Play with the placement of your hands. Do you prefer your fingers pointing away from yourself? Towards yourself? Somewhere in between? Take a few minutes and very slowly explore where your arms and hands can be so you feel your arms can easily support you. Stop. Take your hands away from the floor and rest.

2) Return to sitting with your knees bent, soles of the feet facing each other and place your hands behind your pelvis in the place where you feel your arms can easily support you. Very slowly and gently bend and straighten your elbows, several times. Stop. Even more slowly bend and straighten your elbows. How can your arms accept your weight? How can your arms connect with the floor? Stop. Take your hands away from the floor and rest.

3) Return again to the sitting position with your hands behind your pelvis. Slowly, slowly bend and straighten the elbows. Notice what happens in your chest as you bend and straighten your arms. How does your head respond to this simple movement? How are you breathing? What is happening in your pelvis? How can you make this movement easy? Effortless? How do your shoulders feel? Stop. Slowly stand up. Notice how your arms rest at your sides. Notice the shape of your shoulders. Walk a bit and notice how your shoulders respond to the simple act of walking.

Remember to always move slowly and gently, and in the spirit of interest and curiosity, rather than self-judgement. This allows for changes to take place in your nervous system (neuroplasticity). It’s also important to be comfortable so you are able to pay attention to yourself as you move. In Feldenkrais(R) we have a saying: there is no right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse, just opportunities to learn.

Be healthy!

Cheryl Ilov, GCFP

awareness through movement, Feldenkrais, neuroplasticity., self-awareness, shoulders, somatosensory experience, strength