Day 40 of FREE to Be YOUng: An Eye Exercise for Flexibility by Feldenkrais

I hope you enjoy adding mental, emotional, physical and spiritual resilience to your life with this simple eye exercise! 

Oops! I forgot to tell you:  All eye exercises should be done without your prescription glasses on and the stance should be a narrow “horse stance” (Qigong). That stance is with your feet a shoulder’s width apart.  What’s a shoulder’s width apart?  Your personal measuring “stick” is the distance from your wrist to your elbow. The feet should be facing straight forward—self correct yourself by not allowing your toes to point outward or inward.

In this exercise do not move your feet around. Your feet should be planted in one spot.

  1. Do a waist twist to the left and allow your left arm to swing around in back of you. Hold it position long enough to look down your middle finger to get a visual reference point.
  2. Do a waist twist to the right and allow your right arm to swing around in back of you. Hold the position long enough to look down your middle finger to get a visual reference point.
  3. Come back to facing forward.
  4. Now, turn only your head to the left. It will be facing past your left shoulder.  Keep your head turned that way and do these three movements of your eyes. A.  Look up and right for two seconds. B.  Look mid-right for two seconds. C.  Look down and right for two seconds. Then return your head to front and center.
  5. Now, reverse that (feet still planted in that one spot.) Turn only your head to the right. It will be facing past your right shoulder. Keep your head turned that way and do these three movements of your eyes. A. Look up and left for two seconds. B. Look mid-left for two seconds. C. Look down and left for two seconds. Then return your head to front and center.
  6. Do the waist swing to the left again to get your reference point. The reference point will probably have moved further behind you. If so, know that you have created more flexibility in body, mind and spirit in just a few moves in just seconds of your time.
  7. Repeat the waist swing to the right to establish your new reference point.

You may want to do this exercise several times to loosen up the eyes and the body.  Each time it will probably create more flexibility and resilience to your body, mind and spirit. If you stand in the same place daily while you do the eye exercise series, my hunch is that the reference point will continue to change over time with greater ease.

This practice is attributed to Moshe Feldenkrais, an amazing Israeli healer of the 20th century. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1bjUmxkf5Q is a charming look at this man who is purported to heal people that other people failed to heal. Here is a “concise” early biography of Feldenkrais: https://www.feldenkraisguild.com/Files/download/moshe_bio.pdf  The Wikipedia biography includes more of his later years and his influence on body workers.

“Awareness Through Movement” a book by Moshe Feldenkrais is advertised as “easy-to-do health exercises to improve your posture, vision, imagination and personal awareness. That certainly sounds like Super-Aging!

A note on this practice:  Normally, I do it three times. I did it eight times with a retreat group one gloriously warm morning in the Norwegian mountains. We were curious how flexible we could become with several applications of the exercise. And sure enough, with every repetition we were astonished that we each became more flexible. After the eighth time, we agreed to stop because we were so “freaked out” by our flexibility. We teased that our waists might start spinning around if we continued. And we were not that curious!

If you don’t have an in-home masseuse please note that these head and eye movements often stop neck aches and shoulder aches quickly.

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