Back To Work

Hi Everyone, Greetings and Happy New Year.

I thought I would start the New Year off by sharing some helpful tips on getting to know and understand your body, some useful exercises and hints for staying aligned and out of pain.

Having spent so many years studying and working in the field of body awareness and then working with the limitations of personal illness, I have often been frustrated with not being able to share knowledge and insights. So I decided to send out a monthly newsletter with simple exercises and ideas to explore.

As many of you may know I am finally back to work and would appreciate referrals. So please forward this to anyone you think would enjoy this and/or be interested in my work.

As we all know getting older presents many more physical challenges. Since we are looking for ways to age gracefully I thought I would add to your list of helpful hints.

Having awareness of your posture and use of your body will help this process of aging gracefully..

The good news is the bodymind is often very responsive. I say bodymind because body and mind work well when you use them together. Learning to think with your whole body helps regenerate the whole being.

The most difficult part is making the time and finding the discipline to make change a reality.

There several techniques, ways of understanding our bodies available to us at this time. My favorite is the Alexander Technique.

The Egoscue method can also be useful It is a collection of exercises that help remind your muscles and skeletal system how to be in alignment. There are different sets of excises depending upon your trouble areas. My favorite Egoscue teacher is Leslie Mullier. Check out her web site for more information: These exercises are even more affective if you apply them with Alexander principals. Actually anything is easier and more effective with Alexander Technique.

So finding a form of movement that you enjoy and will commit to doing is a very important first step. Doing any activity with awareness, not just exercise, will help your posture and alignment. It will also reduce possibilities of injury and pain.

Let’s start with awareness of our head and neck. Place one finger on your nose and one on the occipital ridge of your skull.

Occipital Bone

Imagine your finger is a pencil and draw circles with it, so you are initiating the movement from your nose. Now do the same with the occipital. You can think of writing your name with your nose, or occipital. Say yes or no. Having the awareness of the back of your head and tip of your nose and moving from there could give you more ease, less tension in your jaw. Once you have a sense of initiating the movement from you nose or occipital you can drop your arms and just move from those two parts as you. As you experiment with this be aware of your whole body, making sure your shoulders are relaxed, you are standing equally on both feet, or if you are sitting you can sense a balance of weight on both sides of your pelvis. (DON”T CROSS YOUR LEGS) This movement should be small, subtle. AS you are doing this movement (saying yes or no with your head, or writing your name in space) notice the feeling inside your mouth. Relax your jaw, your neck, your teeth, as you do these gentle movements you may feel more room in your mouth, less tension in your neck. And more awareness of your tendency to tighten up when its not necessary. It may also give you a sense of dimension in your body. Remember this is an exploration you are gathering information that could help you relax. As you go about your day see if having this awareness and moving from there lets you feel and sense more ease through out your body.

This exercise can be done lying down, just make sure you have some height under your heard a book or folded towel. You want your head high enough that your ear is in line with your shoulders; have your knees up so you can feel the bottoms of your feet making contact with the floor.

When doing this exercise use very small movements.

This is a good exercise to do at the computer. Taking a break to move is essential to aiding the process of awareness and alignment. If you are using your computer longer than an hour it really is important to take a break and move. Remember that old saying ‘if your don’t move it you lose it’! You don’t want to lose your flexibility. And if you have lost your flexibility the good news is you can regain it.

©Elaine Belle

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