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Relaxing Your Neck and Jaw (39 min)


Recorded live in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class, the lesson below is copyright Nick Strauss-Klein, for personal use only. All our audio lessons are ad-free and 100% donor-supported.

Before you begin read this  for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below. Click the other lesson note tabs if you’re curious.

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Back-lying, often knees bent. Relax with simple Awareness Through Movement techniques designed to reduce stress and pain and improve function. You'll also discover pleasant connections of the jaw and neck with your breath, tongue, lumbar spine, and pelvis. Often very helpful for TMJ problems.

If you’d like something supporting your head make sure it’s level, smooth, and minimal: maybe a few folds of a towel, but no more than you need for comfort. Your head should be free to shift, nod, and roll small amounts effortlessly. Don’t use a sticky surface like a yoga mat: it will pull your hair.

It’s said at the beginning but worth repeating: these movements are tiny! L.E.S.S.S. is more: Light, Easy, Soft, Slow, Smooth movements — with a nice pause in-between each — will create the most pleasant and lasting change for you.

Feel free to pause the recording to enjoy longer rests or explore a few more movements.

All movements are gradual, both into and out of the movement. Don’t let go of a “nod” or jaw movement quickly. Instead gradually relax back to your home resting position, then rest a moment between movements.

Even if your movements are “bumpy” at first they will get smoother over time if you continue to breathe easily and sustain the gentle intention of gradual movements.

Let your head roll freely when you explore little sideways movements of your jaw, tongue, and eyes late in the lesson.

For our Patron-level donors: you have access to a short and interesting after-lesson discussion with the students who were present when this lesson was recorded. Patrons click here.

This audio recording is found in Getting Oriented, our introductory collection of Feldenkrais basics for newcomers (and longtimers looking for a “tune-up”).

It was designed as an introduction to one of our most popular lessons ever. You can find this lesson and that lesson as #1 and #2 in our Jaw, Neck, and Shoulders Deep Dive.

Cross-references to other related lessons in our freely offered and Patrons-only collections are a “thank you” benefit for Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view related lesson titles, links, and discussion.

Nick’s discussion of his lesson sources are a “thank you” benefit for Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view them.


Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to download this lesson’s MP3 file.

Comfort & Configuration

If you’d like something supporting your head make sure it’s level, smooth, and minimal: maybe a few folds of a towel, but no more than you need for comfort. Your head should be free to shift, nod, and roll small amounts effortlessly. Don’t use a sticky surface like a yoga mat: it will pull your hair.

It’s said at the beginning but worth repeating: these movements are tiny! L.E.S.S.S. is more: Light, Easy, Soft, Slow, Smooth movements — with a nice pause in-between each — will create the most pleasant and lasting change for you.

Feel free to pause the recording to enjoy longer rests or explore a few more movements.

Clarifications

All movements are gradual, both into and out of the movement. Don’t let go of a “nod” or jaw movement quickly. Instead gradually relax back to your home resting position, then rest a moment between movements.

Even if your movements are “bumpy” at first they will get smoother over time if you continue to breathe easily and sustain the gentle intention of gradual movements.

Let your head roll freely when you explore little sideways movements of your jaw, tongue, and eyes late in the lesson.

Curiosities

For our Patron-level donors: you have access to a short and interesting after-lesson discussion with the students who were present when this lesson was recorded. Patrons click here.

Context

This audio recording is found in Getting Oriented, our introductory collection of Feldenkrais basics for newcomers (and longtimers looking for a “tune-up”).

It was designed as an introduction to one of our most popular lessons ever. You can find this lesson and that lesson as #1 and #2 in our Jaw, Neck, and Shoulders Deep Dive.

Related Lessons
Cross-references to other related lessons in our freely offered and Patrons-only collections are a “thank you” benefit for Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view related lesson titles, links, and discussion.

Source

Nick’s discussion of his lesson sources are a “thank you” benefit for Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to view them.

Download

Members and Patrons only. Please login or join the Project to download this lesson’s MP3 file.

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7 Comments. Leave new

  • Joan Oliver Goldsmith
    July 17, 2022 12:41 pm

    I really like the work that includes the tongue in this practice. I noticed that not only the neck but the throat was more relaxed. A good one for singers.

    Reply
  • Tomaseen Foley
    July 27, 2022 12:09 pm

    Having done this for three successive days I feel that my head is significantly more erect – and I feel taller. May be the most relaxing lesson I’ve done.

    Reply
    • Nick Strauss-Klein
      August 19, 2022 1:42 pm

      Fabulous. I had been considering renaming this “Relaxing Your Jaw and Neck” as I assemble lessons for our upcoming jaw/neck/shoulders Deep Dive. I think you just sealed the deal on that!

      Reply
  • The right side of my neck has been feeling tight (for years). I definitely felt that my bones had released somehow after this. Also, I appreciated how calmly soothing this exercise was… as life can be too stressful, so thanks Nick! I am only starting on this Feldenkrais journey, but when I dedicate some time, I am reaping the benefits. Amazing how so little can do so much!

    Reply
  • Thank you Nick for this, your lessons have really been life changing for me.
    Somehow the biggest lasting change from this lesson is in my low back and pelvis, easing a persistent tension. Also found the effect on my breathing depending on the tongue position was really profound which is something I can focus on to ease tension in my day.

    Reply
  • I chronically clench the right side of my jaw and, boy, was that obvious as I did this lesson! This showed me that I clearly need to be gentler and smaller with my strategies. I have more work to do, but I definitely felt moments of relaxation in my face, mouth and jaw that I haven’t felt for a long time.

    Reply

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