Relaxing Your Neck and Jaw (39 min)

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.


The Feldenkrais Project's 50+ free lessons, including the one below, are a crowd-funded labor of love. We are proud to be ad-free and 100% funded by our listeners. Please donate to support our vision!

In addition to Nick’s 15+ hours per week, it takes about $25,000/year to pay for technology and part-time staff to maintain our website, add new lessons and features, connect with our users, and spread the word. Your support really matters.

Become a Patron for $21/month or less and access 70+ more lessons, all for about what you'd pay for a single in-person Feldenkrais class! Or become a Member for as little as $3/month. Learn more

Before you begin read this for practical tips and your responsibilities, and check out Comfort & Configuration below.

Recorded live in a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) class, this lesson is copyright Nick Strauss-Klein, for personal use only.

Tip 5 – Discomfort

Study tip: If a configuration or movement causes any increase in discomfort, or you feel you just don’t want to do it, don’t! Make it smaller and slower, adapt it, or rest and imagine.

Tip – what to wear

Study tip: Wear loose, comfortable clothes that are warm enough for quiet movement. Remove or avoid anything restrictive like belts or glasses.

Tip 2 – Social Sharing

Project tip: Try the social buttons below. Please help us to achieve our vision: spreading the life-changing benefits of Feldenkrais study as widely as possible!

Tip 4 – Padding

Study tip: Comfort first! Carpeted floors usually work well, but it’s great to have an extra mat or blanket nearby in case you need a softer surface in some configurations.

Tip – Complete the Movement

Study tip: Complete one movement before beginning the next. You’ll improve faster if there’s enough time between movements that you feel fully at rest.

Tip – LESSS is more

LESSS is more: Light, Easy, Small, Slow, & Smooth movements will ease pains and improve your underlying neuromuscular habits faster than any other kind of movement, no matter who you are or what your training is!

Tip 1 – Interrupted?

Study tip: Interrupted or don’t have enough time? You can return to the lesson later today or tomorrow. Read how best to continue your learning on our FAQ page.

Browser/device size and audio player

Tech tip: On mobile? Depending on screen size, the audio player appears differently. Try landscape mode or start playback then use your phone’s audio controls.

Tip 3 – Head Support

Study tip: It helps to have a large bath towel nearby when you start a lesson. You can fold it differently for comfortable head support in any configuration.

Tip – Rewinding

Study tip: Many instructions are repeated. If you get a little lost, rest and listen. You’ll often find your way. Or use the rewind button on the page or your mobile device.

Tip – Comments

Project tip: Leave a lesson comment below! It’s a great way to give feedback or ask a question, and it helps google find us so we can achieve The Feldenkrais Project’s vision!

Tip – Join!

Join the Project! If you already have, thank you for your support! Members and Patrons can access the full lesson notes in the tabs below: just login.

Tip – Directions are Relative

Study tip: Directions are always relative to your body. For example, if you’re lying on your back “up” is toward your head, and “forward” is toward the ceiling.

Tip – skip a lesson

Study tip: If you can’t find a comfortable way to do the initial movements or configuration of a lesson, it’s ok to skip it for now and go on to another lesson.

Tip – Pause the recording

Study tip: If you’re really enjoying a movement and want to explore longer, or you just need a break for a while, pause the recording!

Tip – What’s New

Study tip: If you’re really enjoying a movement and want to explore longer, or you just need a break for a while, pause the recording!

Tip – Lesson names

What’s in a lesson title? Lessons are about an hour unless a shorter duration is shown in the title. Thanks to our donors they’re freely offered unless marked “Patrons” – those are how we thank our Patron-level donors.

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.

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Members and Patrons. Learn more or login:

Tried It? Liked It?

If you like what you heard...

  1. Join the Project! You’ll support our free lessons while enjoying awesome donor benefits
  2. Sign up for our twice monthly newsletter for featured free lessons and new lessons
  3. Spread the word: Simply copy this page's web address to share this free lesson

Got a question for Nick, or a thought about this lesson?

Use the comments section below! Public comments build our community and help search engines find us.



  1. Joan Oliver Goldsmith on July 17, 2022 at 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.

  2. Tomaseen Foley on July 27, 2022 at 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.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on August 19, 2022 at 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!

      • Nick Strauss-Klein on August 29, 2022 at 11:14 am

        UPDATE: Done! (This lesson used to be called “Comforting Your Jaw and Neck”)

  3. Julie Hall on October 13, 2022 at 11:24 am

    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!

  4. John on October 16, 2022 at 4:24 pm

    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.

  5. Julie on October 19, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    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.

  6. Rebecca on December 16, 2022 at 4:09 pm

    I was wondering why I would feel a bit nauseated when it came to moving the tongue? I’ve had tmj for many years and I have a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders. I only did this lesson once and only got up to the tongue part (about 20 minutes in) but will the nausea go away eventually?
    Thank you so much for all these lessons. They’ve been very valuable to me especially over the course of the pandemic.

    • Nick Strauss-Klein on December 18, 2022 at 9:22 am

      Hard to say exactly, but nausea is a sign to stop – I’m glad you did. You can try again later if/when you like, but do the movements smaller, more slowly, more gently. Maybe with the sense that you’re only imagining them. Or if you notice the work on one side of your mouth is more comfortable than the other, stick with that for now. Just keep on making adjustments toward comfort and ease, and things will change and almost certainly improve.

Leave a Comment