Movement Explorations


The majority of these movement explorations have accompanying videos which were done at home with my daughters operating the camera. Some were done specifically for my Oberlin class this spring when we went to remote teaching.  Their feedback was that the videos were helpful because it wasn’t always easy to see via Zoom.  If we were meeting in a live format, most of these explorations would be done during class sometime during the week. Most were recorded in one take in the spirit of live performance.


If you have any pain, please stop.


If you have questions, please email Kelly at,, or


Spinal Mobility

1. Remind yourself about the length of your spine by pointing to the top and bottom of the spine from the side.

2. Seated, Semi-Supine, Standing: Tuck and untuck your tailbone notice how this movement resonates in your spine. Does the head move as a result of this movement?  Is there any place that feels stuck?

3. Seated: Gently shift your weight by onto one side of your seat. How does your spine respond to this shift?~ Seated, Semi-Supine, Standing: Begin to turn your head to look around toward the side and maybe as far as over your shoulder.  How much of your spine responds?

Global Connections with the AO Joint


1. Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front.  Feet should be hip joint width apart.  Soles of the feet should be flat against the wall.  Some people will need to have some bend their knees.

2. Tuck your chin a little (which means moving from your AO joint) and move your head toward the wall in front of you.

3. Raise your arms towards the wall in front of you.

4. You should feel a "tug" all along your back and the backs of your legs.  This is your Superficial Back Line (from Thomas Myers' Anatomy Trains) and the movement of your head affects the entire line.



Head/Neck Self-Release Techniques 


1. Muscles groups:  Suboccipital muscles - between base of skull and top two vertebrae and Sternocleidomastoid (SCM ) - one on each side;  running from skull behind your ear (the mastoid process) to your collarbone and sternum in front.

2. Trigger point Release: Find a sore spot and put direct pressure into it.  Hold for 30 seconds or until you start to feel a release under your fingers.  Pain should not be higher than a 6 on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst thing ever.)

3. Cross fiber friction - find a sore spot and rub back forth across the tissue.  You'll be rubbing at a right angle to the direction of the muscle fibers.



Stretching of Neck Muscles


Hand on top: 

Version 1 - Right hand grabbing bottom of chair.  Head looking straight ahead.  With left hand on top of head, gently stretch to the left, thinking that your right ear is trying to point toward the ceiling.  Hold for 20 seconds.  Do not hold your breath.  Slowly release back to neutral.  Repeat on other side.


Version 2 - Same exercise, but your head turns.  Chin should move 45 degrees towards the side that you're pullling.  So if right hand is grabbing the chair.  Chin would turn 45 degrees to the left before pulling gently towards left.  Repeat on other side.  Do 3 repetitions of the whole pattern.


Version 3 - Same exercise, but head turns the oppositie direction. Chin should move 45 degrees away from the side that you’re pulling.  Repeat on other side.  Do 3 repetitions of the whole pattern.



Rainbow Neck  


Start with chin towards right shoulder.  Eyes are going to lead head slowly in a rainbow shape.  Eyes lead up to the ceiling, head follows.  Continue to chin ends up towards left shoulder.  Reverse the direction on repeat the process.  Do 3 repetitions to each side.

Chicken Neck and Double Chin 

( - second half of this video)

Push head out forward as far as it will go.  Slowly pull back as far as it will go.  Repeat 3 times in each direction.

Reverse Arm Circles


1. Stand with the best balance that you can find. Feet should be hip joint width apart.

2. Both arms should be down at your sides.

3. Bring right arm forward and up until it's parallel to the floor while simultaneously bringing left arm back until it is parallel to the floor.  Notice that your torso twists to the left, the same side as the arm that is behind you.

4. Continue circling - your right arm moves forward and your left arm moves backward until both arms are straight overhead.  Your torso should be facing forward.

5. Continue circling - your right arm moves behind you until it is parallel to the floor and left arm moves forward until it is parallel to the floor.  Your torso will slightly rotate to the right.

6. Continue until both arms are straight down, which is the same position in which you started.

7. Repeat several times, making fluid circles.

8. Switch arms and repeat the entire process. Left arm will be circling forward and right arm will be circling backwards.



Shrug Circles


1. Slowly shrug arm structure all the way up, all the way back, all the way down, all the way forward.

2. Do not let ribs thrust forward!

3. Do 4 cycles in each direction (up, back, down, front & up, front, down, & back)



Rotation possibilities in the arm structure


1. Stand with best balance that you can find in the moment.  Arms are extended out to the sides with palms up towards the ceiling.  Elbow must remain in extension - no bending allowed.

2. Move from palm up (supination) to palm down (pronation).  This is forearm rotation that happens at the elbow.

3. Turn palms to face backwards.  This is internal rotation at GLEN.

4. Turn palms to face the ceiling.  This is rotation at the SC joint.  Try not to hike your entire arm structure up when doing this.  Ribs stay down, head stays in neutral position.

5. Unwind this rotation - palms facing back, down and then end up.





1. Start supine (on back) and cross right knee over body to floor and keep the knee on the floor for the whole time.

2. Take left arm up overhead, thumb should be pointing up and palm should be facing same direction as the knee on the floor. 

3. Move arm like a clock (12 is straight up -- going backwards to 9:00).  Continue to circle down to 6:00.

4. When arm crosses hip joint, rotate at GLEN so that palm is facing outside.  Continue to circle up to 12:00.  The crunchiest area will probably be between 3:00 and 12:00 for most people.

5. Do several circles and the repeat with other arm.

6. As you recover more range of motion in GLEN, you'll be able to keep thumb closer to the floor.



Arm to Hip #1


1. Start in a modified form of quadruped. Forearms should be flat on the ground, palms down, with elbows directly underneath glenohumeral joint and knees directly underneath your hip joints.

2. Pick up your left hand and cross it over to your right side, place it down on the floor in front of AND to the outside of your right hand.

3. Turn your head to the left, so you’re facing into your left arm pit.

4. Shift your body weight towards your left side to feel the connection from your hand,through your arm structure and into your hip.

5. Repeat on the other side.



Arm to Hip #2


1. Organize yourself in quadruped position.

2. Place your elbows and forearms on the ground so that your elbows are directly beneath GLEN.  Palms down towards the floor.

3. Gently back your hip joints up toward your feet until you feel a stretch through the arms. Go only as far as you can without distorting your spine (no arching, etc.).

4. Breathe.

5. Repeat with your palms facing up, forearms on the ground.



Fingers and Hands 1


1. Flat hand - squeeze fingers together (adduct) and spread apart (abduct).  


2. Make shapes - fingers 4 & 5 together and 2 & 3 together.  Then try fingers 3 & 4 together with 2 & 5 separated

Fingers and Hands 2


Stretching the flexors

1. Start with palm up and neutral hand to forearm relationship.

2. Gently trying to uncurl the pinky finger towards the  floor; hold for a few breaths.

3. Repeat with ring, middle and index fingers.

4. Repeat with other hand.



Stretching the extensors

1. Start with palm down and neutral hand to forearm relationship.

2. Gently pull the pinky fingerdown towards the  floor; hold for a few breaths.

3. Repeat with ring, middle and index fingers.

4. Repeat with other hand.



Thumb circles

1. Grasp right hand thumb using the left hand.

2. Make slow and gentle circles.

3. Reverse the direction of the circle.

4. Repeat with other hand.

Forearm Nervy Stuff (TW)

1. Finger flexor stretch:  Start with elbow bent, looking at your palm. With other hand, pull fingers down towards the floor.  Keep that position and unbend your elbow.  Keep repeating until you feel same tension in your forearm in both the starting and ending positions.

2. Median nerve flossing - Start by leaning head towards the side you want to floss.  Bring arm out to the side and behind you.  Point fingers back, while keeping your head leaning to that side.  Bend elbow and wrist.  Then lean you head to the other side.  Repeat.


Dr. Ackermann's Cool Finger and Thumb thing that needs a cool name

Finger rocking --- thumb to middle finger.  Can you stabilize thumb (from the palm side) and wiggle finger back a forth?  Repeat with all the other fingers.  We're teaching the thumb to be stable and the finger to move relative to that stable base.


Self Care for Forearms and Upper Arms

ways to help offset too much computer use

1. Extensors: Take one of the balls from the toy bag.  Place ball on extensors (the outside by your elbow).  Then lean gently into the wall - ball is between your body and the wall.  Hunting for a sore spot.  If you find one, you can do direct pressure into it or move perpendicular to muscles fibers.  In this case, that's up and down.

2. Flexors:  Same as above, but flexors are the inside of your elbow.  This muscle group is bigger than the extensors.  You'll have to put your arm behind you - bend your elbow, palm towards the wall, hand by your opposite side low back.  See video --- this sounds weird with the description.

3. Triceps:  put two balls into an old sock.  Place between the back of your upper arm and the wall.



Releasing Sore Spots in Upper Back

1. Start on floor in constructive rest position.

2. Use one of the balls from your bag (Pink, tennis, or lacrosse) and slide it between your back on the floor, centered on a sore spot.

3. Try to keep your pelvis and head on the ground and allow your muscles to soften around and over the ball. Pain should be no more than 5 on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst pain ever.  Option 1 is direct pressure into the spot.  Option 2 is to roll back and forth under the spot.

4. Keep breathing.  When you've accomplished some release and the pain/discomfort has decreased, hunt around for a new spot nearby.

5. Can also be done standing - use the ball between your back and a wall. Use the sock.



Neutral Pelvis on the Floor


1. Get on the floor - face down (prone).

2. Direct awareness to pubic symphysis (where pelvic bones meet in the front) and the two ASIS points (front, bony projections of pelvis on top).  In a neutral pelvis, they should be on same plane. When you're on the floor, weight should be distributed between the three points of the triangle equally.

3. Go into butt tuck (posterior tilt) - you should feel the pubic symphysis (bottom point of the triangle) pressing into the floor and the 2 ASIS points should lift away from the floor. 

4. Slowly bring your pelvis back to neutral.

5. Go into duck butt (anterior tilt) - you should feel the pubic symphysis (bottom point of the triangle) lift up away from the floor and the 2 ASIS will press down into the floor.

6. Return to neutral pelvis.  Cycle back and forth between the extremes until the movement pattern is clear.

7. Can you find the same movements when you're standing?



Teacup (coffee cup) for neutral pelvis 

( -at the end of this video)

1. Lie on the floor with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Knees and feet – hip joint width apart. Place the meaty part of your thumbs on the two ASIS points (the bony points on the left and right of the top of your pelvis, found slightly below your belly button to the left & right.)

2. Connect the thumbs in a straight line between the two ASIS points.

3. Next connect the tip of each pointer finger on the pubis symphysis. This is where the two pelvic bones meet in the front.

4. Your fingers outline a diamond, imagine a teacup sitting on the surface of this diamond.

5. Tip your pelvis forward and back. You are probably noticing that your spine and head move in response to this pelvic movement. Gradually make the forward and back movement smaller and smaller until you come to a rest with the diamond parallel with the floor, so that the teacup will not spill. Celebrate, you have found your neutral pelvis! 


Washer on a String for Stacking Pelvis over Ankle Joints (

1. Place the string end on the greater trochanter (boniest part of your lateral thigh).

2. Make sure the washer isn’t hitting the ground - it should hang straight down to floor due to gravity.  It should not be swinging back and forth like a pendulum.

3. If your pelvis is back far enough, the washer should be even with your lateral malleolus (outside bump).  If the washer is 2-3 inches (or more) too far forward towards your toes, then you need to back your pelvis up.

4. Have to look in a mirror or have somebody observe from the side.



Knee Cap Release


1. Sitting down with legs out in front.  Knee should be extended, no bending (flexion).

2. Palpate a patella on side - move up and down, side to side, and also on diagonal. Repeat on other side.

3. Contract quads (muscles on the front of the thigh) and your patellas should move towards your pelvis (up).  When you release the muscular effort, the patellas move back down to their starting position.

4. If you are balanced well through hip joints pelvis, knee, ankle joints, and feet, you should be able to raise and lower your knee caps when you’re standing.

5. Balance yourself as best as you can -- check AO joint, walk a few steps backwards to help organize lumbar spine, check that pelvis is stacked over ankle and in a neutral position.

6. Start wrong on purpose --- weight all the way back in heels.

7. Gradually (very slowly) shift weight forward, looking for a place where femur (thigh bone) is securely balanced over tibia (lower leg bone).  Muscles should be able to let go on front AND back of thighs/butt.

8. You should be able to raise and lower knee caps.  If you can’t, your knees are bent too much and/or you’re already in the “up” position because you’re already tightening muscles on the front of the thigh.



Rolling out the Feet


1. Place a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or Yoga Tune Up ball under the ball of your left foot.  Toes stay down, not pointing up toward the ceiling and the heel needs to stay down on the floor.

2. Find a sore spot and stay there.  Let your skin and muscles welcome the ball.  Your foot should feel like melted chocolate draping over a strawberry.

3. Work all over the sole of the foot ... toes, ball of foot, inner arch and outer arch.

4.  Goal is to find a sore spot and stay there until there is release, NOT randomly rolling around.

5. Repeat with other foot.