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Friday, June 27, 2014

Better Peripheral Vision Can Prevent Falling

Hi everyone! Here is a re-post of the short peripheral vision exercise from my recent newsletter (that focused on why Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lessons may improve brain function).

After an injury, surgery or when we are afraid of falling for any reason, people of all ages will begin leaning forward and bending their necks to watch what is in front of them on their path in an effort to avoid anything that might cause them to mis-step and fall. The irony is that the very way we attempt to protect ourselves from falling actually increases the likelihood that we will, by introducing instability into our posture and movement. Here is a solution to work with that will create more skeletal stability and empowerment in your walking.

Improve Peripheral Vision

Instead of looking down to avoid falling, we can practice directing our vision outward toward the horizon and consciously include/expand our peripheral vision to include a greater field. This prevents you from taking the head and neck forward, a movement that ironically predisposes the body to move into a falling position! Thus by bending the neck downward, you are more likely to be create the outcome you are trying to avoid.

This exercise will also assist in relaxing your neck and diminishing tension associated with eye strain or spending too much time in front of the computer. To sign up for my newsletter, come to classes and to find out more about learning to use the Feldenkrais Method to improve all your activities, please contact me directly through the contact form in the upper right hand corner of this web page.

Learn to expand your visual field (consciously using your eyes) while relaxing your neck:

1. Look straight ahead and notice your visual field and what you see comfortably.

2. Turn your head slowly from side to side a few times and notice the range and the quality of the movement.

3. Now allow your visual field to increase so that you have more peripheral vision. Notice that your visual field has expanded and you can see more with less effort.

4. Continue to keep this expanded visual field and turn your head slowly from side to side noticing how this changes the range and ease of the movement.

5. Consciously practice expanding the visual field whenever you feel tension in the neck and eyes.