WHERE IS YOUR HEAD?
Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Do you know where your head is? Knowing the answer to this question both literally and figuratively has a direct influence on your posture!
In the Alexander Technique, the relationship between your head and spine is key because where the head goes, the body goes! And because the head weighs between 10 and 12 lbs, if the head is not well-balanced at the top, the spine takes the unfortunate load which over time causes dysfunction and pain.
Your head balances here!
The balance point of the head is much higher up than you might think. If you point your fingers behind your two earlobes in line with the bottom of your nose, you’ll find the axis around which the head articulates with the spine. Imagine a line between your two fingers and allow your head to pivot around that line. When you move from this axis point, there’s an ease and freedom -- instead of dropping and collapsing the head from further down the neck like we tend to do when we check our cell phones.
A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science breaks down what happens to a body with forward head posture: The muscles and joints at the front of the neck become weak, while the muscles in the upper back and shoulders get really tight. The center of gravity of the head shifts forward which increases the load on your cervical spine -- for every inch of forward movement, there is an extra 10 pounds of weight placed on your neck. YIKES!
Our thinking patterns also affect the head-neck relationship. When I get too “in my head” about what I have to do or if I’m in a “self-criticism” mode, I notice that everything from the top of my shoulders up to my head goes into lock down; my neck tightens, my head pulls down on my spine, my jaw and teeth clench and my breathing gets shallow. This is when I apply my Alexander Technique skills to become aware of what I’m doing in the moment and weaken the habitual tension cycle.
Interested in learning how the Alexander Technique can help you “unlock” your postural stress zones? Try my AT Intro Series. AND click here to learn about my free Alexander Technique Active Rest audio guide.