Head Neck Alignment as the Basis for Spinal Elongation and Upright Structure

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Spinal Elongation breathing cannot lengthen the spine unless the head is held as if it is pushed back from the upper lip and lifted from its crown without strain. (Fig. 4.7) If the chin moves slightly forward and up, the neck collapses and the entire upper body will be collapsed and distorted. Then the spine will curve excessively and no type of deep, free breathing is possible. Even the wind pipe itself becomes constricted. This is the condition of most people's necks. For this reason, it is rare to find people in our culture who do not have chronic misalignment of the neck vertebrae.

Push back from the upper lip and lift the head as if from its crown.

Feel the head stretch up as if pulled by a string.

Feel the head stretch up as if pulled by a string.

Back And Neck Misalignment
Fig. 4.7 Proper alignment of the head and neck is the basis for effective spinal elongation and upright structure.

The feeling that the head is suspended from its crown and gently pushed back from the upper lip without strain should be applied at all times. It is the foundation for an erect upper body and free breathing. Appropriate alignment of the head and neck insures a healthy communication between the body and head. Thus, awareness spreads more fully to the whole body. In a higher meditation formula of the Universal Tao System called Lesser Enlightenment of the Kan and Li, one learns to observe oneself with the Inner Eye. In the body structure, conscious alignment of the head and neck without strain is the foundation for a greater awareness that results from self-observation and self-awareness. In the practice of Hatha Yoga, elongation of the back of the neck that results from head/neck alignment is called "the root of watchfulness," or "the root of mindfulness".

Even after balanced structural alignment becomes easy and natural, a very subtle intention to maintain head/neck alignment may be necessary. This slight lifting and moving back of the head is the single most important factor in erecting the entire body. The actual elongation and shifting back of the head is often only a very small change. Without it, however the chest, upper back and entire spine cannot come into alignment. This importance is due to the fact that the neck and head are the upper end of the column that we wish to lift. The importance of this one factor of neck and head alignment cannot be overstressed. Whole body integration is not possible without it.

It is useful to be familiar with the feeling of neck collapse that afflicts nearly everyone. After aligning the body, let the chin move forward and up, and thus out of alignment. Notice how the back of the neck shortens, the throat closes, the sternum sinks, the chest closes, the upper back arches excessively, the shoulders roll forward, breathing is restricted, and spinal elongation becomes impossible. Then practice a Spinal Elongation breath as the head is once again placed appropriately and feel the sense of full openness that accompanies it throughout the body.

Greater self-awareness, full uprightness of the trunk, and unstrained alignment of the head and neck are integrally related. The interplay of these three factors is particularly evident in Iron Shirt. The intention required to maintain head/neck alignment and the other aspects of fully aligned structure is an expression of the autonomous will of a self-aware being. Likewise, relaxed practice of fully aligning oneself develops this autonomous will in a beneficial way.

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  • Vilma
    How to maintain head and neck alignment?
    8 years ago

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