(Please note: In order to get the running joke as well as the most practical benefit from this blog, read 'One Direction Pt.1--Your Neck Is Free')
Harry. That smile. That hair. That charm. That style.
He's not officially the lead singer of One Direction. But lets be real--he's the face of the band. He's the one who is on all of the posters on fan's walls worldwide. Not mine. I'm just saying. People who are really (cough) into the band.
He is also known for always holding a little bit of an air of mystery around him. Perhaps this is part of his appeal.
All of these things can also be said about the second direction in our series: "allow the head to free forward and up". Though it's part of a sequence, it sometimes seems like the "One Thing" that really matters in the process. Its effect tends to be the most dramatically visible. It can provide an intense and profound sensation for someone experiencing it. And it can be misleading and mysterious.
When we give ourselves the direction "forward and up", what are we actually asking of ourselves? Well, let's first talk about what we are not doing. We are not pushing our head forward off the front of our spine, or straining to thrust it up into the air. Both of these things lead to increased tension in our system and compression, the opposite of what we are trying to achieve. In fact, they might even "Drag Me Down".
Rather, we are trying to cue into a very delicate relationship in our postural mechanism. It has to do with the Atlas, the very top vertebrae of our spine, and the one that relates to the skull. To find this joint, stick your fingers in your ears and give yourself a tiny nod. You can actually feel the motion of the skull perched on top of the spine. It can only move about thirty degrees, but many of us are unconsciously pitching the joint back, subtly dropping our skull (which weighs an average of 12 pounds) back and down off the top of our spines. When we release this joint, the head falls forward and rotates up in relationship to the spine (for a further anatomical breakdown, visit the Dimon Institute's excellent series on 'The Anatomy of Directing'). This removes the undue burden on the neck and subtly stretches it , allow it to lengthen, sometimes quite dramatically, Often a profound feeling of ease and lightness comes into the system as a result. And it's more than just a "Temporary Fix"--it can be actively used to help you to lighten up in any situation.
So, to build off our last blog and try this out--
Start by giving yourself the first direction in our series: 'My Neck is Free'. Without this, the head will not be able to release at the Atlas. After feeding yourself this initial direction as described in the previous blog, bring your fingers to your ears and give yourself a tiny nod, an invitation to allow the skull to release on top of the spine. Accompany this by projecting a second mental message; "My Head is Free to Rotate Forward and Up". As with the other direction, be careful of trying to feel it or make it happen by doing it--let it be a simple thought and trust that it is enough. Also be careful of allowing the neck to collapse at the front--it is common to mistakenly release lower down in the neck than the Atlas. You might find your eye line falls a bit as the head rotates and you feel a slight, gentle stretch on the back of your neck--this is natural. Pause for a few seconds...give yourself the two directions again, in sequence, with a brief pause between each. Repeat several times. Now try moving around. Does your body feel lighter? Is movement easier, more fluid? Is your mind clearer, perhaps your vision even a little sharper?
This series will drop a new album again in a few weeks after a brief hiatus to pursue solo projects. Until neck time, Keep Thinking Up!
Thoughts on what is going on in the work and the world right now. Many posts to come.