The ‘head-neck-back’ is your unity of power and coordination. From the crown of your head down to your sitting bones this unity is designed to be balanced, free and strong, with full natural breathing. A good functioning head-neck-back gives you confidence, grounds you to the floor, and at the same time gives you uprightness and coordination.
The most important joint in your head-neck-back is the atlanto-occipital joint. This joint connects your skull to your spine at the first vertebra, called the atlas. The atlas is located on a line between your earlobes.
In reaction to the big amount of stimuli in our lives (traffic, phones, computers, to do lists, worries etc.) many light fear reflexes or stress reactions can be fired off during the day. These reactions are called the fight/flight/freeze reflex manifestations, or the startle response, and exist in all animals.The startle pattern causes us to stiffen our neck a little. Our eyes start to stare, our whole body’s musculature becomes more tense and we hold our breath.
During the day it is very helpful to have the tools to briefly release tension in this area of the neck, around this very important atlanto-occipital joint. As these moments of recuperation are spread throughout the day you will experience several small moments of calm and easier breathing. The Alexander Technique gives you the means to create these short moments of recovery for yourself.
A longer moment of recovery is achieved by lying down in active-rest, or semi-supine. After lying down for 15 min. on your back you will have released the unnecessary tension from your neck shoulders and back. This release from your neck will spread through to your back so it can lengthen and widen, which in turn will have a snowball effect upon your breathing ribs, and softer legs, shoulders and arms.
In the spine we have inter-vertebral discs between the vertebra. These discs suffer from the downward pressure that comes from collapsing, which we often do unconsciously during the day. During active-rest the inter-vertebral discs will be able to fill up with fluid and recover, since gravity is not pressing down on the spine whilst lying down.
Lying down in active rest reconnects you to the power of your head-neck-back unity and calms down the nervous system. It will clear your mind, your thinking will be more positive and helpful and you will feel more calm, connected and confident.
Every day you will have a moment to come back to zero, so that neurological and muscular tension, caused by the startle pattern, will not get the chance to build up too much, possibly causing more serious trouble in the future.
Lying down in active-rest is free, very effective and efficient. You can do it anywhere at any time. It is a very powerful preventative measure!
If you want to watch a video about active-rest click here.