Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Does It Mean To Free The Neck?

Luke Ford writes: A foundation of Alexander Technique is freeing the neck of unnecessary tension.

There are more joints in the neck than anywhere in the body. A joint means a bone connected to a bone. With all the joints in the neck, it means that if the neck is tight, the body will inevitably be tight.

So what does a free neck mean?

To me, it means that I could come up to you and effortlessly move your head from side to side or up and down.

That’s a free neck. It’s not held or tight. It’s not stuck in some posture.

Some people new to Alexander Technique tell me that when they try to follow the fundamental instructions of “free your neck and think your head forward and up”, they get a sore neck.

That’s because they’re using muscular effort to keep their neck in a certain posture. That’s not Alexander Technique. You simply wish to direct your head forward and up. You’re not supposed to use any muscular effort to do so. It’s an upward orientation, not a physical effort. There’s no reason for your neck to get tired or sore when you follow Alexander directions.

The Bible often condemns the Israelites as a stiff-necked people. A stiff neck is a bad thing from God’s perspective. He wants you to free your neck because everything else in you will free up too.

I don’t use the word “relaxed” because most people interpret that word as an invitation to collapse. I don’t want your head to collapse on to your spine and your torso. I don’t want the neck to shorten and for the head to tip back against the spine. I want a free and easy neck while you wish for your head to release forward and up (the opposite of most people’s habit to tip their head back and down).

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