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Is Someone Pulling on your Ponytail?

3 min read

Go for a walk around your room. Walk the way you normally do.

Now tighten your neck and pull the weight of your head down toward your spine. Don’t worry about doing it correctly. Just do it. While you maintain that downward pull go for your walk again and see what you experience.

How does your body feel? How about your breathing?

Tighten your neck again and pull your head down toward your spine. Maintain this while you go for walk but halfway through the walk stop pulling your head down. You don’t have to pull your head up or push your head up away from your spine, just stop pulling your head down.

I am going to repeat that because it is important: You don’t have to pull your head up or push your head up away from your spine just stop tightening the neck and pulling your head down toward your spine. Your head will release up and away from the spine if you simply stop pulling it down. You do not have to do anything extra. See what you experience.

How does your body feel? How about your breathing?

I had you do this experiment so you could experience what it is like to compress the weight of your head down onto your spine. Most of us do this to some extent all of the time. However, because it is habitual we do not notice it. By exaggerating you get a feel for what it is like and how it affects your body underneath and your breathing.

One place in everyday life that is relatively easy to start observing a habit of compressing the head down onto the spine is to notice what you do when you stand up.

Sit down. Now stand up. Sit down again. This time place the palm of one of your hands very gently on the back of your neck. Don’t push the neck forward with your hand, but just have gentle contact. Stand up again and notice what happens with your head-spine relationship.

Did your head rotate backwards and downwards compressing your hand on the back of your neck?

If it did try standing up again without pulling the head backwards and downwards onto the back of your neck and hand. You might let your gaze drop a bit as you go to stand up, instead of looking straight ahead.

Remember that the joint between your skull and spine allows for a simple nodding motion. As you go to stand up from sitting you can let it very gently nod forward from between the ears.

 

Going to stand up by compressing the weight of the head backwards and downwards onto the back of the neck. Ouch!
Going to stand up by compressing the weight of the head backwards and downwards onto the back of the neck. Ouch!

 

Standing up by letting the head gently nod forward at the top of the spine.
Standing up by letting the head gently nod forward at the top of the spine.

When you compress the head back and down onto the back of the neck when standing it is as if  you had a ponytail and someone were pulling on it. You don’t want to let people pull on your ponytail.

Observe what you and others do to the head-spine relationship when you stand up from sitting.

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