Q Tip # 14 Lift Head / Lower Shoulders

January 21, 2014 0 Comments
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.  ~Author Unknown

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,
but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
~Author Unknown

The first fundamental of Qigong / Tai Chi is to Adopt an Upright Posture.  There are three complementary components to this rule. Today’s Q Tip covers two of the three.

1.  Begin by lifting the head.  Many of us walk around looking at the ground.  Others, including me, tend to lead with our chins.  Chin forward position tends to compress the brain stem and impede blood flow to the brain, it also adds weight to the muscles.  According to Kapandji (Physiology of the Joints, Volume III) (1), for every inch your head moves forward, it gains 10 pounds in weight as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned.  That’s because they have to work harder to keep the head (chin) from dropping to your chest.   This also forces the chin muscles to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the associated nerves.   This nerve compression may cause headaches at the base of the skull.  Pressure on the nerves can also mimic sinus (frontal) headaches.

Your Qigong teacher may describe Lift Head as imagining a string of pearls coming from the ceiling, through your spine to the base, pulling the crown of your head up ever so slightly as your chin is naturally pulled in.

2.  Lower shoulders to sink your center of gravity.    For every action there is an opposite reaction.  I’ve lifted my head.  Now, when I lower my shoulders, I feel tension and stress melt away.  I also feel a lovely separation of my ears and head from my collar-bone and shoulders.

If I pay close attention, I can feel my center of gravity sink into my abdomen.  The origin of the phrase, “carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders”, most likely described the first time someone noticed that we carry our cares and worries in our necks and shoulders.  Tense your shoulders, raising them to your ears…then relax.  Let them drop.  A good indicator of success in shoulder release is your elbows.  When your elbows point to the floor, it is most likely that your shoulders are relaxed.   Feel the tension flow out through your chest, arms and fingers.  It’s good for you.

Next Fundamental:  Q Tip # 15:  Natural Posture.   Namaste, – b

Citing:

(1) http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/Forward_Head_Posture.shtml

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