Wonderful, unique, surprising, insightful movie. Almost important to watch. Enjoy
The neck is the most mobile part of the spinal column – it can twist and bend extensively. Therefore it is also sensitive and fragile and deserves caring attention. This article will focus on movement with the head centered – which is where it is most of the time (in life and in practice). It is comfortable to explore this range of movement by lying down on your back – where the floor provides a clear reference. Even though it maybe a small range of movement – you will find that there are numerous positions for the head even while it is resting on the floor:
The white line on the image illustrates changes in the length of the neck. When the head is rolled back the length of the neck gets shorter – the vertebrae in the neck are pushed together. When the head is pulled forward – the chin pulled in towards the chest – the neck lengthens and the vertebrae are stretched apart.
The latter position, with the chin pulled in towards the chest – is the position you want to maintain most of the time when practicing asana. It is a natural continuation of the stretching we usually work at in the back, it relieves pressure from the shoulders and upper back (which in turn provides more range of movement) and it improves the flow of blood to and from the head.
There is a natural tendency to compress the neck, especially when performing strenuous postures. There are mostly downsides to this:
- It doesn’t help – the neck is optimized for mobility not for load bearing (when compared to the rest of the spine which has a more rigid structure).
- It interferes – a compressed neck locks the shoulders, upper & mid-back areas – which may actually be useful to the posture you are practicing. By compressing the neck you are limiting their mobility.
- It wastes energy – the effort & energy you are expending in the neck comes at the expense of other muscles better suited for the job.
The general idea is to lengthen the neck. Try it first on the floor – so you don’t need to deal with the front and back movement. Then you may try it in standing and seated positions – without the floor as a guide & reference.
towards the end of the year-long hunch program, numerous sessions were dedicated to site-specific work. one of the sites we visited was dizengof center – a large and established shopping center in the heart of tel-aviv. i remember worrying about getting my photography equipment in – many places in israel give you a hard time because of an unhealthy mix of security and privacy paranoia. i was relieved when i went through smoothly by parking in the underground garage, instead of walking through one of the main entrances.
i wasn’t really happy about this location. i am not a big fan of shopping malls, especially big and busy ones like this one. we gathered on one of the top floors and i recall shahar inviting us to look out and down at the space. at first I saw the noise i expected to see, but then, rather quickly, i felt as if all of my senses were softening and coming slightly out of focus – and the noise became peaceful. the place became a single living & sensible organism – and i was inside it, no longer an outside observer. my body became soft & relaxed and my anxiety and opposition faded.
shahar spoke about a place having its own resonance and how we can relate to this resonance. we can resonate with the place and become a part of it and we can resonate in another frequency and stand out – we can appear and disappear at will. it sounds magical and it is. the group split into smaller groups of two or three people and went to explore and work in the space. i traveled the vast space – sometimes visiting shortly with a group and other times joining and working for a longer period of time with others. on numerous occasions i recall looking around and wondering how can people ignore some of the weird and crazy stuff that we were doing. people were walking past us as if we weren’t there. magic.
for me the main event took place around these stairs. ilay and yael were grazing the space and tamar was tagging along with them. i spotted ilay walking on these stairs from a distance and i ran to a vantage point on the opposite side just in time to meet this image.
then an amazing story began to unfold with tamar. i am not inclined yet to write about it – i still feel it is a very intimate story, more hers then mine. maybe i’ll ask her permission to write about it. this image of fear, yearning, craving, surrender and friendship is a beginning of that story – at the end of which tamar commanded the attention of people as far as two floors above us.
This is what the sky looks like right now!
This is what it looked like during the last storm
and this is my chest
OK… another Dave Mathews Band post… this is from the Central Park concert – one of the more neighbor-abusive concert DVD’s I have – I simply can’t listen to it in a decent volume. See how they carry on for 15+ minutes (in two parts) … and how it evolves – watch it to the end and see Dave Mathews explode on stage… trust me watch it Enjoy!