I love owls but accept the fact I wasn’t made to move like one

Posted on Feb 12, 2017 in Linda Natanagara's Blog

There are a lot of opinions and fads about  how to move correctly. Sometimes, these ideas are divorced from healthy natural movement. In an effort to help you live more knowledgeably, comfortably and sanely in your body, from time to time, I’ll be offering suggestions for movement that may be different from how you might usually do them. The crazy thing is, these suggestions which may seem counterintuitive at first, will likely lead you to moving more easily and efficiently.

My first recommendation concerns the puzzlement of why our culture seems to value the idea that our head should be able to turn on our neck like an owl’s.  For some reason, students often want to know why their necks hurt and then show me their range of motion. They pin their shoulders in place, making them immovable, and then proceed to crane their heads as far as they can in either direction. Probably something they’ve been told, and are doing their level best to follow instructions and feel better.

Here’s the straight up . . .the delicate vertebrae of our necks, and the complex musculature and ligamentous support are not designed for extreme movement. They supply the fine tuning to your movement – the last little bit, after your shoulders, spine and pelvis have done most of the turning. If we immobilize everything below our necks and then twist the heck out of our 7 cervical vertebrae, our nervous system senses danger. Our brains will reflexively shorten the muscles to stabilize and protect our necks.

And what does this lead to? That’s right . . . even less movement and a whole lot of discomfort.

In the near future, I will be posting an audio mini Feldenkrais lesson so that you can experience how moving (in this case, turning) with more of yourself will make your life easier. And that’s just a start . . .