Day 6 Alexander Technique & Singing Tip: How the Head & Neck are of primary importance.
Pick up an object that weighs somewhere around 10lbs. (A full water bottle, a small lamp, your laptop, a thick book, doesn’t matter). Hold it close to you. Notice how easy it is to hold it up. Now slowly extend your arms holding the object further and further away from you until your arms are fully extended. Pause here. How easy is it to hold up the object now? This is a little bit like the relationship of our heads (also around 10-12 lbs) to the rest of our bodies. During most of our day our heads are above the rest of our body (True for standing, walking, and sitting. Not true for lying down) That means gravity is pulling the weight of our heads down and into our neck and back and the rest of our body. By dynamically balancing that 10-12lbs with maximal ease at the top of our spine, closer to our center of gravity (when you held your household object close to you) “holding” our head up can feel effortless and easy, especially since, as Newton taught us, every force has an equal reactive force, and if we stay easy in our joints and neck, with our head balanced, we can feel support from that equal reactive force to gravity, what we call the ground reactive force. But here’s where habit kicks in: since what we see is always in front of us like friends, or phones, or computer screens, we tend to allow our heads to get drawn towards those things, our head moves forward from our center of gravity (we extend our arms with the household object). Then the 10-12lbs of our head can start to feel much heavier, and exert the force of 60lbs on our neck, back, and the rest of our body! As the force downwards of the head into the body builds, compression builds in the spine. We lose the balance of curves in our spine and we lose the buoyancy in our torso that allows us to move and breathe freely. In addition, it causes us to constrict other joints in our body including our arms and legs. As we lose ease in our joints, the ground reactive force is blocked from coming back up through the body from the ground, and we lose support from the ground reactive force and the ground. Ultimately this constricts our ability to allow the larynx to suspend freely in our throat and limits the freedom to sing with the abandon and expression we all wish for.