Touch your chin to your chest, throat choked

dg‘Throat choked, eyes open, breathing normal.’

You will hear this cue many, many times over the course of your practice at BYCF.

Your teachers are describing a physical and energetic action known as ‘Jalandhara Bandha’.

Jalandhara: net, support

Bandha: lock, seal, shut, redirect

‘Like a fisherman would use to hold one end of his net beneath his chin, while casting out the rest of it.’ David Garrigues

SCM

Actions:

  • Drop the shoulders.
  • Inflate the chest.
  • Lift the sternum to meet the chin.
  • Press down the chin into the hollow between the collar bones.
  • Draw back the chin into that notch, creating a seal.
  • Contract the front neck muscles (the SCM and the anterior scalenes)
  • Flex (forward bend) the neck spine.

Effects:

Jalandhara Bandha redirects the expansive upward flow of your inhale, containing it in your torso, so that the chest awakens and expands fully.

‘Given its close proximity to the brain, the chin lock partly serves to activate the concentrative, inward-turning capacity of the mind. By lowering the forehead, eyes, nose, jaw and chin, you are creating an inward-turning gesture, a bowing down, an invitation to the brain to give up its nonessential incessant activity and instead become observant and receptive.’ -David Garrigues

Why you should care:

neckmuscles‘The neck is our basic primitive plan. This is the body plan for the rest of the body. Our embryological development proceeds in both directions from the neck. The head develops from the neck, and the rest of the body develops down from that. The longitudinal connections that go through the neck go THROUGH the body. When you are working on the neck, you are working on the BODY.’ -Thomas Myers

‘The throat is the center of personal power. Patterns of tension at the vertebrae are typically indications of blocked energy and an inability to integrate experiences and expression.’ -Bruce Berger

The neck and throat filter everything that we ingest: air, water, food. The throat produces clear speech, supporting discernment and wisdom in our interactions with others.

Your neck is the most vulnerable part of your spine, for three main reasons:

  1. The neck spine provides a greater range of motion that other regions of the spine. More mobility means less stability.
  2. The neck vertebrae and discs are smallest and therefore the most delicate.
  3. Your neck is at the top of your movement chain, so it compensates for any dysfunction lower in your body. (Most of us have lots of imbalance, weakness and dysfunction. Welcome to the human family, as Chris Fluck would say!)

Consistent yoga practice gives you increased awareness–and refined control–of the position of your head and neck as you move through your daily life. 

Many of us need this heightened awareness quite urgently. Our modern lifestyle (driving, sitting, texting, typing) creates a chronic head-forward pattern, which sets us up for neck issues.

chakra-system1Come to class and heal your neck.

Leave with a longer, lighter, healthier spine. As you go through your daily life, you may find it useful to imagine the head floating up and back on top of the body. Picture a helium bubble in the top of your head.

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