Use Your Head!
In the Tai Chi classics it states:
Suspend the headtop – like a rope is attached to the crown of the head and pulling upwards.
This is consistently taught in Tai Chi classes but the teaching is rarely understood. This idea has to be active – in other words applied all of the time, not just periodically applied.
When I’m teaching I constantly find myself saying, “head, head……. head….. head…. you’ve dropped your head, you’re sticking your chin out, now you’re tucking it in, don’t drop the head to look down, don’t lean the head to the side to transfer from leg to leg…”
The head weighs around 5kg (about 10lbs) and doubles in weight for every inch it drops out of alignment of the spine and atlas at the top of the spine, I often get students to hold a 5kg medicine ball out from the body to get an idea of how much the misalignment affects the body and how it can make them so clumsy.
Suspending the headtop is a part of peng the opening and activation of the joints and myofascia of the body and lengthens and opens the spine upwards. Combined with opening the hips and releasing the tailbone downwards it’s an essential skill for internal connection, mobility and the issuing of power from the spine and core.
Most importantly it lightens the body and makes all movement light and graceful. It improves the blood and neural flow to the brain, the alignment also gives kinesthesia, the spatial understanding of where the body is in space.
I wrote this poem about the important connection of the head and the arches of the feet ‘Putting The Egg In The Eggcup’ This awareness and sensitivity gives the correct weighting and rooting into the feet and improves the transmission of power to the hands and feet.
In conclusion… This is the important part that so many people miss:
Suspending the headtop is active! Not just all the time you’re training but ALL OF THE TIME YOU’RE AWAKE! It has to become a part of your mindfulness training, something you eventually do all the time so it becomes a natural part of you. When you stand, sit, walk, run and lay down – always suspend. It will improve your posture, your breathing, your spatial awareness, your blood flow, your neural feedback, it will nourish your brain, make you more alert and it will lighten your movements, make you more graceful and improve your life generally.
How can you not do it?