Reed in The Wind
by Vanamala Mayr-Reisch
How many times during the day do you try to relax your neck? Do you clench your teeth or struggle with a headache because the daily stress is grinding you down? Here is a simple but very effective exercise, which you can do anywhere and at any time.
This exercise is one of my favorites. It not only helps you to relax your face, jaw and neck, but it is also soothing, rejuvenating and resets your muscle tone.
At the end of this article, you will find the instructions for the exercise, in which we use tiny movements to achieve the most profound relaxation.
Subtle movements not only relax your body, but they bring awareness into the area you are working on. Often it is much harder to keep the movements small unless you are letting go and trust. It is allowing you to gain a more profound understanding of the way your body operates. Turning your attention inside, you will discover the different levels of tension in your muscles and the many holding patterns, which control your general movements. This awareness gives you the opportunity to relax and eliminate any discomfort.
An additional benefit of working with small movements is to improve your body proprioception, developing better movement skill or better understanding between the brain and the body. The subtle push and pull stimulates the deep-seated synapses and neurons. It teaches your body how to move economically with the least effort.
The Reed in The Wind exercises helps your muscles to unwind. It uses the body’s intelligence to know exactly how to open the points of tension, or you might call them “knots” until the filaments of the muscles align.
Make sure you breathe deeply in and out while doing the exercise. The breath is not only a great tool to open up the muscles, but it also transports vital oxygen to the tissue and eliminates toxins from the area.
Your upper neck, or your upper cervical spine, is well known for causing visual problems after injury, e.g. whiplash, concussions, head trauma or other neck injuries. It is very common to complain about headaches, TMJ or jaw pain and a wide variety of other problems, but one thing that often comes up is visual disturbances.
On the base of your skull, there is a group of muscles, where a lot of people hold tension (suboccipital muscles). This particular area of your spine has an extremely high density of mechanoreceptors. These are small nerve endings, which tell you where you are in space. It is so vital because the back of your neck and skull have to communicate very closely with the rest of your brain, to keep your eyes on the horizon and make some other functions possible.
To achieve maximum relaxation of these small upper neck muscles as well as your facial muscles it is crucial to keep the mouth slightly open during the exercise to relax the jaw. If you tighten your jaw, clench or grind your teeth, then these muscles cannot relax. That, on the other hand, influences your eyesight as I just explained.
You can already see that this simple, gentle pose has a wide-reaching effect on your body. And it is a pure pleasure to do it.
Reed in The Wind
- Place your feet on the ground
- Keep your knees hip-wide apart
- Sit upright
- Place your hands on your thighs
- Relax your jaw by opening your mouth slightly
- Close your eyes
- Start making miniature movements with your head in all directions.
Trust your intuition; your body knows in which direction to move (up, down, right, left, circular). The important thing is to keep the movement very, very small and your mouth relaxed.
Try it out and let me know what you find. What is your experience?