Faculty 8 Anatomical Assessment
The Neck & Jaw
"Lengthen the neck, soften the jaw"
When we cultivate a living meditation our jaw softens, our neck lengthens and our true voice of expression emerges … (f8)
Faculty 8 begins at the nape of the neck, moving up through the throat, into the teeth, mouth and hinges of the jaw. The equable expanse narrows (space between the shoulder blades) to crystallize a passageway to the highest chamber. The Artist travels this winding corridor to deliver messages between the heart and mind. Armed with inspiration, unfurling creative expression on the rise - giving voice to the primordial sounds of the soul.
Our neck and jaw hold great mystery. Teeth grinding, jaw clenching, lip biting, mouth watering and even drooling are only a few examples of being up to our ear’s in unconscious sensations. Stifling our voice, tightening our throat, chewing on a problem, sticking our neck out, stroking the chin and holding back words -- name a only a few jaw- dropping stories full of subconscious emotions.
Our neck plays a pivotal but precarious role in our postural dialectic. The head is a heavy object (subject) for the neck to hold up. Similar to hanging a bowling ball off the end of a thin branch, forward head syndrome poses serious challenges for the welfare of the neck. The atlanto-axial joint (C1 & C2) connects the skull and spine completing a fundamental chain of communication between the head and tail (as above as below). When the head lurches forward the neck must follow – putting a serious strain on the overall relationship.
Energy flows in two (or more) directions at the junction between the spine and skull. The vertebral foramina are the largest in the neck to allow for the enlargement of the uppermost portion of the spinal cord. Atlas (C1) is the topmost vertebra and connects the skull and spine. Vulnerable by design, it is just a ring of bone secured by the dens, a conical tooth-like projection, extended up from the Axis vertebra (C2). Our whole head rests on this slender little peg.
The jaw functions as an equalizer for the neck and skull. In juxtaposition to the fragile (but hearty) atlanto-axial joints of the spine, imagine the strong mandibular border we call the jaw line. Flowering from the stem and taking up space perpendicularly, the Mandible is the only skull bone that moves (mastication, speech, expression). Its upper counter part, the maxilla, acts like a keystone into which the other facial bones fit.
To soften the jaw and lengthen the neck, requires steady doses of practical magic. Purposeful fidgeting takes on a more refined direction -- like a well honed Artist.. We must get quiet to see/feel the more subtle gyrations. As we understand the nature of sensations more clearly, we expand our repertoire of options. To nuance the pivot articulation between the spine and the skull we must cultivate a friendship between the heart and the mind. Both need equal time saying their peace.
Marker Points: C1 & C2, TMJ
Main Points: C3-C7, Dens, Mandible, Maxilla, Mastoid Process, Ramus of Jaw, Atlanto Axial Joint, Spinous Process, Transverse Process, Vertebral Body, Vertebral Prominens, Mandibular Notch, 32 Teeth, Hyoid Bone