Just when you thought it was safe to end-gain

January 25, 2010

The jaw is an area where problematic muscle tension can be held, interfering with attempts to improve the way we’re using ourselves. For one thing, it’s a very strong part of the body. Witness the feats of circus acrobats or the fact that we can demolish some fairly hardy foodstuffs in a few seconds by flexing these muscles.
But they are quite closely linked to the muscles around the head/neck region, and therefore exert a pretty powerful influence on them. If we want to cultivate an easy, less-fixed head/neck relationship, then it’s important to ensure that we are not inadvertently tensing the jaws too much. It can be useful to think of releasing the muscles under the chin or those in the tongue, especially the root of the tongue. Directing the top row of teeth away from the bottom might also be helpful.
Jaw tension sometimes signifies an unacknowledged attitude of determination or “I must do this correctly”, all of which is obviously anathema to the kind of non-end-gaining, easy-going mindset that is key to working with the Alexander technique successfully. Let go of the jaws a bit and you’ll feel yourself better able to let go of this kind of unhelpful attitude. And you might find things going “up” another notch if you do.

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