Study the first two vertebrae of the spine: Atlas(C1) and Axis(C2). The Atlas is wide and strong and gladly supports your head, just as the Greek god, Atlas, supported the world. The Axis is so named because it is here the head moves. Gently move your head left to right; that’s the Axis at work. With these light and lovely movements, you can begin to acquaint yourself with this primary place of balance in the body.
The head-meeting-spine location is between your ears and behind your nose. You can also find it by running the tip of your tongue along the roof of your mouth, beginning at the backs of your front teeth. You will feel the ridges of the hard palette, which give way to pliant tissue, the soft palette. Right above the place where hard palette becomes soft palette is where head and spine meet.
And so we come to an aspect of Alexander Technique study called Body Mapping, created by Alexander Technique teachers Barbara Conable and Bill Conable. Beginning with the basic premise,”As we think, so we move,” the student of Body Mapping acquires an accurate mental map of the body’s structure, allowing the body to move according to its inherent design and intended function.
Find yourself a good anatomy tome, and just look. My favorites are: Albinus on Anatomy, Robert Beverly Hale and Terence Coyle, and Atlas of Human Anatomy, Frank H. Netter, M.D.
Map your head and spine relationship, and soon! Singers at the Capriccio Summer Camp have been up to the task this week. Thank you, camp singers, for your curiosity and your willingness to learn something new. I am in admiration—